• Is Global Warming Good for US Jobs?

    There is little disagreement about whether global warming happening, only some, like Gov. Sarah Palin, question whether it is caused by people. Beyond that fight, there is another debate: what could be the effect of these environmental factors on jobs?

    While "green collar jobs" were overshadowed during the general election by the financial meltdown, they remain a top component of President-elect Obama's energy plan, with predictions of 5,000,000 new jobs. Could the green sector be that important to our future economy?

    According to a report on CNN.com, the effect of environmental factors on jobs could be an employment boom, or bust. The Apollo Institute, an organization that wants a government renewable energy project, predicts three million new green jobs over the next ten years. However, the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California Berkeley expects closer to one million new jobs by 2020.

    Could your salary weather the effect of environmental factors on jobs?  Find out with PayScale's full salary survey.

  • Career Change at Middle Age

    Posted by Dr. Al Lee

    "Career change at middle age." Just the words seem daunting, but in our ever-changing job market and the current economic downturn, more and more people are switching careers, some by choice, and others out of economic necessity.

    One common route to a career change is further education. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, back in 2006 employees with a graduate or professional degree earned an average salary of $80K, while those with bachelor's degrees earned an average of $55K; that's a big difference in pay. If you're interested in heading back to school, check out online degree programs in the PayScale Education Center.

    How would a new degree affect your salary?  Find out with the PayScale Salary Calculator.

  • Telecommuting From Home Success Stories

    Csmonitor.com devoted an entire article to telecommuting from home success stories. In the age of Blackberry, Skype, e-mail and instant messaging, it is becoming more common for businesses to allow employees to telecommute from home, or even the local coffee shop. I touched on this in my previous post about legitimate work at home jobs. 

    Exactly how many people are working in their PJs? WorldatWork, a national organization of HR professionals, says that around 28 million Americans are working from home at least one day per month, and that number could reach 100 million by 2010. Which jobs were included in these telecommuting from home success stories?  Keep reading!

    How does your salary compare to telecommuting from home success stories?  Find out with the PayScale Salary Calculator. You can also use the PayScale Cost of Living Calculator to see how much you would need to make to maintain your current standard of living in a different city. 

  • Jobs with Good Vacation Plans

    For some folks, time off from work can be just as important as salary. Fortunately, there are careers that allow you to take more time off than the average Joe who might get two weeks. In fact, some careers offer two to three months off. Jobs with good vacation plans are out there, you just need to know where to look.

    However, increased free time often comes with increased risk. If your idea of a fun vacation is being paid, and having a job to come back to, some of these options may not be for you.

    How does your salary compare to jobs with good vacation plans? Find out with PayScale's full salary survey.

  • 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.

  • Veteran Jobs: Iraq Veteran Job Opportunities?

    If all went according to plan, military reservists who go to war would have their stateside jobs waiting for them when they returned.  However, in the real world, 23 percent of veteran jobs are gone when reservists return, per a report by CNN.com. And many servicemen say the U.S. government is not helping those who are denied their old jobs when they return from Iraq. In short, Iraq veteran job opportunities have become the new casualties of war.

    This info is part of a Defense Department survey of military reservists in 2005-2006. In the report, 44 percent were dissatisfied with how the Labor Department handled complaints of discrimination in veteran jobs, 29 percent had problems getting info from government agencies and 77 percent didn't try to get government help because they didn't think it would make a difference. Is this "supporting the troops?" What can be done differently?

    How does your salary compare to veteran jobs?  Find out with the PayScale Salary Calculator.

  • Part Time Jobs for Mom: Your Guide To Career Planning

    Working mothers have never had it easy, unless they're wealthy actresses with a slew full of nannies. Women are expected to meet corporate America's demands and be the main caregiver their children's lives. Not only that, some may be caring for elderly parents. That may be why more women are giving a thumbs down to 40 hours a week and looking for "part time jobs for mom," according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, as reported on CSMonitor.com.

    The survey said that when working moms were asked about their "ideal" work situation, a slim 21% cited 40 hour a week jobs, this was down from 32% in 1997. In contrast, 60% of 2007's respondents said "part-time jobs for mom" were "ideal," up from 48% ten years earlier.  Interestingly, 19% of working moms in this year's survey preferred not to work outside the home at all. Of course, working part time may not be a financial option for moms. What is the solution?

    What would your salary look like if you worked part time?  Find out with the PayScale Salary Calculator.

  • Increased Income for College Graduates: Class of 2007

    In a column earlier this year, I examined some of the average college grad income predictions made by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). So how has the class of 2007 actually done in the “real world?” Well, NACE recently issued its most recent and final 2007 Salary Survey which shows an increased Income for college graduates in many fields.

    Not surprisingly, there was increased income for college graduates in accounting. Number crunching continues to pay well; the average accounting job for college graduates gained 3%, with an average starting salary of $46,292. Business administration and management grads saw a 5.1% bump; their average salary, right out of the gate, was $43,256.

    How does your salary compare to accounting careers for college graduates?  Find out with our salary survey.

  • Jobs in Demand Nationwide, Only Certificates Required

    In earlier columns, I examined top paying jobs for people with no college degrees; and here we go again =o). I'm not trying to put universities out of business, but this seems to be a hot topic these days. So hot that Yahoo! Hot Jobs recently compiled an interesting list of jobs in demand nationwide that only require online certificate programs.

    Surprisingly a college degree is not required to be a paralegal, but you do need stamina. You're doing a lot of researching for attorneys. A friend of mine completed the UCLA paralegal certificate program and, today, is working for the U.S. Department of Justice and dating her teacher. According to the PayScale research center, the median salary for a paralegal ranges from $49,731 to $29,839 (boy/girlfriend not included).

    How does your salary compare to jobs in demand nationwide? Find out with our salary survey.

  • My Job Duties Exceed My Pay; What Should I Do?

    A couple of readers asked the following questions:

    "[1] 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. [2] 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. :-)

  • 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.

  • Are PayScale Surgeon Salaries Off?

    Chris, a reader, commented on the surgeon vs. football player salaries post, "Many of the average/base salaries for physicians/surgeons posted in this article are off by hundreds of thousands of dollars."

    I am confident that the data points that make up our averages correspond to the actual salaries received by individual surgeons. In fact, even our broad average salaries compare well with other broad averages, like the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of all surgeon salaries by metropolitan area, when we select and group surgeons and geography in the same way.

    Assuming Chris means his experience with surgeons' pay is very different from what we report, why are PayScale average surgeon salaries so "off"?

    It comes down to which surgeons go into our averages, vs. the people Chris knows. In this post, I will look at what goes into "average" (median) surgeon salaries, why surgeon salaries vary so much, and why even a median may not really "typical."

    Is your pay off by $100,000's? Use the PayScale salary survey to find out.

  • Top Paying Jobs for People with No College Degrees

    In a previous column, I mentioned some top paying jobs for people with no college degrees.  The response was so strong that we are back for round two of the "best career choices with no college degree." Lest any parents out there accuse me of being an incompetent career counselor, keep in mind that neither Microsoft Founder Bill Gates nor Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has a college degree.

    Of course, Bill dropped out of Harvard, and Larry out of the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago. If your kid gets into a top university (or two), and then wants to drop out, these two billionaires are evidence your child can still be a financial success.

    As reported on CNN.com, one of the top paying jobs for people with no college degrees is working as an air traffic controller. You are directing which planes can land and take off, so hundreds of lives are in your hands. A college degree is not necessary, but you do need three years of on-the-job work experience and/or four years of college. You also need to pass pre-employment testing, make it through the FAA Academy, and more training. It does pay well; the median salary for an air traffic controller with 13-20 years of experience is $98,300 per year.

    How does your salary compare to a "no college degree salary?" Do the math with our salary calculator.

  • Are PayScale Salary Reports Unbiased?

    Sometimes we are asked, are the PayScale salary reports unbiased? Since PayScale does not explicitly select the people who complete our salary survey, how do we know the ~2% of employees in the US who have completed our survey are representative of the US working population as a whole?

    The extent to which any aggregate statistic, like typical salary, is biased (inaccurate) depends on how it is constructed, and what question it is trying to answer. In this post, I'll look at three aspects of bias in reporting:

    • All aggregate statistics lie: There is no such thing as a "true" typical answer
    • The case of the civil engineer: Even well-measured typical values are wrong, simply because they are aggregates
    • Sampling bias: A sample may not be suitable for the question being asked

    In future posts, I will look at bias in government wage calculations, and then come back to whether PayScale data are biased for the questions we try to answer.

    Is your salary biased high or low? The PayScale Salary Calculator is a quick and easy way to compare positions. But when you want powerful salary data and comparisons customized for your exact position, be sure to build a complete profile by taking PayScale's full salary survey.

  • CEO Salaries: PayScale in the New York Times

    I was excited to wake up today and see an article about PayScale in the New York Times. Together with a recent article in Business 2.0 magazine, PayScale has been getting very good press lately.

    As a person born just across the river in New Jersey, The New York Times has always represented the height of newspaper publishing to me. While it is great to be quoted in The Province (Vancouver, BC), seeing such a prominent article in the NYT says PayScale is real to my friends and family back east.

    While the New York Times article was fair in describing the strengths and weaknesses of PayScale and our competitors, one small item annoyed me. As regular readers will suspect, the issue of CEO salaries in New York City touched on my obsession with mean vs. median.

    Before reading another pedantic post on statistics, why not take a couple minutes to compare your salary using PayScale's salary calculator, as seen in the New York Times!

  • How Large a Salary Survey Sample is Enough? (II)

    In a previous post, I claimed that as few as 5 employee profiles are enough to report accurately on the typical pay for a job. How can that be?

    In this post, we'll look at how statistics work, and why a small, targeted, data set is often preferable to a much larger, but poorly characterized one. You don't even need fancy math to calculate this.

    If you are curious what kind of sample we have for your job, try the PayScale salary calculator.

  • Software Developer Salary: How does PayScale understand what I do?

    software developer, salary survey, job titles, dental hygienist, salary range, List Project Management Software Developer, Administrator Rights Software Developer, Microsoft Access Software Developers in Portland, Oregon, Software Developer Computer Programmer Job, Software developer salary, Software Developers and Security Training It was great to see a blog post on TechCrunch about PayScale. Even better were the comments: they reminded me of questions we regularly get about the effectiveness of our salary survey.

    One common question about our salary survey is some variation of, "My job title is software developer. How does PayScale take into account what I actually do?" Software developer can mean everything from writing Excel macros to automating a spreadsheet (I've been doing too much of that lately), to re-writing the Windows NT kernel for 64 bit computing.

    How does PayScale handle this variation of duties and job titles?

  • Why is PayScale’s salary for my job low?

    People often complain that our salary survey results are too low. Strangely, very few people complain our salary survey results are too high :-)

    People object to our salary survey results even when the difference between our salary survey result and their expectations is less than 10%. It seems that Zillow has the same problem with house appraisals as we have for salaries. This got me wondering to what extent our problems are similar.

  • Searching for a Salary Report for an unusual job? The PayScale challenge

    One of our most common customer questions is, "Why does PayScale not have a salary report for my job?" Please do not feel we are biased against you; we do not have a salary report for me either, a Quantitative Analysis Director from Seattle. :-)

    We have over a million salary data profiles from roughly 1% of all people who work in the United States, and a signficant number from other countries as well. We don't have enough salary data to report on every possible job title, in every location, with every experience level and the dozen other critical factors that determine an employee's salary, because of the way our system works.

    Our salary calculator is based on a few simple principles:

  • Why Is There No Salary Standard Deviation on PayScale?

    I am sometimes asked, "why doesn't the PayScale Salary Report and Research Center show the standard deviation of the data? (See Wikipedia for the (useless) mathematical definition of standard deviation.)

    People are are interested in the standard deviation, because it attempts to give the typical variation in salaries. The first thing they calculate with it is a typical range of salaries, by simply adding and subtracting it from the mean.

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