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LinkedIn releases new salary tool so users can see what they could (or should) be making

LinkedIn Corp. has launched a new tool that will allow members to compare their salary with their position’s going rate, plus find out how much more they could make if they gained new skills.

Called LinkedIn Salary, the new feature is available Wednesday in Canada, the U.S. and U.K., with plans to roll out to other countries in early 2017. The tool is updated every three hours and shows user salaries for specific job titles plus other factors that impact pay scale such as years of experience, industry, company size, location and education level.

“One of the [top] things we continue to hear from our members is about compensation information and the lack of reliable [information] on the web today,” said LinkedIn Salary’s product manager Ryan Sandler in a Canadian exclusive interview. “So we thought that with LinkedIn’s unique access and its 450-million-plus member base, we could really solve this large problem better than anyone else.”

Instead of charging for LinkedIn Salary, the company has opted for a “give-to-get model.” This means a user must first submit their salary into the service, which then will allow them to see what others are making and whether they are being compensated appropriately. Members can also do things like search other regions if considering a geographical move or see how much more they could make with additional education.

Handout / LinkedInHandout / LinkedInA preview of LinkedIn Salary

Free LinkedIn members can see the first page of results before having to submit their salary as limited-time preview. Meanwhile LinkedIn’s premium members can use LinkedIn Salary without having to handover a dollar figure.

“The data that we show is just collected from members,” said Sandler. “We do ingest other publicly available data sources from governments or public job listings just to help in some of our accuracy detection algorithms, but the data that we display back is just from members.”

As with any sensitive data, privacy is a concern. LinkedIn made headlines earlier this year when it was revealed that more than 117 million LinkedIn accounts had personal details leaked online from a 2012 data breach. But Sandler said the company is taking privacy and security “very seriously,” adding the information is “immediately encrypted” once it is submitted and remains private.

“No LinkedIn employees or anyone else can access the data and see a member tied to their salary,” he said.

The company said it will use the large amount of information gathered to do more than just filter jobs based on certain criteria, too. LinkedIn already publishes reports of trends in specific industries or larger macro environments using its user data and now it can begin evaluating salaries.

“You can imagine, as part of LinkedIn’s content strategy and professional news, we can start pushing to members when there are interesting changes in salary trends in their industry,” said Sandler.

Wednesday’s announcement also plays a role in the company’s larger plan to offer skills training to members. In 2015 LinkedIn purchased Lynda.com and its thousands of online training courses for US$1.5 billion, an acquisition put to use with September’s launch of LinkedIn Learning for premium members.

Sandler said that LinkedIn Salary and LinkedIn Learning can work hand-in-hand to help people identify skills needed to make more money and then actually teach them.

“We think that is very powerful to helping close the skill gap,” he said.


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