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  • Time to Ask for a Raise? What the PayScale Index Says

    PayScale recently released the Q3 2011 PayScale Index. The PayScale Index tracks pay trends by location, industry and job category. A salary index that says how much pay has changed in the last year seems like a great source for figuring out if you should ask for a raise. But, how should you use it?

    The PayScale Index is part of what you need to ask for a salary increase, but not everything. In this post, we will discuss how to figure out whether you are due a raise.

    Before you can ask for a raise, you need to know what you are worth. Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

  • Is College a Good Investment?

    Together with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, PayScale on Monday released a report on the return on investment (ROI) in education at 554 bachelor's degree granting colleges and universities

    All together, the PayScale College ROI Report ranked 852 possibilities, evaluating public universities for both in-state and out of state tuition costs.

    Why evaluate college tuition as an investment? There is a clear analogy from the housing market.

    Conventional wisdom used to say that buying a house was always a great investment, offering returns of 10% or more a year. As many have painfully learned over the last few years, buying a house at the wrong price can be a bad investment, particularly if you borrowed too much to pay for it.

    Conventional wisdom also says that paying for tuition, room and board for a 4-year bachelor's degree, no matter what the cost, is a great investment, offering long term returns of $1,000,000 or more over going to work straight out of high school.

    The PayScale College ROI report shows that the return varies tremendously across schools. Netting a million dollar payday is far from a sure thing.

    In the next few blog posts, I'll cover the basics of our methodology, why we made the choices we did in calculating ROI, some guidance on how to use this to evaluate college choices and costs, and respond to some of the criticisms.

    Whether you went to college or not, are you earning what you are worth? Spend 5 minutes completing the PayScale online salary evaluation survey and know.

  • Setting Pastor Salaries and Pastor Compensation

    The stereotype of the televangelist with six cars and seven houses has pretty much faded away. When it comes to setting pastor salaries these days, BaptistStandard.com reports that the national average pastor compensation is $77,096.

    This average comes from The Compensation Handbook for Church Staff an "industry" survey of compensation. This average is significantly higher than the PayScale median salary of $56,000 for Senior Pastors.

    As we will see, the difference is both in the definition of compensation and the scope of responsibility. It never is just about the job title :-)

    How does your salary compare to the average pastor compensation?  Find out with our salary calculator.

  • List of Future Jobs in Demand: 2006-2016

    "Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?" That is a hard-to-answer question in the ever-changing U.S. job market. What if you could look into a crystal ball, and see the fastest growing occupations ten years from now?

    While predictions about the future are hard, I recently came across a list of future jobs in demand by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). (Note: the original list included jobs predicted to grow between 2006 and 2016, but it's been updated through 2022. Our post includes the previous data.)

    This list is the BLS's guess at how our world will change. Baby boomers will get older (personal and home care aides  #2), Generation X will invest for retirement (personal financial advisers  #6), Generations Y and "Millennials" will be in recovery (substance abuse counselors #10), while Generation Text will be even more high tech (computer software engineers #4).

    Which job tops this list of future jobs in demand?  Keep reading!

    However, before you jump to one of the new "hot" careers, make sure you are earning what you deserve today by using the PayScale Salary Calculator.

  • Software Developer Salaries: Ruby on Rails vs. Java

    "willCode4Beer", a software engineer and blogger in the San Francisco Bay Area, recently posted a comparison of "Ruby on Rails" and Java software developer salaries, using PayScale data.

    Noting that the average salary for developers in San Francisco is $17,000 higher for Java than Ruby on Rails, he concluded he should stick with Java, at least until the pay for Ruby on Rails catches up.

    However, big grains of salt are required when comparing these charts :-)

    In this post, after a brief background on programming languages and their fads, I'll look at why, even in the face of these charts, it is not so clear which language willCode4Beer should use.

    Wondering what your skills are worth? Find out with the PayScale salary calculator.

  • Employee Wages: What is the Typical Wage in the USA?

    A couple of comments by readers got me thinking about typical wages again. In the process, I realized that even the federal government does not know what a "typical" worker in the United States earns.

    This came as a shock to me. With the frequent publication of average household income statistics, wage and salary reports, etc., by the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, and other federal agencies, I had assumed there was a well-defined typical annual wage.

    Here is a pop quiz: how much do you think the typical worker in the United States earns in a year? See if you are earning what is typical for your job by using the PayScale salary calculator.

  • No College Required: UPS Drivers' Salaries and More

    The route to financial success - I won't even attempt to say what it takes to have a successful life in general - does not have to pass through college. Billionaire media mogul David Geffen went from high school graduate to talent agent assistant, talent agent, owner of two record companies (Asylum and Geffen Records), and later, to co-founding Dreamworks movie studio with fellow non-college attendee Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Steven Spielberg, who dropped out of college.

    While Geffen, Katzenberg, and Spielberg are exceptions, there are options for young people who choose to skip college. One career choice would be working for UPS. If you enjoy driving, sitting and light lifting, UPS drivers’ salaries are typically are $24.69 an hour, per the UPS web site at pressroom.ups.com; which also states, "UPS drivers (and part-time employees) receive full health benefits including medical, dental and eye care."

    Does your salary deliver as well as UPS drivers’ salaries? Check your financial engine with our salary calculator.

  • Hourly Wage: Santa Claus

    One of the more unique jobs out there is working as a Santa Claus. The job requirements include a sizeable tummy, a real beard (fake ones are out) and a convincing “ho-ho-ho.” While it may sound like holiday heresy to mention "Santa" and "salary" in the same breath, you might be surprised to learn that Santas can earn a high hourly wage for bringing joy to little kids and big kids alike.

    A beginning Santa can earn an hourly wage of $100, while veteran Santas can earn an average wage of $175 to $200 per hour. The really big pay rate comes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; that's when these Kris Kringles can earn wages of $175 to $200 for their first hour of work, and $100 to $300 for every hour after that.

    If a Santa works 40 days during the holiday season, he can ring in the New Year with $8,000 to $10,000 in total wages. The big money is reportedly in private and corporate events, that’s where Santa’s wishes come true. Of course, there are some expenses, namely, the red suit, boots, and belt which can put Santa out $500 to $1000 bucks. However, earning $10,000 in a little more than month is good money, especially for retirees.

    Is your salary a holiday gift or a nightmare?  Find out with our Santa, er, salary calculator.

  • High Salary Range: Surprising Jobs

    Would you like to make six figures? Who wouldn’t? Well, it may surprise you to learn that not everyone has to get a medical degree, work as a broker on Wall Street or spend their days inside a law firm to earn in the $100,000 annual salary range. According to Forbes, there are some jobs with six figure salaries that do not require an advanced degree.

    Can you knock out 200 words per minute? Then you could be one of the 50 to 60,000 court reporters working today. According to Forbes, the national average salary is $62,000, but some court reporters can reportedly earn an annual salary of $100,000 in “many cities.” We’d have to assume that includes working overtime, which could be tough on the fingers!

    In our ever-crowding justice system, the job outlook for court reporters looks good. However, for those tiring of the legal profession, career changes for court reporters (or other fast typists) include broadcast captioning and real-time reporting for web casts. Are your fingers being paid what they're worth? Find out by typing your job into the PayScale salary survey.

  • Salary Calculator: Nursing 101

    Recently the National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling (3-to-2) that will re-classify registered nurses — and possibly 8 million other workers — as “supervisors” if they perform certain types of duties. The National Labor Relations Board ruled that a worker would be a supervisor if he or she: exercised “independent judgment,” oversaw another worker, could be held accountable for another worker’s performance or spent 10 to 15 percent of total work time in supervisor-type duties.

    How will this affect the average nurse salary? In the nursing world, that would mean that a nurse overseeing a shift (the charge nurse) would be considered a “supervisor” if she assigns another nurse to a patient. Ultimately, workers that are re-classified as “supervisors” are excluded from union membership, which will likely affect their pay rate.

    According to our salary calculator, a (non-union) registered nurse in Michigan makes an average salary of $45,438. Is a non-union nurse salary significantly different from a nurse with union membership?

  • Fair Pay: Is it legal for men to be paid more for the same job?

    I am not a lawyer, so take this with a big grain of salt. The Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963 says that it is unlawful in the United States to pay women less salary than men for work that is "substantially equal." The law specifies that men and women must be paid equally for similar work unless the salary difference is based on seniority, experience, or other legitimate factors. At the time of the EPA’s passage, women made 58 cents for every dollar brought home by their male counterparts. The EPA was established to level out this salary imbalance.