Total compensation data: 3 gems you might be missing

December 21, 2023
Min Read
Total compensation data: 3 gems you might be missing

Real-time data helps comp teams use offers to spot new market signals and make meaningful changes to compensation strategy.

Key topics

Comp teams are still split on whether to categorize AI as a job or a skill.

In a recent poll, about 50% of larger tech companies told us they consider AI its own job family, and that they pay huge premiums for it compared to traditional software engineering (SWE). New AI roles are going for 10-15% more in base salary and over 100% more in new hire grant value.

This “gem” remains hidden for a couple of reasons. One is that a lot of AI job requisitions sit under a SWE job code, so surveys aren’t picking it up (and likely won’t for quarters, if not years).

That’s because traditional benchmarking methods like surveys are usually stable and backward-looking by nature. When the market shifts quickly or a new job emerges, it takes a long time to see it in the survey data.

With offer data, you can detect new trends much faster and cut the noise. Here are three comp gems that you might be missing without real-time market data.

1. What you (actually) spent on signing bonuses

Signing bonuses can be a thorn in many comp teams’ sides. On one hand, they represent the cost of doing business for passively recruiting companies. They are a measure of how hot the market is and play a big role in getting offers over the line.

But they’re also a classic source of cost leakage. Most companies don’t have guidelines around signing bonuses, which makes them surprisingly difficult to track. Comp teams can spend months on end trying to decode them.

Let’s say you hire 1,200 people per year, and 30% of them receive an average $25,000 signing bonus. That adds up to $9 million per year, or $750,000 per month. How do you know they’re worth it?

On the other hand, offer data makes it easy to pin down pesky and expensive costs like sign-on bonuses. Because it’s offers-based, and not from surveys, it never lags the market.

With real-time data in their hands, comp folks can better manage cost leakage, compare bonus spend to peer companies, and see new insights every two weeks—all in one comp tool.

2. How your peers use equity grants

No matter where the market goes, or how creative companies get with their compensation, two pay elements will always stick around: cash and equity. Despite this, most traditional data sources don’t even come close to showing an accurate picture of equity across the market.

There are a few reasons why you’d want to double-click on equity, whether you’re trying to conserve burn, prepping for attrition, or just curious about other companies’ vesting schedules. 

As more companies make tweaks to their equity programs and opt for shorter or longer schedules, front-loading or back-loading, comp teams need to know exactly when changes happen.

Offers-based data helps you see how even the best tech companies shift their equity programs in real time. Comp teams can use offers to filter market equity by year, see how spending impacts acceptance rates, and compare how frequently certain trends come up across job families.

3. Where the market is heading (before it does)

Offers are a lot like the real estate market. When a house is sold, it represents a market transaction between a buyer and seller. The sale typically happens at market value, and that figure impacts the price of other similar homes sold in that area. 

Offers are no different. Except, in this case, your company is the seller and anyone you hire is a buyer. Multiply that across thousands of offers made at the best tech companies and you get a near-live view of the tech talent market. 

Here’s another example. If offer volume for software engineers over the last six months decreases, but acceptance rates for those roles increase, then what happens to prices (or offer value)? It’s fair to say that they also would drop.

Do you suddenly feel like a comp oracle? We hear that a lot. This is what’s available with real-time data, which you can use to predict market softness or competition using offer volume and acceptance rates.

After all, it’s offer data—not old data.

Get started with real-time, total comp data

Sometimes, you don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s okay.

We’re here to help you and your comp teams make smarter pay decisions, use all the benchmarking tools at your disposal, and quickly navigate through any market change.

If you’re ready to talk about Compa Index, its real-time data based on offers, and its many hidden gems, we’re just a contact away.

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