Cornell University

Institute for Compensation Studies™

273 Ives Faculty Building, 607-255-4424


August 24 2012

ICS Director discusses why we’re paid what we’re paid

In a week long special series, PayDay, from the Marketplace Wealth and Poverty Desk, David Brancaccio explores the issues around how much we are paid. In the third installment of this series, Brancaccio sits with ICS Director, Kevin Hallock, to discuss why people are paid what they're paid.

Hallock stresses the importance of knowing the benchmark range for your position prior to negotiating your salary. According to Hallock, "If it's a very specific skill set and a very specific task that's being done, it's more straight-forward to pay the person." But, if it's not, as is the case with so many jobs, then "it's part science and part art," says Hallock.

Yelena Sher, ILR alumna and student of Hallock's, contributes as well by personalizing the issue of pay, especially that all-important first job offer. Sher explains that she used what she learned at ILR about compensation to inform her salary expectations and negotiation.

In Hallock's forthcoming book, Pay: Why People Earn What They Earn and What You Can Do Now to Make More (Cambridge University Press, release fall 2012), Hallock helps readers understand how they can earn more in both the short and long run. He describes wages, wage inequality, as well as how organizations set pay and why the numbers come out the way they do.

Listen to the interview or read a summary of Marketplace segment

To pre-order Pay: Why People Earn What They Earn and What You Can Do Now to Make More