• Cheyene Marling

Compensation – Assessing & Understanding Your Fair Market Value

Easily two of the most popular questions we hear is, “What’s an appropriate compensation range for someone with my skills?” and “What are companies paying in the current market?” Honestly, these are loaded questions to answer as there are so many factors that go into determining an individual’s earning potential. Plus, the employment market is always changing. Companies base compensation on numerous factors and they want to fairly compensate employees to not only attract the best talent, but to also encourage positive morale, high motivation, and low turnover. Despite a company’s desire to offer fair and reasonable compensations – many struggle with understanding the Business Continuity Management (BCM) profession. Let’s assess all the different factors that determine your earning potential and what you can expect as fair, reasonable compensation.

Hard Skills: First you need to consider your hard skills. Hard skills are quantifiable and include any technical skills, practical knowledge, computer skills, etc. Hard skills are the easiest to assess when considering your fair market value. As you build more knowledge and expertise you become more valuable to your current organization and potential employers. Technical skills do not necessarily mean being an IT guru. In the case of BCM planning it would involve your years of experience building, implementing, and maturing a BCM program, your knowledge in conducting a Business Impact Assessment (BIA) or Risk Assessments, exercising plans, activating plans during an event, training an organization and much more.

Soft Skills: Soft skills are unquantifiable and thus harder to assess, but undoubtedly will have the greatest impact on your career trajectory and earning potential. These are essentially your “people skills”. What makes you – you! Are you a leader within the BCM profession? What is your brand? Do you understand how to assess the culture of an organization and create a BCM program that will work best within that culture? Can you engage across the entire organization? Are you intellectually curious, strategic, emotionally aware, and growing as a professional? Do you challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zone, and give back to the profession?

Law of Supply & Demand: Supply and demand will also impact your earning potential and you may (or may not) have control over this factor. Consider first your geographic location. Are there a lot of candidates with similar skills and competencies? If the answer is yes, companies may have an easier time filling a position without having to increase their compensation range to attract the desired candidate. Are there several companies in one location all posting similar jobs at the same time? That can likely increase the compensation range faster than the cost of living increases as companies battle it out trying to recruit the same candidates. Do you have a certification or BCM tool expertise that is in high demand, but few professionals possess the same certification or BCM tool knowledge?

Hard skills, soft skills, and the principles of supply and demand all impact your earning potential and what you can expect as fair and reasonable compensation, but what about the companies and how they benchmark compensations? Companies really struggle with budgeting for BCM related positions. The biggest contributing factor is the limited data and salary reports available as well as a lack of understanding of the BCM community. A leading misnomer is correlating Business Continuity hard skills with overall work expertise. Many professionals migrated into BCM planning after 5-10 years of working in a different career. As a result, their compensations are above what a company may want (hope) to pay. Consider for a second, a company has a position in which they’d like to hire a tactical BCM professional with less than 5 years BCM planning expertise. They may assume (based on geography) that they can budget between $50-$70K. The issue is that many professionals with less than 5 years BCM planning expertise worked in another career path before entering the BCM world and as a result, they have already gained transferrable skills (both hard and soft) that will likely price them out of the compensation range the company has budgeted for. Also, companies may not understand the supply and demand dynamics that are impacting their ability to recruit and hire the desired candidate fitting their job profile.

It's more than just the lack of data that companies have access to when benchmarking compensations. The BCM profession also struggles with the terminology used (Business Continuity, Resiliency Planning, Disaster Recovery, Crisis Management, Emergency Management) as well as the uniformity of job descriptions. For example, we recently had a client with a Sr Manager, Business Continuity Planning role with a compensation target of $60-$80K. When taking a closer look at the job description, though, they were only seeking candidates with 3+ years BCM planning expertise. This means that the job was really at a Sr. Planner/ Analyst/ Specialist level. To make it more confusing within the BCM job market, a Business Continuity Specialist/ Manager may manage the entire program including staff management with one company, but in another company, this same job title is updating the plans and reporting up to someone else who is managing the program. It’s always important to look at years of experience desired/ required as well as reporting structures to get a sense of what the potential compensation range might be. Still, though, some job descriptions are better than others.

Fortunately, BC Management has been conducting compensation assessments within the BCM profession for over 18 years. Our complimentary 18th Edition BCM Compensation Report, which is available at https://www.bcmanagement.com/bc-compensation-study, assesses earning potential based on years of both total and specific BCM work experience, general responsibilities, certifications, degrees, geography, and leadership expertise. We recently published a video on the BC Management YouTube account with some helpful tips on how to utilize our report in conducting your own compensation benchmark, which can be found at https://youtu.be/Awhu2xu8DtY. Of course, our compensation report contains a wealth of information and it’s a great guide, but obviously, there are so many other factors highlighted in this article that cannot be overlooked.

We’re here to help you in meeting your career aspirations in any way that we can. Sign up for our BCM Career Alert notifications at https://www.bcmanagement.com/business-continuity-jobs to ensure you receive timely new career notifications matching your search preferences. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have. Arrange a complimentary discussion today at info@bcmanagement.com.

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