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Industry Salary Expectations

What are the factors that determine salaries?

When comparing the same occupation in two industries, why is the pay so different?

There are many reasons why salaries vary:

  1. Degrees or certifications the job seeker holds - in certain jobs, a four-year degree versus a two-year degree will yield a higher salary. Advanced degrees or certifications in specific skills may also increase the salary.
  2. Job location - salaries can vary by geographic area.
  3. Years of experience - how long a job seeker has worked in a particular industry and/or if there are transferrable skills from another industry can impact the pay for the position.
  4. Job responsibilities - specialized skills may be needed for a specific position or location.

One mistake job seekers make when looking at the amount of a salary is to not factor in other benefits they will receive, such as health care. Many positions have a benefits package that may contain:

  • Health care (medical, dental, vision)
  • Vacation and holidays, personal or sick days
  • 401(k) plans (some companies will match a certain portion)
  • Life insurance that would cover expenses for family members in the event of the job seeker's death
  • Short-term and long-term disability insurance that pays a percentage of a worker's salary while the person is unable to work
  • Employee Assistance Programs for different kinds of counseling
  • Tuition reimbursement (to update skills, pursue an advanced degree)
  • Child care, either on site, or some amount allocated for these expenses
  • Parking assistance (particularly important in cities where costs are high and free parking is not available)
  • Other expenses, such as cell phone reimbursement if the job requires an employee to carry one

It is important to find out the terms of benefits, such as who is covered, when coverage starts, which benefits are taxable, and if benefits that may not be wanted or needed now can be added at a later date.

When evaluating a job offer, it is essential to understand the total salary package.

Click here to check out some popular industry jobs and their salary compensation. Go to Cleared Careers for more information on positions with security clearances.

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