• GigZig: Career Paths of Real People

    PayScale released a cool new tool today, GigZig. It lets you see the career paths of real people. GigZig is based on a simple question we ask during our salary survey: "what was your job 5 years ago?"

    As a data guy, I just love the wealth of information. Together with our data on what a job pays, a person evaluating their current career choice, or investigating a new one, can get a pretty complete picture of both what other people have done in their careers, and what they are paid.

    In this post, I will look at a web developer career path, explain a little bit about how GigZig, works, and ponder the Waitress/Waiter in everyone's past.

    No matter where you are going in your career, are you being paid what you are worth for where you are now? Find out with the PayScale Salary Survey.

  • Actuary Salaries and Job Description

    Name: Promod Sharma
    Job Title: Actuary
    Where: Toronto, Ontario
    Employer: Major Canadian Life Insurance Company
    Years of Experience: 23
    Education: BSc (University of Western Ontario)
    Salary: Use PayScale's Research Center to find median actuary salaries.

    Actuary Salaries and Job Description

    Most people may not know what an actuary does, or the reasons to become an actuary. As this interview reveals, actuarial jobs offer great variety and growth potential. We spoke to actuary Promod Sharma who gave us inside info on what to expect from actuarial jobs, factors that affect actuary salaries and the outlook for actuarial jobs. Promod emphasized that actuary positions are not necessarily boring, as many people assume. According to Promod, actuarial jobs can provide challenging work as well as the opportunity to help consumers.

    This informative interview also covers the actuary exam(s) given by the Society of Actuaries to become an Associate of The Society Of Actuaries. If you're seeking a job in this field or want more actuary salary info, keep reading!

  • When Choosing Your Career Path, Pick Your Passion

    Determining which career path to tread is a hot topic, no matter who you are. From teenagers to college students to mid-career professionals, most everyone grapples with the career path question--and it's a recurring theme throughout life.

    Consider today's Wall Street Journal, where Sue Shellenbarger writes about encouraging kids to do what they love when choosing a career path. A column in the University of Florida's newspaper (no longer posted) urges students to seek internships to guide their career paths. And an InformationWeek blog explores career paths for CIOs.

    But how do you go about choosing a successful career path?

  • 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.

  • Pushing the Part-Time Envelope

    Judith Warner, a guest op-ed columnist for the New York Times, last week reflected on the Pew Research Center's recent survey on working moms' desire for part-time jobs. (See my blog on the Pew survey here.) Warner pushes the part-time envelope:

    But the conversation we should be having these days really isn't one about What Mothers Want. (This has been known for years; surveys dating back to the early 1990s have shown that up to 80 percent of mothers -- working and at-home alike -- consistently say they wish they could work part time.) The interesting question is, rather, why they're not getting it.

    She points to a reason why: part-time pay is skimpy.

    So how can the situation be fixed?

  • What is the Salary of a Pastry Chef?

    Name: David Benton
    Job Title: Pastry Chef
    Where: Oakland, California
    Employer: Self-Employed - SugarSweet Pastries
    Years of Experience: 3
    Education: California Culinary Academy, San Francisco, California
    Salary: See PayScale's Research Center for the median pastry chef salary.

    What is the Salary of a Pastry Chef?

    Looking for a delicious career? For readers interested in pastry chef salaries, the qualifications to become a pastry chef and other career information, our interview with chef David Benton has all the right ingredients.

    In this Salary Story, David told us about the outlook for pastry chef jobs in America, the education needed for a pastry chef, and different jobs for a pastry chef, including hotel and restaurant positions. David discussed how jobs for a pastry chef can be competitive and come with certain expectations, plus lessons learned in culinary school and on the job. He also explained how education and experience impact pastry chef jobs and gave insight into how different employers can affect the working conditions and salary of a pastry chef.   

    If you're interested in becoming a pastry chef, then take few moments to learn more about this creative career. Bon Appetit!

  • Working for the Airlines: the Worst of Times?

    Once upon a time, the U.S. airline industry was a good place to work, and employees showed up at work with smiles on their faces. So went the discussion I had recently with a retired airline worker, as we endured an almost eight-hour delay on a flight from the West Coast to Washington.

    Many on our flight were baffled by the lack of communication from workers at the gate, who weren't surly--they weren't saying much at all. The former airline worker explained that many working the gate often don't know what's causing the delays--and their salaries tend to be skimpy. An MSNBC article backs that up:

    Airline employees have been kicked around a lot in recent years. Management has threatened their unions, cut their paychecks, eliminated their pensions, changed the work rules, reduced personnel and even hidden behind bankruptcy protection — and yet has found it possible to shower bonuses upon their CEOs and top brass. Let's face it, employee morale is broken and no amount of company pep talk is going to fix it. Just go to Chicago O'Hare or Atlanta Hartsfield airport during the peak flight hours. You'll see many employees doing their jobs, but their spirit is all but extinct.

    As news swirls that this summer might be one of the worst travel seasons ever, I wonder: is this the worst time to be working for the airline industry?

  • Minding the Economy

    Minding the Economy

    America, are you concerned about the economy?

    That may seem an odd question on the heels of my post about economic inequality. Still I'm prompted to ask after reading the inaugural politics-and-economics New York Times column by Tom Redburn.

    Redburn suggests that Iraq, not the economy, is dominating the stage for politicians and the American electorate--and that the president has little control over the economy. He goes on to write:

    All this, of course, doesn’t mean that Washington is irrelevant to the economy. Far from it. But what matters much more is how government policies on everything from health care and social security costs to the environment affect the economy’s long-term health and underlying productive capabilities. And that’s not what either the politicians or the voters are paying much attention to right now.

  • Benefits of Working Flex Time: Where to find it, how to get it
  • What Is the Salary for a Hotel Manager?

    Name: Daniel Edward Craig
    Job Title: General Manager, Opus Hotel Vancouver (& Acting General Manager, Opus Montreal)
    Where: Vancouver and Montreal
    Employer: Opus Hotels
    Years of Experience: 15
    Education: Bachelor of Arts, International Relations, University of British Columbia
    Salary: See PayScale's Research Center for the average Hotel General Manager Salary.

    What is the Salary for a Hotel Manager?

    What is the salary for a hotel manager? What are the primary duties of hotel managers? These questions and many more are answered in our interview with Hotel General Manager Daniel Craig. In this Salary Story, he told us all about being a hotel manager and the duties of hotel manager professionals.

    He also spoke about how to become a good hotel manager, factors that affect a hotel general manager salary, hotel general manager jobs and how to build a hotel manager career. Check in today for this interesting profile!

  • Does the American Dream Exist?
  • Living the American Dream
    Albert E. Smith wasn't born into privilege. The son of a printer and an IRS worker, he was born in Camden, N.J., the poorest city in the United States, and was the first member of his family to attend college. He earned a degree from Rutgers University College, and pursued a successful banking career, eventually becoming executive vice president of the Fidelity Bank & Trust Co. of New Jersey (now Bank of America). He later became president of Canon Financial Services Inc., expanding its portfolio from $20 million to $1.5 billion.
  • Know the Salary for Respiratory Therapists

    Name: Glenna Muse
    Job Title: Respiratory Therapist
    Where: Springfield, Missouri
    Employer: Cox South Hospital, CoxHealth Systems
    Years of Experience: 2
    Education: Associate's Degree, Ozarks Technical Community College
    Salary: See PayScale's Research Center for the average respiratory therapist salary.

    Know the Salary for Respiratory Therapists

    Do you know the salary for respiratory therapists? Or the training required for a respiratory therapist career? If not, don't miss this interview with one of the many respiratory therapist workers in America. In our conversation with Glenna Muse, she talked about her respiratory therapist career path, various aspects of respiratory therapist jobs, hourly wage influences, the occupational outlook for respiratory therapists and more!

    Respiratory therapists work in a variety of settings with diverse patients. Glenna described her range of responsibilities as a respiratory therapist and discussed how respiratory therapist salaries are influenced by work setting. She explained that there are many factors that may affect a respiratory therapist's salary, including the difference between working as a certified respiratory therapist vs. a registered therapist.

    Glenna took a unique path toward starting her respiratory therapist career. If you're contemplating a second career or just want to know more about a the average respiratory therapist salary, then take a deep breath and enjoy this inspiring Salary Story!

  • Getting Rid of Economic Inequality: How Do We Do It?

    An in-depth New York Times article on super-rich tycoons such as Sanford Weill and Bill Gates drew scorn from a number of NYT readers, who say the moguls don't give enough credit to their employees and should pay higher taxes. The article says we're in a new "Gilded Age":

    Only twice before over the last century has 5 percent of the national income gone to families in the upper one-one-hundredth of a percent of the income distribution — currently, the almost 15,000 families with incomes of $9.5 million or more a year, according to an analysis of tax returns by the economists Emmanuel Saez at the University of California, Berkeley and Thomas Piketty at the Paris School of Economics.

    Extreme wealth in America isn't necessarily a bad thing -- in fact, it's an important part of the American Dream. What's troubling is America's economic inequality: while the top tiers are doing better all the time, the middle- and low-income sectors can hardly say the same.

    What can be done to snuff out America's economic inequality?

  • Hillary Clinton: A Woman of Many Firsts
    Hillary Rodham Clinton once had a job sliming fish. Indeed, the woman considered the Democratic front-runner for the White House spent a summer in Alaska, washing dishes and sliming fish.
  • Will Rudy Giuliani, ‘America’s Mayor’, be America’s Next President?
    Rudy Giuliani hasn't always been a Republican. He started as a Democrat in the 1960s, later becoming an Independent and then a Republican.
  • List of Salaries for Careers (that stand the test of time)

    While I often focus on "hot" jobs, like software developer, MSN Careers recently produced a list of stable careers that they claim will always be there. These jobs are not always glamorous, or even a dream job description, but they are consistent over the decades, and in some cases, centuries. For those looking to play it safe from trends, here is a list of salaries for careers that stand the test of time.

    As long as there are germs, diseases and fatty foods, doctors will always be in demand. According to the PayScale Research Center, the median medical doctor salary varies according to specialty and locale. For instance, pediatricians' salaries in Georgia average out to a median salary of $117, 250. Not bad pay for a job that has been around since the ancient Greeks and before.

    How does your salary compare with Hippocrates's profession? Find out with our salary survey.

  • Hot IT Salaries: How Education & Location Influence IT Salaries
    Jim Lanzalotto thinks these are the good old days for technology workers and hot IT jobs. Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing at Yoh, a talent and outsourcing firm, said, "The market as a whole is incredibly strong and the lack of IT workers is making a difference. There are just not enough people to do all the work in software development." So what are these IT jobs, and how well do they pay?
  • Supreme Court Pay-Discrimination Ruling Stirs Debate
    The Supreme Court recently issued a number of decisions that have raised more than a few eyebrows. One of those Supreme Court cases, on discrimination in pay, drew the ire of some experts and lawmakers-but others have voiced their support.
  • Phlebotomy Salaries and Career Outlook

    Name: Angela Swicegood
    Job Title: Phlebotomist
    Where: Bentonville, Arkansas
    Employer: Private Clinic
    Years of Experience: 1
    Education: GED, Phlebotomy School, CPT (Certified Phlebotomy Technician)
    Salary: See the PayScale Research Center for the median phlebotomy salaries.

    Phlebotomy Salaries and Career Outlook

    We recently needled Angela about her phlebotomist career, work tasks of a phlebotomist, training required to become a phlebotomist and factors that affect phlebotomy salaries.

    Nobody likes to have their blood drawn, but Angela has some great tips for how to help patients feel more comfortable. She also gives advice on the importance of developing skills and experience for improving your phlebotomist career outlook. For readers interested in what it's like to be a phlebotomist, the average pay for phlebotomists, different phlebotomist career options, or the outlook for phlebotomist careers, this interview is required reading!

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