How much do organizations in your industry pay as remuneration? How much should your employees earn? If any of these questions have crossed your mind lately then you need to conduct a salary survey. 

Competitive remuneration is a big deal in the job market. Therefore, if you hope to attract the right talents, you must place them on an attractive pay scale. This is where a salary survey comes in. 

Conducting a salary survey helps you present the best deal to prospective employees. In this article, we will examine the types of salary surveys and show you how to put together a good salary survey using Formplus. 

What is a Salary Survey?

A salary survey is a simple tool that helps you to determine a fair and competitive pay scale for your employees. In other words, it is a standard method of gathering information about employee compensation including benefits and payments for your workforce. 

Many HR and personnel professionals agree that salary negotiation is perhaps the most challenging aspect of getting new talents into their organizations. However, if you’ve already conducted a salary survey, then it becomes easier to sit at the negotiation table when hiring talents.

As an individual, you may not be able to conduct a salary survey. However, it is important that you keep tabs on the pay rates applicable in your industry so that you can get the right compensation for your skills and experiences.  


Importance of Salary Survey 

There are many reasons you should prioritize a salary survey; whether as a prospective employee or member of the recruitment team in an organization. Let’s discuss some of the importance of conducting a salary survey in your industry. 

  • It ensures fair remuneration for your staff

Feedback gathered from a salary survey gives you a clear idea of what is obtainable in your industry. This means that you will be able to present competitive rewards for your staff including salary, bonuses, benefits, and paid leave. 

One of the major reasons employees jump ship frequently is the search for better working conditions; especially salary and other benefits. If you want to establish some sort of stability in your workforce, then conducting a salary survey is perhaps an important step to take. 

  • It informs better decision-making

As a business owner, your decisions should primarily be data-driven and this is what a salary survey helps you achieve. By conducting a salary or compensation survey, you will have valid data for decision-making in the workplace; especially regarding employee welfare. 

  • It keeps you abreast of industry trends

With a salary survey, you will have a fair knowledge of the developments in your industry. It will help you gather important information about the right compensation package for talents at different levels in your industry. 

  • It boosts employee morale

When you reward employees adequately, you are more likely to receive unparalleled loyalty and commitment to your organization. Research by Robert Half suggests that 38% of employees leave their jobs as a result of inadequate salary and benefits

The right compensation package can boost employees’ morale and spur members of your workforce to put in their best at any time. 

  • It gives you a competitive position in your industry

Many things combine to create ideal organizations. When talents choose one organization over the other or describe it as “the ideal place to work”, it often means that such an organization has an attractive employee reward package. 

A salary survey avails you with relevant information that can make your company one of the ideal places to work in its industry. By offering mouth-watering remuneration to your staff at different levels, you position your organization to attract the right talents. 

  • Legal Compliance

Salary surveys also help to ensure that your organization is on the right side of the labor and industry laws in your country. It helps you to avoid price-fixing which may put you at the risk of violating the labor laws. 

Salary Survey Question Examples

Getting valid results from your salary survey starts with the type of questions you ask. Good survey questions help you to gather objective data from respondents while bad survey questions communicate biases that may affect your survey results. Here are 15 questions you can include in your salary survey:

  • How many years of experience do you have?

Skills and experiences in industries combine to determine how much remuneration employees get. Entry-level talents earn within a defined pay range and do not earn as much C-Level talents. 

  • What industry do you work in?

Different remuneration packages apply to different industries. Some jobs and industries attract a better salary than others. 

  • How long have you worked in this industry?

This also relates to the years of experience the respondent has in the industry being considered. 

  • How much do you earn (gross annual income)?

This question allows you to gather actual data on the remuneration obtainable in your industry. Usually, you should provide answer options in ranges and ask respondents to indicate the range that applies to them. 

  • Are you provided with health insurance?

Health insurance is one of the benefits that make up remuneration packages for employees. 

  • In your opinion, how competitive is your salary?

This question allows you to get employees’ opinions on their current salaries. 

  • What sector do you work in?

We can broadly define employment sectors as private or public. These sectors have a range of compensation packages that apply to them. 

  • What is your highest educational qualification?

This is somewhat related to the level of expertise of the employee. Certain jobs demand specific skills that come with certain educational qualifications. Possessing these skills and qualifications means that you may earn higher than others. 

  • Do you have the certifications for your industry?

Many industries require specific certifications and possessing these certifications helps you to earn more. 

  • What is your employment contract?

Freelance, contract, full-time, or part-time; your contract with an organization determines how much you earn. For instance, in some organizations, full-time employees get more benefits than freelance and part-time staff. 

  • Do you get any other benefits from your organization?

Remuneration goes beyond basic salary; organizations are expected to present comprehensive remuneration packages that include insurance, paid leave, and pension. 

  • Do you do other jobs to earn extra income?

This question helps you find out if the respondent's remuneration is enough to meet his or her needs.


Types of Salary Survey 

Salary surveys can be broadly classified based on data sources so that we have surveys that contain data collected from organizations and surveys that collect data from employees. 

1. Salary Survey Using Data From Companies

This is regarded as a traditional survey approach that depends on data from organizations on how they compensate their workers. You can get companies to complete your online survey or questionnaires to gather valid information for your research. 

Benefits of Salary Survey with Data from Companies 

  • Organizations have long-term practical experience with personnel management and determining remuneration for talents.
  • It lends validity to your research and data; especially when you gather information from credible organizations in the industry.
  • It helps you to gather specific data which lends further credibility to your research. 

Disadvantages of Salary Survey with Data from Companies 

  • Gathering data from organizations can be hectic and time-consuming.
  • It does not give you a fair representation of what is obtainable in the market; especially when you target top-level organizations. 
  • While companies may provide you with specific data, they may not be willing to yield sensitive information about their organization.
  • It can lead to survey response bias as organizations may fill in false information in a bid to portray the company in a good light. 
  • It can be expensive to conduct. 

2. Salary Survey Based on Employees

This entails collecting data from employees about the different reward packages in organizations they are affiliated with. This helps you to see things from the employee’s point of view and understand how satisfied they are with the compensation offered by their organizations. 

If someone reached out to your organization for a salary survey, you’re very likely to see this as an opportunity for positive company branding. As a result, you may emphasize only the good stuff about your organization’s compensation system for employees. 

However, if the same team speaks with random persons employed in your organization, they will gather diverse data from multiple viewpoints about the organization. Of course, there is nothing wrong with emphasizing your team’s positives. However, in salary surveys, doing only this affects the validity of the systematic investigation. 

Benefits of Salary Surveys with Data Gathered From Employees

  • It helps you gather a more diverse survey sample which is often a true representation of employee compensation realities in the industry. 
  • It makes your salary survey more objective and transparent.
  • This type of salary survey has a large survey sample that is easy to access. 
  • Speaking with employees helps you to gather real-time information on what is obtainable in the industry, and not obsolete company remuneration policies. 

Disadvantages of Collecting Salary Survey Data From Employees

  • Lack of sincerity from employees can affect the validity of the data. An employee who has some grievances can provide negative information to discredit the organization.
  • Employees may not have access to top-tier organizational information and this affects the quality of data they provide surveys.

To navigate these waters, it is best to combine both methods of data collection in your salary survey to help you arrive at the best results. Now, let’s discuss some other types of salary surveys.

3. Employee Salary Survey

This is a data collection method used to find out the average annual or monthly gross earnings for employees in a particular industry. In an employee salary survey, the researcher asks questions that allow him or her to collect compensation data from a defined survey sample. 

This data is then analyzed to give the researcher a fair idea of how much money people in that industry take home as basic remuneration. The primary purpose of employee salary surveys is to provide a means for companies to compare their reward packages with what is obtainable in other organizations in their industry. 

4. Employee Benefits Survey

This survey is a good way to measure the effectiveness of employee benefits policies in your organization. This survey can be conducted by the HR team in an organization or by external parties looking to gather enough data about employee benefits in that organization. 

One of the advantages of conducting an employee benefits survey as an organization is that it helps you to be more strategic with the benefits you present to your workforce. You'd know why employees are unsatisfied with the benefits in their pay packages; despite your heavy investment in these benefits. 

For example, you may be investing in providing housing allowances for your staff meanwhile, what they want is an all-expenses-paid summer vacation to Fiji Islands. An employee benefits survey is a healthy breach between organizational policies and workforce expectations. 

5. Wages Survey

This is similar to the employee salary survey. However, the difference is that while salary is typically paid monthly, wages are hourly/daily/weekly rates. It is money paid and/or received by the hour, day or week for a task, as stipulated in the employment agreement. 

Wages surveys are useful because they show the prevailing compensation in a given area, which may result in employers making upward or downward wage adjustments. A wage survey can help you avoid wage-fixing while providing valuable data for your business.

6. Employee Compensation Survey

An employee compensation survey is a tool used to gather information about the compensation paid to employees in the case of any eventualities in the workplace. Sometimes, incidents in the workplace can lead to bodily harm for employees and when this happens, they should be thoroughly compensated. 

Many countries have employee compensation acts that stipulate how and when compensation should be paid to employees when workplace incidents happen. This survey, in a broader sense, can be used to discover how satisfied workers are with their salaries. 

What are the Best Salary Surveys?

The best salary surveys are well thought out and researched surveys. So you can choose to either create yours on Formplus or use existing resources from your industry.

How to Conduct a Salary Survey with Formplus

So far, we’ve explored different types of salary surveys and what they mean for both employees and the organizations. Now, it’s time to show you how to create a well-structured and effective salary survey with Formplus. 

As a data-collection tool, Formplus allows you to carry out seamless data gathering using easy-to-create forms and surveys. Follow these 6 simple steps to get started on your salary survey with Formplus.

  • Visit and click on the “Access Dashboard” button.
  • Click the “create new form” button on your dashboard.


  • Choose the form fields you want to add to your salary survey. You can add text fields, number fields, signature fields, file upload fields, amongst others to your form. 
  • Next, edit each field using the “pencil” icon just at the right corner of each field.
  • Save the form to access the form customization options. Use the customization options to change the appearance of your salary survey. You can add preferred background images or tweak the form layout using custom CSS. 
  • Copy the salary survey link and share it with respondents.  


Where to Locate Salary Survey Data Resources for Different Industries?

There are many online sites dedicated to researching and collating salary data for different industries. Some of them include;

1. Glassdoor: Glassdoor is a company-focused salary review website. This is because employees review their company and state their specific salary based on their role and experience. It’s a great resource if you’re looking for insider information.

2. This is a salary breakdown site that collates salary information based on the cost of living calculators and employee positions.

3. Bureau of Labour: The bureau recently released a handbook that contains all the salary information for thousands of jobs. This is a more vast and detailed database searchable by field.

4. Salary List: A data resource collated by the United States Department of Labour. It contains data of companies, positions, states, and of course salary data.

5. Indeed: Also known as a popular job site, indeed also collates salary data for these job postings.

How long does a salary survey take?

Salary surveys typically take between 3 to 4 months worth of research. 


In competitive industries, salary surveys help you attract the best talent while positioning your organization as a key industry player. As you already know, employees are the greatest assets in any organization, and rewarding them adequately for their skills is essential. 

This means that the extent to which you compensate your workforce has an almost immediate and long-term effect on your organization’s productivity and output. Hence, to attract the best talents, be sure to make salary surveys an important part of your people and process management. 

  • Formplus Blog
  • on 12 min read


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