Compensation studies are most beneficial (at least in the short term) for professionals who are underpaid. It helps them ask for raises, which then raises the averages, which helps the space as a whole.

That’s why you should be paying close attention when a new study is released. The other day I wrote about the latest one, conducted by The Community Roundtable. This data helps move us forward and directly helps the professionals within this space.

Let me explain how it works.

Working with the Average

According to The Community Roundtable’s research, the average community manager makes a little over $70,000. The word to focus on is “average.” What should make your salary above/below average? There are numerous factors, but here are the two big ones:

  • Your cost of living. $50,000 in Little Rock, Arkansas is equivalent to $111,257 in Manhattan.
  • Your experience. Years of experience and what you’ve done in that time.

How to Use This Information

If I’m a community manager making $50,000 and my boss is always telling me how great I am at my job, then I’m going to that boss and asking why I’m not being paid at least average. If you live in an area with a lower cost of living, maybe you won’t get to $70,000, but this data could be the catalyst that pushes you to $55,000 or $60,000.

Similarly, if you are being paid $70,000 and your work is well above average (and the company you work for treats you as such), then you can legitimately ask, “why am I only receiving average pay?” Compensation studies are a big conversation starter for raises because they give you data to point to.

If your boss won’t or can’t give you a raise, they are just as useful when it comes to resetting your pay by moving to a new job.

If Your Salary is Already Above Average

If you are a community manager making $110,000, then this study might not do much for you – not right away. But the longer term impact comes from those underpaid community managers being lifted up. The bottom is raised, which means the average is raised. This will then create a baseline which you can measure against, given your salary history.

In other words, if you are worth $110,000 when the average community manager is $70,000, then you have a case for being worth $120,000 when the average community manager is worth $80,000. When we lift up the lower paid among us, everyone gets a boost.