Are actuaries underpaid? Is there a possibility you are overpaid and might not be able to afford to change jobs as a result? The great football coach, Bill Parcells said, “You are what your record says you are.” Here are a few ideas on how to figure out if you are under or over paid.
Actuarial salary surveys put out by actuarial recruiting firms offer a beginning benchmark but often don’t hold up over time. Since the ranges are so broad it is hard to determine where your particular expertise fits in. Here is a sample survey that isn’t particularly helpful but is representative of these surveys.
The number of times you’ve changed jobs will have an impact on your salary. The average merit increase is 3% annually while the average salary increase in changing jobs is 12-15%. More than likely if you’ve been with a company over five years you’re losing ground to the field.
Test the Market
Use the job market as a reference point. Find comparable positions on job boards and online postings and compare your salary to what they are listing. When analyzing the salary range assume the top and bottom 10% aren’t in play.
Contact a Recruiter
As a test for the quality of the recruiter, don’t disclose your current salary but tell them what you are looking for. They should be able to easily tell you whether your target range is reasonable or not. If you feel their response is informed and inspires trust, ask them further questions about how your current salary and salary expectations align with the market. Ask them for information on how your salary would vary depending on the city or state. Supply and demand does matter!
Ask for a Raise
Carefully and in an undemanding manner ask your boss for a raise. If you are underpaid you have a good chance of getting one. Timing is important. Don’t ask for a raise after your company’s third losing quarter but don’t let company performance stop you from pursuing what you deserve. Your boss’s reaction will tell you a lot about whether your compensation is competitive with the market.