Salary and Market Surveys

Posted on: March 25th, 2012 by admin3 No Comments

Since executive search is our core business, Riverbend Group’s consultants are intimately familiar with compensation levels and structures across a variety of industries and professions. On a typical day, we discuss compensation issues in varying degrees of detail with dozens of potential and recruited candidates, as well as with a mix of both small and larger employers. Before a Riverbend consultant can present a recruited candidate’s qualifications to an employer, he or she must normally know the details of the candidate’s current compensation package so that the employer can make a determination as to whether the candidate is affordable. Armed with this “real-time” market knowledge as a foundation, we can conduct quick, cost-effective and highly accurate compensation surveys to help your organization ensure on a periodic basis that the salary and benefits packages it offers its executives and other employees are competitive.

No matter what the current economic situation may be at any given time, less-than-competitive compensation arrangements can and often do result in lost candidates, high turnover, decreased productivity and profits, and a corresponding negative image in the marketplace that may linger for many years to come. Such undesirable outcomes obviously must be avoided at all cost by growth-oriented organizations.

In addition to salary/compensation surveys (and similar surveys such as hourly billing rate surveys), Riverbend Group can also conduct a variety of other market surveys on behalf of interested organizations. For example, Riverbend consultants have often been asked by law firm clients to conduct confidential surveys aimed at determining whether market conditions (including target client demand for services, the availability of key potential practice group leaders, and prevailing hourly billing rates being charged by competitor firms) are ripe for adding particular legal specialties to the panoply of services they offer. The valuable market information gleaned from such surveys allows Riverbend’s law firm clients to allocate both their available financial resources and their time in the most cost-effective manner possible.

As another example, expansion-minded law firms interested in adding or expanding a particular practice area or areas have occasionally hired Riverbend Group consultants to develop confidential lists of top practitioners in those areas (either within a local market or nationally) to be used in their ongoing recruiting efforts. In these situations, the Riverbend consultant will normally begin with our company’s extensive database of legal specialists, then build upon that knowledge base by surveying top practitioners in the relevant specialty area with respect to how each would rank-order his or her perceived peers. Based on the weighted results of all of these numerous peer rankings (together with other indicators of how the respective practitioners stack up, including published practitioner rankings and specialty area articles, calls to in-house counsel who are charged with selecting outside counsel in the subject specialty area at their corporations, and other reliable barometers of legal ability and reputation), the Riverbend consultant will then compile a list of the top practitioners in the specialty area within the relevant geographical region. In order to make the list as useful as possible to the client, the list will normally rank-order the names, either individually or in tiers, according to the client’s stated desirability criteria.

While this latter type of survey may be conducted as a discrete assignment (for example, in situations where the client is only interested in determining how its own practitioners rank vis-à-vis those at competitor firms), typically it is the first phase of a larger retained search project focused on developing or expanding a practice area for the law firm client.

If your organization understands (or would like to discuss) the benefits of taking timely and cost-effective steps to pro-actively avoid the downward spiral that can result from underpaying executives and other employees, or would like to ask us about our ability to conduct other types of market surveys, please click on the “Contact Us” page above to find out how to get in touch with us. We look forward to answering your questions and discussing our menu of available services with you.