A couple of readers asked the following questions:
" How do I get an accurate report on comparable salaries when my job duties far exceed my job title? I took a "part time" while finishing school which has transformed into much more than administrative assistant.  How do I know the true worth of the duties I perform?"
The first question, since it is about market pricing an employee, is something we obsess about here at Payscale.com. The second goes beyond market data, and gets into the question of worth and what people should be paid.
In this post, I will look at these questions. For those in a hurry, here is a hint at the answer to the first: complete the PayScale salary survey. :-)
The U.S. government is sending contradictory messages to the American public about driving to work, according to a New York Times story. A federal tax break supports people driving, allowing up to $215 a month in pre-tax dollars to go toward parking at work. But earlier this week the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $848 million in grants that seek to dissuade people from driving in five major cities.
According to the article, Jeffrey M. Zupan, a senior fellow for transportation at the Regional Plan Association in New York, said: "It is perverse. If you’re going to institute pricing measures that are intended to reduce the amount of driving, you don’t want to keep in place other measures that encourage people to drive. What you want is a set of policies that work together.”
What can be done about this illogical setup?
A recentpost on the CommuterPageBlog looks at a new U.K. report suggesting that country's increasing dependence on cars has contributed to obesity and climate change. The report, by the Institute for European Environmental Policy, offers American workers food for thought, especially since some companies are charging employees who don't meet certain health criteria (see my recent post on the topic).
Negotiation techniques in salary vary from person to person, but a recent article in the Washington Post focused on the marked differences between men and women. In evaluating salary negotiation differences, the post recalls an incident ten years ago, when a group of female graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University filed a complaint with Linda C. Babcock, a professor of economics.
The female students complained that male students (in the PhD) program were teaching classes on their own, but the females were relegated to the role of teaching assistants. This was (and is) a big deal, because students who taught their own classes gained valuable experience. Babcock looked into it, and subsequently found that males had asked to teach classes, whereas females had not. This prompted Babcock to begin evaluating salary negotiation differences between the sexes.
Are your negotiation techniques in salary successful? Find out with our salary calculator.
Name: Tyler Zimmerman
Job Title: Fast Food Worker (Cashier)
Where: Carbondale, Illinois
Years of Experience: 1 and a half years
Salary: According to PayScale's Research Center, the median salary of fast food workers ranges from $5.91 to $8.86 per hour in different U.S. cities.
Salary of Fast Food Workers
Fast food jobs vary as much as the people who work them. For some, fast food jobs are a part-time gig, for others, an entry into the job market, temporary position or a full-time career. Tyler Zimmerman is a teen who has worked for Arby's for almost two years; that's a veteran in fast food jobs.
In this Salary Story, Tyler gave us his fast food cashier job description, plus a behind-the-scenes look into the salary of fast food workers, things that annoy fast food workers, challenges of fast food restaurant jobs, factors that affect the salary of a fast food worker and current trends in fast foods. This is one super-sized combo you don't want to miss!
Teacher salaries get quite a bit of press these days (read about the average salary of elementary school teachers on Salary Stories), but you rarely hear about school superintendents. However, recently, the New York Times reported on some of the highest school superintendents' salaries, which happen to be in Westchester County in New York State. For instance, Mount Vernon, New York is looking to pay a new school superintendent almost $317K (salary and benefits), way above the median salary ($141,127) for a school superintendent in New York State.
Mount Vernon school board president Lynn McBride defended the superintendent salaries in the New York Times: "In order to entice anyone to come into Westchester, we had to be competitive with the rest of the salaries in Westchester. Our superintendent has been one of the lowest paid.” Not anymore. The Times reports that the median pay package for a superintendent in Westchester County during the 2007-2008 school year is $288,400 (salary and benefits). In 2007-2008, thirteen administrators will actually earn more than $300K (total compensation), putting them in the "highest school superintendents' salaries" category.
How does your salary compare to the highest school superintendents' salaries? Find out with our salary calculator.
Clarian Health Partners, a hospital chain based in Indiana, in 2009 will start charging workers who smoke, are overweight, or have high blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol.
The plan, which could charge workers up to $780 a year, has drawn fire from opponents. According to the Chicago Tribune story:
Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, a Princeton, N.J.-based employee rights group, called the trend "a very dangerous road that could lead to employers controlling everything we do in our private lives."
The BusinessWeek story says other employers are interested in Clarian's approach, quoting one source who says it might be a trend.
But is Clarian doing the right thing?
In the ancient days known as B.C. (before cable TV), summer for teens meant (1) getting out of school and (2) students getting a summer job, at least part-time. But these days, as the Christian Science Monitor recently reported, summer seasonal jobs are turning very competitive. The article says that "summer jobs for teenagers" market never recovered from the recession of 2001, and in 2007 there is more competition from older workers for entry-level employment for summer months.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has tracked the youth labor market (16-19-year-olds) since 1948. The BOLS says that teen employment for summer months has traditionally been above 50 percent, but starting in 1998, the numbers began dropping. Professor Andrew Sum Andrew Sum, an economist and head of Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies, forecasted (in April) that only 36.5 percent of teens will have employment for summer months; down from 45.3 percent in 2000.
My son entered the labor market this summer. He had to do a lot of digging to come up with a part-time bagger job at the local supermarket. By the time I was his age, I had worked mowing lawns, delivering newspapers, cooking fast food, and washing dishes at Deerfield Academy (I didn't go there; I was a townie who served the rich kids).
Are my son and other teens today just slackers, or are there other factors at work in the hunt for summer seasonal jobs?
How does your salary compare to your teen's salary? Find out with our salary calculator.