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I was instructed by the plant manager to call other Manufacturing Companies around my area to ask them if they can share information about their pay scales and salaries. Is this a common and ethical practice? and if it is, what do I ask?. We are a Furniture Mfg. Co.. I have also tried various websites, but the information seems to be very out dated. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


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  • We used to have an employers group who did its own salary and benefits survey. Annually, one member took responsibility for desiminating the surveys and collecting them. Each company was given a letter A, B C, etc. The Responsible Company kept the key of who was A, B, C, etc. As the surveys were returned, the Responsible Company copied them and disseminated them to the companies who responded. Every company did their own analysis, depending on what information they needed. You could not get copies, unless you participated. Each year our local Chamber of Commerce tried to get us to share the information. We always said "No." Only participating companies were permitted to have the information. This way we kept our information confidential. If a new company moved into the area, we would share the info with them if they completed a survey.

    We made it simple. We had brief decriptions of jobs and asked what the minimum, maximum and mean was that they paid for that job. Participating companies sent the Reponsible Company any jobs they wished to add to the survey each year. The list as fairly complete within a couple of years. We always asked what percentage increase each company was going to give each year. We also included a long list of benefits and asked each comapny to check what they offered. The health plan descriptions were a little more detailed, asking about the amount of employee contribution, deductibles and what types of things were covered.

    If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact me at 615-371-8200.

    Margaret Morford
  • Gathering Wage and Salary information can be a tricky issue. I find it usually is best to join a survey group, or groups, who then employ a consultant to gather and analyze data for you. The concern about employers sharing such data with each other directly is that is could be misinterpreted as an attempt to fix the cost of labor, or prices within an industry, or community.

    While this may seem far fetched, the US Justice Department has already told Ivy League colleges and universities that their sharing of financial aid information on students would be charged under the RICO Act. Taking the step to sharing wage and salary data is not that big a step.

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