LinkedIn, which is one platform for networking for professionals, is adding a service that provides members with pay information for a variety of jobs. On Wednesday, the company launched its first such tool called “LinkedIn Salary,” which lets users anonymously submit and view salary information across fields. It shows which companies are paying higher salaries, the education level associated with a certain pay scale, top paying locations and available job listings. To use this tool, members will need to enter their own salary data, including details about base pay and other compensation, such as bonuses and stock grants. This is then anonymized and encrypted to protect privacy (Premium members are exempted from this requirement).
Currently, the feature is available to all users on desktop and the mobile web in the U.S., Canada and U.K. and is expected to spread globally in 2017. This can come in handy if an engineer in Germany is considering a job in California, for example, and wants to get a sense of the market.
“One of the things in our research that has become quite obvious is that salary is a big part of how people make career decisions,” LinkedIn director of product management Dan Shapero told Fortune. He also added, “The ultimate goal of the tool is to help professionals optimize their earnings by suggesting steps they can take, skills they can build or changes they should consider to earn more or boost their long-term potential”.
One filter notably absent from the salary tool is gender. Studies have shown that women in most of the organizations are often underpaid for doing similar work to male counterparts. However, it would have been difficult to collect this data as gender description is not included in the profile LinkedIn users fill out.
“I think our goal is to facilitate conversations and help people make a good decision,” said Shapero when asked about the lack of data by gender. Moreover, because LinkedIn aggregates salaries of both genders, it could help women get a sense of whether they’re being underpaid if the median pay is significantly higher than theirs, he explains.
LinkedIn has also planned to work collaboratively with universities to tailor its salary tool to the needs of students as they plan their careers. It also plans to add suggested coursework from Lynda.com, an online education company it purchased last year for $1.5 billion, as a way to help users work toward the compensation level they want, when applicable.
The social media firm plans to add new features to the tool as it evolves, such as recommending which skills within an industry can help its members boost their earning power.
As Shapero said,
As a trusted advisor to your career, we should update you on how your field is changing and put you in the best position to earn for you and your family. We are excited not just to provide a tool to search for salary but also to integrate salary information directly into the core flows of LinkedIn in the future. Most people make career decisions with salary in mind.”