Factors Involved in Determining Salary
Kinds and Levels of Required Skills
The single most important factor influencing an individual's rate of pay is the kind of work performed. The professions of speech-language pathology and audiology require a high level of education (i.e., a master's or doctoral degree), knowledge, and skill. In order to practice in most settings, there is a requisite credential (i.e., CCC-A or CCC-SLP), and 48 states license and or otherwise regulate the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology. Some states, such as Mississippi, where exceptions have been made to allow individuals who did not meet such requirements to provide services in school settings, are now recognizing the value of the ASHA CCCs by providing salary bonuses to those school-based providers who hold the CCCs.
Supply and Demand of Labor
Any job is worth what the marketplace will bear. Individuals with certain skills may be in varying degrees of demand. Sometimes the demands vary across specific locations. At other times, they are national in scope. Those who have the particular knowledge, skills, and credentials that are in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monitors the supply and demand for more than 800 occupations. According to the BLS, 1,200 additional audiologists jobs and 12,000 additional speech-language pathologists needed to fill the demand through 2016.
Levels of employment/unemployment do not affect all regions of the nation equally. Certain areas where the cost of living is high have historically paid higher wages. For example, if you earned a salary of $40,000 in Texarkana, you would have to earn $87,885 in Honolulu to maintain the same standard of living-that represents a 120% difference in pay! The Places Rated Almanac ranks metropolitan areas from the least to the most expensive in terms of cost of living.
There are a number of Web sites that allow you to compare the cost of living in various areas. If you are considering relocating, visit the salary calculator. It will help you compare the cost of living in hundreds of U.S. and international cities; and Best Places To Live will help you make head-to-head comparisons of your real earning power in any two cities.
There are often unique circumstances that drive salary-related decisionmaking in different settings. The ASHA database tracks 34 different employment settings in which audiologists or speech-language pathologists work. According to the "ASHA Demographic Profile of the ASHA Membership and Affiliation," primary employment facilities include educational (54.7%), followed by health care (39%), all other facilities (6.3%). (These counts reflect the period January 1-December 31, 2007.) Compensation in school settings for example, can be heavily influenced by contracts negotiated by teachers unions. The philosophies imbedded in these negotiated agreements affect salary decisions throughout the rest of the organization. Refer to ASHA's Surveys and Reports for more information.
Some employers are committed to a philosophy of paying their employees above industry or area standards in order to attract and retain the very best pool of skilled workers available. Others pay at the 50th percentile; still others pay as little as they can. Large organizations can often pay at a higher wage rate than smaller ones. Organizations typically increase in size because their services and products are in demand. With increased size comes an economy of scale and the opportunity to increase profits with each additional product or unit of service provided.
Profitability of the Organization
Employees working for a highly profitable business have a greater chance of receiving higher wages than those working for a less profitable enterprise.
We all want the security of knowing that we will have our job as long as we want it. The idea of not having a regular job to pay debts and day-to-day living costs is distressing. Employees who feel that a job is secure are often willing to accept less than they would be paid in a potentially unstable environment.
Although great strides have been made in assuring "equal pay for equal work," on the whole, women continue to receive lower pay than men. As a group, women also tend to hold lower paying, lower status jobs, and experience a number of additional inequities in the area of compensation. There is a basis in law and in court decisions for rectifying pay inequities when they are due to intentional discrimination on the basis of gender. However, it is often difficult to determine if wage discrimination is intentional. For instance, women may earn less because of fewer years of sustained work experience or a lower level of education.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against by an employer, labor union, or employment agency because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability, a discrimination complaint may be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). Complaints may be filed in person, by mail, or by telephone by contacting the nearest EEOC office. Be aware that charges must be filed within strict time frames.
Employee Tenure and Performance
Traditionally, an employee's pay increases with years of service. A widely held view is that, through experience, employees become more effective problem solvers and are more dependable. However, as the global economy increasingly demands ongoing business change and higher levels of productivity, employers have looked at how pay and reward systems can improve an organization's performance. For many employers, the goal now is to integrate the organization's compensation and reward philosophy with its strategic initiatives regarding customers, profitability, and the development of a strong, competitive work force focused on the success of the organization. As a result, employers are using more sophisticated performance evaluation systems (e. g., 360-degree feedback that includes input from one's supervisor, colleagues, and direct reports) in an attempt to identify and recognize their top performers. It is not unusual to see a range of a +/-10% percent salary differential for individuals in the same job depending on their performance.