• Does Going to Meetings Pay?

    By: Dr. Al  Lee

    PayScale has a handy tool: Meeting Miser. The idea is that you enter the job titles of people in a meeting, and the tool uses PayScale salary data to estimate how much a meeting costs per minute. It is scary how expensive in employees' wages even a small meeting can become.

    The Meeting Miser got me thinking about meetings, and when I think about meetings, I always recall the memorable scene from the film Glengarry Glen Ross when Alec Baldwin tells a group of high-pressure real estate agents that first prize for sales is a Cadillac, second prize is a set of steak knives, and third prize is "you're fired." What is drama in the movies is revisited on TV as farce: the same scene was reprised on the NBC comedy Chuck.

    Fortunately, most business meetings are not so pressure-filled. Meetings are a central part of corporate culture, from weekly status meetings to "all-hands" company-wide extravaganzas. With the growth of meetings, job opportunities for meeting planners and meeting facilitators are expanding rapidly as well. PayScale has data on the average salaries for meeting / convention planners.

    What about workers who attend meetings? Do jobs that require attendance at company meetings pay more or less than those that don't? The answers may surprise you...

    How does your salary compare to meeting planners' salaries?  Find out with PayScale's full salary survey.

  • Reining in Unwieldy Meeting Costs

    Meetings come in all shapes and sizes. There are one-on-one meetings that can actually be productive, where you discuss a new strategy with a like-minded colleague. High-level, closed-door meetings are another sort, a permanent haven for some bosses. And there are off-site meetings--where you pack your bag, board a plane, sleep in a hotel.

    The last kind is growing ever-pricier, according to a new article by John Buchanan in The Conference Board Review, some businesses don't how much they're forking over each year for off-site meetings:

    Recently, for example, Pfizer learned it was spending as much as $1 billion annually, twice management's estimate -- not including airfare. The same ratio of actual to assumed spending -- a lapse that often runs into tens of millions of dollars a year -- has been found at Honeywell, Cisco Systems, and many other companies. Even top-gun Fortune 500 auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers missed its original meeting-cost estimate by a country mile.

    Why such cluelessness, and what can be done to rein in unwieldy costs?

  • Using Social Networking to Kickstart Your Career

    Yahoo Inc. has unfurled a professional social network to help college students and recent graduates kickstart their careers.

    According to a blog-post by Scott Gatz, Yahoo’s senior director of advanced products:

    Y! Kickstart is a professional network with a specific purpose: to connect college students, recent grads, alums and professionals to find jobs, internships and career advice.

    It’s based on the premise that everyone does have a network: the school you went to, the frat/sorority you were in, the professional/interest group you are in, the companies you interned or worked at. Kickstart makes it easy to create and browse that kind of network. While we started with a focus on college students, I’ve already found it a useful networking tool for me to catch up with old coworkers and fellow alums.

    But how is this new tool different from Facebook or LinkedIn, and can it really boost your career?

  • The Worst Job of All?

    The Worst Job of All?

    At some point you might've had a gig you think is the very worst this side of the moon. Unending hours, a micromanaging boss, shabby benefits--you name it, there are issues.

    I recall one job I've had that fits the bill; but after reading a Newsweek article on sewage workers in India, I am humbled, and have a new appreciation for job dissatisfaction.

    According to the article, though India's constitution abolished caste in 1950, people on the lowest rungs of society are relegated to "one of the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs in the subcontinent, if not the world."

    What makes the jobs so heinous?

  • The More You Learn, The More You Earn

    Trouble is afoot for middle-class workers. You don't have to go far to hear people talking about it.

    In today's Wall Street Journal, for example, David Wessel writes that middle-class earnings are taking a beating: "... the fact is that the remarkable burst of productivity of the past decade has not been widely shared with the women or men living at the middle of the American middle class."

    In October Wessel wrote a piece about why jobs are "sagging in the middle": "As Harvard economists Lawrence Katz and Claudia Goldin put it recently, 'U.S. employment has been polarizing into high-wage and low-wage jobs at the expense of traditional middle-class jobs.'"

    Toward the end of both stories, he mentions what I see as a big part of the solution: education.

  • America needs more skilled IT workers. Or does it?

    There's a chasm cutting through the IT job market, according to a BusinessWeek story.

    Technology workers say they can't find enough good jobs, while tech companies say they can't find enough skilled workers--and they're pushing for immigration reforms for access to more high-skilled workers from abroad.

    According to the story:

    Employers point out that the unemployment rate in the sector is extremely low, a mere 1.8% in the second quarter of this year. Workers counter that salaries in the sector are still below their level in 2000, adjusted for inflation, a sign that companies haven't had to bid up wages to get staff.

    Before this chasm becomes a canyon, something needs to be done. But what?

  • Carpenter Salary: How to Become a Carpenter

    Name: Justin Katz
    Job Title: Carpenter
    Where: Newport, RI
    Employer: David E. Michael, Distinctive Homes
    Years of Experience: 3
    Education: BA in English, University of Rhode Island
    Salary: See the PayScale Research Center for the median carpenter salary.

    Carpenter Salary: How to Become a Carpenter

    Carpentry is one of those archaic professions that seems to be outsource-proof and recession-proof. Becoming a carpenter can require an investment not only in tools, but also in developing woodworking, mathematical, and organizational skills. In this Salary Story, we spoke to career carpenter Justin Katz who explained the factors that can affect a carpenter salary, different aspects of carpenter jobs, and helpful information on how to become a carpenter.

    For readers interested in how to apply for carpenter jobs, the training qualifications of a carpenter, growth potential for carpenter jobs, and how to earn a higher carpenter salary, this interview provides a sturdy foundation. Keep reading to find out how to become a carpenter and why carpentry can be rewarding work.

  • Job Market Growth and Wages: By Counties

    Do you have to live in a big city to earn big wages?  About half of all Americans live in the 30 largest urban areas of 2 million or more in population, and more than 70% live in the 100 largest metros with more than 500,000 in population. However, there is money to be made outside (perhaps only slightly outside) these urban centers.

    CNN.Money.com recently reported on the strong job market growth and wages in certain non-urban counties. Topping the list was Tooele County, Utah which has seen a job increase of 112.5% (from 2000-2006). This traditional mining region is now employing workers in technical and scientific fields. With almost full employment, Tooele County's job growth outlook includes a new metals plant that will pay an average salary of $45,000.

    How does your salary compare to high paying jobs in non-urban locations? Find out with our salary calculator.

  • Salaries of New York Yankees Baseball Players

    It's no easy task owning the New York Yankees these days. The salaries of New York Yankees baseball players cost around $195 million, total, and are going to increase as some contracts are up for renewal. The Yankees are expected to pay Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada $40 million (each) over three years, and exercise $16 million options for right fielder Bobby Abreu and pitcher Andy Pettitte.  But those numbers are peanuts compared to third baseman Alex Rodriguez, also known as a "A-Rod."

    A-Rod leads the salaries of New York Yankees baseball players and all MLB players. And now, his ten-year $252 million contract is about to expire, meaning he will become a free agent. According to Sports illustrated.cnn.com, he will once again top the salaries of New York Yankees baseball players, if he accepts the Yankees' anticipated offer of 4 to 5 years at $25 to $30 million annually. And on top of that, he's still owed more money.  How much?  Keep reading.

    How does your salary compare to the salaries of New York Yankees baseball players?  Find out with the PayScale Salary Calculator.

  • Salary of Surgical Technologist

    Name: Patricia Eder, CST/SA/CTBS
    Job Title: Surgical Technologist/Surgical Assistant
    Where: Kenosha, WI
    Employer: Aurora Health Care
    Years of Experience: 34
    Education: Associate Degree +
    Salary: See the PayScale Research Center for median surgical technology salaries.

    Salary of Surgical Technologist

    How much do surgical technologists make? In this Salary Story, surgical technologist Patricia Eder told us about her life as a surgical technologist, how education can affect the salary of surgical technologist professionals and the impact of HMOs on surgical technologist job listings.

    When she's not performing the duties of surgical technologist pros, Patricia is busy keeping the world clean with her natural soaps at Patti's Potions. For readers interested in salaries for surgical technologists, or who want info on becoming a surgical technologist, this interview is the right procedure.

  • Vive La France, Vive Les États-Unis
    When it comes to making a great nation, labor and workforce issues must take center stage--otherwise, the most any country can hope for is mediocrity. France and America, two great nations, have much to say about how their people work, and both are pushing to make things better.
  • Professional Wrestler's Salary

    Name: Darin Childs
    Job Title: Professional Wrestler
    Where: I have wrestled throughout the world and run my own company throughout the State of Texas
    Employer: Owner of Anarchy Championship Wrestling
    Years of Experience: 10
    Education: B.A., Ohio State University

    Professional Wrestler's Salary

    If you enjoy body-slams, pile-drivers and head-locks, then don't miss this Salary Story on how to become a professional wrestler. We spoke to to pro wrestler Darin Childs who gave us the inside moves on factors that can affect a professional wrestler's salary and how to become a professional wrestler.

    He also told us about pro wrestling franchises and Mexican professional wrestling. If you're tough enough, keep reading our jaw-breaking info on this unusual career.

  • Finding Percentages in Salary Increase for 2008

    I blogged a while ago about salary predictions for 2007; what about finding percentages in salary increase for 2008? That was the topic of a Money.CNN.com article. Everyone's situation is different, but the average pay increase doesn't look too impressive in 2008, according to a salary survey by human resource consulting firms Hewitt and Mercer. They are surveying up to 1,000 companies, and so far their preliminary salary survey results show an average pay increase of 3.8 percent next year.

    According to Ken Abosch, the head of Hewitt Associate's compensation practice, the typical pay raise increase is expected to be tame even for star employees. Because base salary is one of a company's largest expenses, there's a push to keep a lid on fixed costs. That said, the area where employees may earn more money will be in bonuses. Of course, there are always exceptions; will you get a raise in 2008?  Keep reading!

    Wondering how to calculate a pay increase?  Find out with our salary calculator.

  • How Not to Get a Raise

    How Not to Get a Raise
  • State Teacher Salary Comparisons: Texas Teacher Salary Gap

    Texas state teacher pay is an interesting topic. In a previous column (Salary for Teachers vs. Average Pay for High School Coaches), I noted how high school football coaches earn a far greater salary than most teachers in Texas. The Statesman.com also reported on more state teacher salary comparisons; this time between the teachers themselves. According to the article, the salary for teachers at poor schools (with minority students) is less than the salary for teachers at wealthier schools.

    The Texas teacher salary gap is reportedly wider in Austin than in most other large Texas school districts, according to a pair of recent reports based on a teacher salary survey of the state's 10 largest school districts by University of Texas education researcher Ed Fuller. The reports were funded by a Washington-based think-tank Education Trust. Is Austin being unfairly singled out? What's going on with Texas teacher salaries?

    Is your salary earning high marks? Find out with our salary calculator.

  • IT Project Manager Salary Survey

    Name: Don Spencer
    Job Title: IT Project Manager
    Where: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    Employer: Self-Employed - Consulting
    Years of Experience: 24
    Education: Hons.B.A. (History & Philosophy, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada), M.A. (History, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
    Salary: See the PayScale Research Center for the average salary of a project manager.

    IT Project Manager Salary Survey

    Do you enjoy computers, managing projects and all things 2.0? Then you may want to consider a career as an IT project manager. If you don't know what the job description for IT project manager professionals is, then this Salary Story will fill in the missing data.

    We recently interviewed IT project manager Don Spencer who gave us the inside scoop on career paths for IT project managers and a realistic IT project manager job description. If you want more info on the average salary of a project manager, you can also check out our IT project manager salary survey. Take a moment to log on to this interesting career!

  • Meeting and Event Planner Careers

    Name: Jamie Lamb
    Job Title: Meeting and Event Planner (& Professional Bridal Consultant)
    Where: Middletown, Pennsylvania 
    Employer: Self-Employed - Coordinated Dreams
    Years of Experience: 3
    Education: Bachelors of Science in Business Management, Franklin University
    Salary: See the PayScale Research Center for the median event planner salary.

    Meeting and Event Planner Careers

    If you're interested in meeting and event planner careers, you don't want to miss this Salary Story.  Meeting and event planner Jamie Lamb told us about various meeting and event planner positions, gave advice for new meeting planners and explained the leadership skills required for successful event planner careers.

    Jamie also gave tips for beginning meeting planners on how to become a certified meeting planner, told us about the factors that affect an event planner salary, meeting planner duties and what to expect from both independent and in-house event planner careers. This interview provides invaluable info for anyone wondering how to join the ranks of independent meeting and event planners.

  • Reporting for Duty: Weighing in on Military Pay
    Imagine a job where, on graduating high school, you're eligible for a signing bonus as hefty as $40,000, your healthcare plan is sterling, your gym membership is free, and if you have a family, your compensation climbs.
  • Can This Job Be Saved? How to Know When It's Time to Go
  • Salaries of Pro Athletes: The David Beckham Salary

    I've previously blogged about the salaries of pro athletes. It's hard to ignore the 24/7 hype surrounding the British soccer star David Beckham and his reported $250 million dollar pay day. He is playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team, which hopes the Euro footballer can create excitement for a sport that never quite caught on in the U.S.

    The question is, how much is Beckham actually earning in annual salary? Will he really earn $250 million in compensation?

    As reported by the Houston Chronicle, Beckham's annual salary will be $5.5 million a year (plus another unspecified million) for the next five years. Does this join the ranks of overpaid professional athletes' salaries? Major League Soccer (MSL) player salaries normally cap at $2.4 million, but the new "Beckham Rule" allows for exceptions of certain professional athletes' high salaries. According to the Washington Post, the average soccer player salary in the MSL is $115,432; about 30 percent of the MSL players are under developmental contracts and earn $17,700 or $12,900.

    How does your salary compare to average professional sports salaries?  Find out with our salary survey.

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