The Money Game

Not all of us can earn Bill Gates’ salary. But, many prospective candidates we speak with sure seem to want to try. So when you’ve got them on the phone, have aroused their interest and are just about to draw them in, be prepared when they ask “how much will I get?” After all, salaries in Boise don’t often compete with those in Silicon Valley. Then, too, it doesn’t cost as much to live in Boise. But how much less in Boise – and how much more in Santa Clara? Before you offer the magic number, do some research. Use a salary calculator to “translate” Boston earnings into Boise dollars. Then you’re armed with far more than just a number; you’ll be ready for those “quality-of-life” type questions. We looked at a few salary calculators to figure out how much a hypothetical techie in Boston would need to earn to enjoy a similar lifestyle in Boise and London, UK – just to give her a choice, after all. Our first port of call was The Job Factory The “calculator” looks like – well, a calculator. Using it is a two-step, easy process. First select the countries/states, your prospect is moving from and to. The site then whisks you to a city list for each state and asks whether your prospect will rent or own her accommodations. The results? A $100,000 salary in Boston need only be $55,194 in Boise and a whopping $98,614 in London according to The Job Factory. Datamasters (Since 1971): specializes in recruiting for IT positions. Their salary calculator is a snap to use – another simple two-step selection process. And, according to them, a $100,000 salary in Boston offers the same buying power as a $80,031.70 salary in Boise. Hmmm! Seems considerably higher than the previous calculator. To decide among the various calculators out there, you may want to review the criteria by which each determines its salary information. Unfortunately, Datamasters doesn’t offer international comparisons, but we suspect that a Datamasters salary in London could leave you a few shillings short of a good seat at the theater. The site, incidentally, contains salary survey comparisons across regions for a comprehensive list of positions. This is worth checking out Datamasters Survey from either side of the equation. There are other calculators floating around the cybersphere, including the CCI Salary Guide – an interactive, multi-step calculator that also figures a candidate’s worth based on location and expertise. So where does this get us? Not very far, really. Salary calculators are slaves to their underlying formulae. Job candidates may prefer the Job Factory and CCI. On the other hand, recruiters might find Datamasters a better choice because of its offerings. In the long run though, perhaps you’ll do better using two or three calculators and averaging the results. Or run the numbers through a couple of these calculators to open a window on reality – and to be able to give your candidate a favorable, but realistic response.

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Jennifer Hicks, a seasoned Internet researcher who writes extensively on the use of the Internet for job hunters and recruiters, is a contributor to AIRS research. The AIRS Search Guide acts as your personal trainer, guiding you through our Advanced Internet Recruitment Strategies (AIRS) in a highly illustrated offline magazine. Each issue is full of new sourcing strategies, search examples, step-by-step procedures, and AIRS latest research for finding high-value passive candidates on the Internet. Contact AIRS at


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