Surveys Article: Negotiating Salary

This month’s issue of AUGIWORLD Magazine is centered around the topic of advancement. Starting off the year fresh. Some folks have just gone through a performance review process and might be coming into the new year with a few more coins in their pocket. However, we do know from our member poll last summer that 18% of our users have not had a performance review within the past year.

Maybe it is time that you ask your leadership for a review, giving you concrete steps to move your career to the next level. Or, perhaps your responsibilities have moved upward, but, your compensation has not? Time to lay out some data to prove to them that you deserve some fiscal recognition.

Find Your Price

You will get the most accurate idea of your value in the industry by gathering together as many resources as you can.

AUGI Annual Survey -

15 years of data, specifically tailored to the members of AUGI, their job titles, market segments and job security outlooks. These are real member-submitted salaries (though they are manually audited to remove any answers that fall out of the expected range. Seriously, you do not have 2 years’ experience in rural Ohio and make two million dollars a year, please stop wasting my time), though the extremely small dataset does make geographic COL breakdowns impossible to calculate.

Indeed -

Indeed is a job search engine, and their numbers fluctuate constantly, due to being based on current openings. They are my favorite salary search, because it is so quick and easy to compare multiple job titles and locations.


Previously known as NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers), but now known as ETC (Educate to Career), this is a very nice filterable way to gauge value using State, metro area, Occupation, Years of Experience and Education level and specific degree (if applicable).

Glassdoor -

While you can see some numbers by searching a job title, depending on your location, there may not be a lot of data available yet. If you sign in with an account, they have a feature called “Know Your Worth” and it is marked as still being in Beta.

You have to enter your salary, years of experience, educational details and location information (you’ll be given an option to share that data anonymously with others or not), and then you’re presented with a summary of your market value. The resulting view will give you the number of local salaries they based your estimate on, the median salary, the current number of similar job openings in the area, how that valuation has changed in the past year, and where you fall in the range.

Payscale -

Similar to Glassdoor, you provide information about yourself and see where you fall in relation to their data. Location, salary, bonuses, specialty skills, certifications and licenses, degree, whether you’re directly employed or a contract worker, if you supervise others, benefits (like working from home), what your job title was 5 years ago.

You’ll get a similar snapshot, showing how many people have reported on your job title and where you fall in comparison to them.

I do like that their results also show a section on Most Common Future Jobs, to get a peek at a potential career path. -

As ever, I find a bit awkward to use. I don’t just get a number, I get reams of slightly related job titles to select and compare. Heavy on data, except the number I want to see. If you are looking for detailed job descriptions and applicable industries, come here for some beefy profiles. Once you get past the ads, you can see a distribution curve showing typical pay range for the closest job title they’ll give you. Their numbers are based on employer-reported data.


For the Architects out there, you can also try the AIA. Their compensation survey covers 21 positions, benefits packages and some metro areas. The data is from 2015, so be sure to take any COL increases in the past year or so into account.  You’ll see median pay, number of companies and number of positions they got their data from.

Others –

If you are a member of any other professional organizations, check around for any similar resources, surveys and documentation available.

Use the Numbers

Data tracking is not the most enthralling way to spend time, but, I always encourage everyone to keep an active log of what you have been working on. From random tasks to big projects. There are many benefits to keeping this information, from justifying non-billable time to providing clear ROI when proposing projects or changes in methodology, to covering your rear when working with those who would shirk and throw you under the bus to hide their own incompetence. Data trail = good.

If you haven’t actively been tracking your tasks, sit down and take a few minutes to run over activities in your mind. Anything you’ve done since your last review (however long that’s been), which could impact the bottom line for your company. Perhaps think about using some software to assist you in time tracking, such as CADTempo or Toggl.

Organize your thoughts and know your intro pitch, perhaps run your ideas by a trusted friend or someone from your Local User Group. Brainstorm your starting point and customize the concept to suit. Would a printed report be the best approach? Or would your leadership respond better to a PowerPoint with a couple of graphs while you talk through the points? Or just a sit-down in their office?

No matter how you present it, do your research, summarize your findings and clearly formulate your request. This type of initiative and organization can help you stand out to leadership and make the job of assessing your worth that much easier for them.

Introduction – state your goal. A quick and dirty summary of where you could start might be “As a designer, I have supported ‘X’ projects in the past year. Those projects accounted for 60% of the company’s income. I have also worked in a cad management capacity and have provided technical solutions to all members of the staff and have saved approximately $X in man-hours and reduced material waste in the range of $X. The fair market wage for my work is $##,### and I would like to request that you review my current pay and make an adjustment to bring me more in line with the industry. Please see the attachments for supporting data.”

Appendix A – Highlight of tasks you have performed, with financial information attached where possible (Google for ideas on how to calculate this).

If you implemented electronic document review at any step (even just for yourself) to reduce printing, assign a dollar amount to it, bonus points if reducing paper saved the square footage needed for additional flat files (those things cost a lot, so does real estate). If you found a lisp routine on the AUGI forums that saved 5 minutes of manual work, ask around to see how often your coworkers perform that task and add that up over a year. If you reorganized or documented resources, reducing the amount of time searching for information, assign a value to that, too.

None of these savings options look like a whole lot, but, when added up, they can be the necessary justification for a bump in pay, or at least a bonus.

Appendix B – A spreadsheet summary of how you calculated your worth. If you do 75% Drafting work and 25% Project Management and you’ve got 12 years of experience, highlight the final number.

Appendix C – Copies of your research with sources listed. AUGIWORLD, Indeed, ETC, Glassdoor, AIA, etc, print them out for inclusion to demonstrate the strength of your data and popular consensus.

Next Time

The next issue of AUGIWORLD will focus on Beginners. If you’re interested in how much pay changes over time based on experience, or how much a degree is worth to someone just starting out, please check out this recent HotNews article Salary Survey Correction – Pay By Education.

Please swing by and take this month’s poll on whether or not you’re currently job searching.

Also, please ensure you have your contact information up to date in your AUGI Profile and you have allowed the option to receive AUGI Bulletins. That way you will know when the AUGI Annual Survey is running (June-July). We email out highlights from last year’s survey, along with a reminder to participate in this year’s data collection. The more participation we have, the more accurate the numbers become. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time out of their data to contribute to the community knowledge and help empower us all.

Melanie Stone is a CAFM/ IWMS Specialist supporting and writing about ARCHIBUS, FMInteract, Tririga, Revit, AutoCAD, BricsCAD or similar. She served as an AUGI Director/Officer for over 6 years and is currently involved with the STLRUG. Melanie can be reached at or found on Twitter as @MistresDorkness on YouTube or on her Mistress Of the Dorkness blog.

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