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Perspective

“If information is power, then most employees who enter salary negotiations are holding pea shooters while the boss is encased in a Kevlar vest.” I found this quote in the New York Times this past Saturday in an article titled, “Using the Web to Get the Boss to Pay More.” The article discussed the various sites, such as salary.com, that provide compensation data to a reported 47 million individuals who are looking for jobs every month (an amazing statistic). My experience with these tools and compensation surveys in general is that they are okay only as a broad guideline, but alas, not terribly useful for our specialized industry. In fact, despite the article’s inference that employers hold the cards, they suffer from the same lack of relevant data. Compensation varies between sectors, and the scope of roles with identical titles can vary as greatly as compensation. For instance, the base and bonus for a property manager focused solely on operations is appreciably lower than a property manager with an asset-management orientation, having budgeting, forecasting and financial responsibilities. However, given the ever-increasing power of the Web, I expect that specialized, industry-specific sites will eventually emerge and begin to capture and report less homogenized data—a critical need for real estate employers hungry for human capital.

Tony LoPinto is CEO of Equinox Partners, an executive search firm specializing in the real estate industry, and parent company of SelectLeaders. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

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