At the end of the year, many Web sites devoted to professions run a salary edition to help readers see where they stand compared to their peers—and perhaps to titillate them with potentially larger salaries. What could you be earning? Let’s look at the data.
If you’re a CMO, you probably already realize that your title isn’t yet popular. For example, a search for “CMO” on Monster.com or CareerBuilder yields Chief Medical Officer jobs. If you spell out your title completely, you’ll find just a handful of appropriate jobs listed. Try “Vice President Marketing” and you’ll get a few more hits. (Perhaps someone should explain to the salary surveys the difference between a CMO and a VP of Marketing.)
Surveying The Surveys
You could research the salary sites yourself, but I’ve already done it for you:
- PayScale.com pegs CMOs at between $98,000 and $384,000.
- Glassdoor.com puts CMO salaries at $175,000 to $350,000.
- Indeed.com, the jobs aggregator, says CMOs earn $269,000 on average.
- Salary.com, the granddaddy of online salary sites, puts CMOs between $122,000 and $312,000.
Got all that?
Some of these sites claim to offer more granular information, but only if you sign up. I screwed around on PayScale.com and filled out form after form—and I knew what was coming. At the end, the site wanted to know my salary and e-mail address, and it wanted me to create an account. I’ve been around marketing campaigns long enough to know not to bother. Why should I trust a salary survey that would have me as a data point? I could be lying.
And that’s the first point: Salary surveys are notoriously inaccurate. Really, what’s the value in any of this if you can’t nail down what you would be worth on the market if you went out looking for a job?
The next point is that none of the salary databases describe you. At best, they describe a population of people who self-reported their salaries. While such data could be interesting, are you going to cite it when you’re negotiating a compensation package? If I were the employer, I’d smile at you and say, “But we’re not talking about the population of CMOs and their average salaries.” And then I’d lean in close to your face and add, “We’re talking about you. And we think you are worth $X.”
Put Up Or Shut Up
This is the point where you put up or shut up. If you’re going to negotiate the deal you want, then you must drop the statistics about the population of CMOs and focus on what you’re worth. If you want more money than is being offered, then can you demonstrate, dollar for dollar, why the company should pay you more? Because that’s the only point that matters when we’re talking about salary. And salary surveys about other executives just aren’t going to give you the ammo you need.
Join me on the Discussion Forum and tell me how you prove that you’re worth more. In next week’s column, I’ll show you how to do it.