• 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.

  • Recent College Graduates' Pay Down in 2011

    As part of the research for the 2010-2011 PayScale College Salary Report, we looked at the pay trends of recent college graduates and found startling results.

    With the unemployment rate for college graduates at 4.3% in August, less than half the national average, you would think the strong demand would translate into higher wages.

    While the graduates of some schools continue to bring in the big bucks, and overall earnings of bachelor's graduates are substantially higher than high school grads, the data show that all is not well in the market of recent college graduates.

    College degree or not, are you being paid what you are worth? Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

  • PayScale College Salary Report: Top Schools for 2011

    Recently we released the 2011-2012 PayScale College Salary Report. There are dozens of different topics in this report: top schools for mid- or early career earnings, majors that pay, top state universities, schools that produce the highest fraction of CEOs, and the list goes on.

    In this post, I'll look at some of the interesting facts and and trends behind the numbers. Are wages for college grads going up or down? Which schools top the list for 2011, and how do their graduates' earnings compare with a earnings last year and back in 2008, when we first did this annual report?

    Whether you are a graduate of a top university or just an average one, what really matters is, are you earning what you are worth? Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

  • Why We'd Rather Be in Canada: Wages Up

    With the release of the second quarter (Q2) 2011 PayScale Index, we added tracking of national pay trends for Canada. The striking difference is how much better Canadian wages have bounced back from the recession than in the United States.

    In this blog post, we will look at Canadian trends in pay over the last 5 years, and see what the PayScale data about Canadian wages through the first six months of 2011 tell us about how the demand for workers is recovering.

    Finally, we will look at other economic measures, like unemployment and gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Canada, and see if Canadian workers' wages are subject to the same supply and demand forces we have been seeing in the PayScale Index for the United States.

    National pay trends are interesting, but are wages for your job trending up? Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

  • Top IT Employers

    Top IT Employers

    We recently released a story comparing IT Employers across several factors, such as typical pay, stress levels, typical age, gender breakdown, etc.

    There are some similarities across the employers (e.g. they pay well compared to the typical U.S. employer, they offer generally more flexible schedules, etc.), however there are some stark differences. For example, the median age of IBM workers is 44, while those at Facebook have a median age of 26 and boasts the youngest workforce among top IT companies.

    Are you in the IT world and wondering if you are earning what you are worth? Find out with a free PayScale Salary Report.

  • Healthcare Hotspots

    Healthcare Hotspots

    Today we published a ranking of the Top 10 Healthcare Hotspots. How did we determine these you ask? Well being salary experts, we of course factored in the median pay of healthcare jobs in these metros, but we also factored in the relative prevalence of healthcare jobs in these metros compared to the national average.

    Therefore, the top healthcare hotspots are determined by both typical pay levels and typical employment levels. Read on to learn more about the top healthcare hotspots and find out who the winner is.

    Are you in healthcare and wondering if you are earning what you are worth? Find out with PayScale's comprehensive and accurate salary survey.

  • College is Not Always a Good Investment

    Today, we released our annual study with Bloomberg BusinessWeek on the return on investment (ROI) in education for 691 bachelor's degree granting schools.

    As college costs continue to rise, the justification for paying these costs becomes ever more important. What better justification is there but a measure of their future payoff? In other words, is attending college a good investment in terms of the pay increase it offers over a high school degree?

    The PayScale ROI study helps to answer this question, but the answer is not a simple yes or no. Whether attending college is a good investment or not depends upon many factors, such as the cost incurred, graduation rates at the school, major choice, and the typical pay of the school's graduates.

    In this post I will briefly discuss the methodology of the study, how it changed from last year, and some key insights from the data.

    Whether you went to college or not, are you earning what you are worth? Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

  • Pay Goes Nowhere after 40

    In a recent project with blogger/career guru Penelope Trunk, we examined the age at which salaries top out. It turns out pay goes essentially nowhere after age 40. Of course there are some differences across gender, degree level and jobs, but the real lesson is don't expect a raise of any real value in the 25 or so years before retirement.

    In this post I will discuss some interesting insights from the data, as well as how the age at which pay growth stops differs across various worker characteristics.

    Are you earning what you are worth, given your experience, degrees, location and other critical factors that affect your pay? Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

  • Salary Madness: NCAA Brackets by Salary

    It's the Monday after Selection Sunday, which means we now know the NCAA division I basketball teams heading to the big dance. As everyone gets ready to fill out their brackets, we here at PayScale wish to offer an alternative method to determining who will take home the top honors.

    What if the pay of a university's graduates predicts how well the school will do in the tournament? You might think this is a weird question, but it turns out our method won the tournament last year. Using this method, we chose Duke as the winner and as all you basketball fans know, Duke in fact beat Butler 61-59.

    Check out our bracket this year, where we predict Princeton to be the winner based on the salary of its alumni/alumnae.

    Is your salary a top seed or just barely making the play-in game? Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

  • PayScale Index: What is an Index Anyway?

    We at PayScale recently released the Q4 2010 results for the PayScale Index. See a previous blog post describing the Index and another one that compares the PayScale Index to other common measures of labor market health.

    However, a common question posed by our readers in response to our release was, "What is an Index?" Or in other words, "What do the numerical values actually measure?"

    In simple terms, an index tracks changes in a variable from some baseline time period. In terms of the PayScale Index, the variable we are tracking is the total cash compensation for full-time private industry employees in the U.S and the baseline year is 2006.

    In this post I will further discuss what an index measures, how it is calculated and compare the PayScale Index to another commonly used index, the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

    Understanding how we measure changes in compensation over time is interesting, but so is understanding your place in the current labor market. Find out where you are with a free PayScale salary report.

  • The PayScale Index: Are Wages Going Up or Down?

    Today PayScale released the Q4 2010 results for the PayScale Index. For people who missed our first release in October, and my blog post describing the PayScale Index, the PayScale Index tracks how the market price of private sector full-time employees, as represented by the wages they are paid, changes over time.

    In this post, I'll look at our results for 2010, and then compare the PayScale Index with three common measures of labor market health: the Unemployment Rate, median Usual Weekly Earnings, and the Employment Cost Index. While each is different from the PayScale Index, they are all trying to get at the same thing: how is the labor market in the US doing?

    National trends are interesting, but what is your market price? In about 5 minutes you can find out what you are worth with the comprehensive PayScale salary survey.

  • Tipping Etiquette: Who should you tip and how much?

    During the holiday season, the notion of tipping those who provide you service becomes a hot topic. However, it is important to remember that tips are a year-round affair for many. The questions that plague most people are: "Who do I tip?" and "How much do I tip them?"

    Fear not, for PayScale is to the rescue. We recently released our 5th annual Tipping Study that answers these questions and then some. In this post, I will highlight interesting results from our study, as well as detail the methodology.

    Do you work in a job where tips are commonplace and are wondering how your pay fares? Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

  • Political Winners and Losers

    Does it pay to be in Congress? According to our recent study, yes it does! By using our extensive salary database, we at PayScale compared the pay earned by Congress Members and Obama's Cabinet to the typical pay they could earn based on their educational background (School attended, Highest Degree Obtained, and Year Graduated).

    Over 90% of the 552 people studied earn a federal government pay that is higher than the typical pay for those with the same educational background. In fact, over a third of the members of Congress earn a pay that is at least double the typical pay for those with the same educational background.

    In this post I will discuss the methodology of this study and some interesting highlights, including who are the salary winners and who are the salary losers.

    Are you a salary winner? Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

  • Tracking Changes in US Pay: The PayScale Index

    Today PayScale released the first quarterly report on The PayScale Index. The PayScale Index tracks how the market price of workers, as represented by the wages they are paid, is changing over time. We believe The PayScale Index provides the most accurate view on changes in what employees are earning amidst this turbulent economy.

    The PayScale Index follows changes in total cash compensation for full-time, private industry employees in the United States, and utilizes a unique approach to trend measurement. Unlike indices such as the Consumer Price Index, which measures the prices of certain goods and services (periodically updated to reflect changes in buying habits of Americans), The PayScale Index uses data on all private sector full-time employees working in a given time period.

    In this post, after a brief summary of how The PayScale Index works, I will hit some of the most interesting results we found. Some you expect, e.g., Detroit pay has been collapsing for years; other findings may be more surprising, like wages nationally declined in 2009.

    Knowing how pay is changing is useful, but knowing what you are worth is more important. Find out with PayScale's comprehensive and accurate salary survey.

  • College Grad Salaries: Which School and Major Pays?

    In partnership with CNN/Money, PayScale has produced its annual College Salary Report for 2010. Unlike the more subtle 2010 PayScale College Return on Investment (ROI) Report, this report answers four simple questions:

    • What do bachelor's graduates with a particular major earn, both early in their career and at mid-career?
    • What do bachelor's graduates of a school earn, both early in their career and at mid-career?

    This year, the report includes an analysis of 999 US schools and 120 majors, up from 598 schools and 75 majors last year, and now covers schools with over 80% of all enrolled bachelor's degree students.

    Working on this report, I am always amazed at the diversity of higher education in the US. Read on to learn about the top majors and schools this year, including some surprising changes from last year.

    Are you earning what you are worth, given the degrees, experience, responsibilities, location and other critical factors that affect your pay? Find out with PayScale's comprehensive and accurate salary survey.

  • 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.

  • Tools for Judging College as an Investment

    Nancy Folbre, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst had a thought provoking post on the Economix blog on the economics of universities, and the value of a college education.

    She brought up three interesting problems:

    1. Difficulty the "buyers" of a college education have in judging value
    2. Rising costs and questionable approaches for new revenue (e.g., marketing for out of state students)
    3. Poor outcomes such as low graduation rates particularly at for-profit and large state universities

    I have blogged comparing private and public universities before. In this post, I just want to point out the resources that are most useful in judging the economic value of a 4-year bachelor's degree education from a particular institution.

    Bachelor's degree or not, are you earning what you are worth? Spend 5 minutes completing the PayScale online salary evaluation survey and know.

  • Worst Paying College Majors

    Recently a piece on the "Worst Paying College Majors" in the Huffington Post and later on Yahoo! received a lot of attention. The list of "Worst Paying College Majors" came from our annual PayScale College Salary Report.

    People both hotly debated and amicably agreed upon the list of majors via 1000+ comments at the end of the Huffington Post piece. In this article I will discuss two of these comments and address misconceptions some Huffington Post readers have.

    Are you curious whether you are paid what you're worth, given the major and career you chose? Find out with a free PayScale Salary Report.

  • Does a 2nd Choice School mean 2nd Rate Pay?

    As high school seniors spent April sorting through their college acceptance letters and deciding where to attend school, they may now be lamenting the fact they were rejected by their top choice college or university. However, a recent article in The Daily Beast finds people who don't attend their top choice school are regularly happier than those who do.

    Top choice schools are often schools with name recognition and severe admission standards (e.g. Harvard or Berkeley), not necessarily schools that are a good fit for the applicant. The Daily Beast article finds students typically rank prestigious schools as top choice schools, even if the student knows very little about the school. This blogger is guilty of this: my top choice school was Princeton University for no real reason other than the fact it was Princeton.

    Upon closer inspection, 2nd choice schools may offer a better fit in terms of the academic rigor, social life, campus setting and location. Therefore, students who attend their 2nd choice school are often happier with this choice.

    However, what does attending a 2nd choice school mean for your pay down the road? In other words, is there a trade-off between happiness and future salaries when attending a lower choice school?

    Are you curious whether you are paid what you're worth given the school you chose? Find out with PayScale's detailed salary calculator.

  • Salary Raises: Understanding Cost of Living vs. Merit Pay Increases

    I have been looking at pay raises lately, and one thing I have been struggling with is how HR managers talk about raises.

    For example, a recent question on an HR discussion board was whether companies should give cost of living adjustments (COLAs) or "merit" increases.

    In this post, I'll cover what HR means by COLAs and merit raises, and then discuss why this is not really the right way to talk about pay and raises.

    Are you due for a raise? Use PayScale's detailed salary calculator to figure out based on your unique skills and abilities what you are worth.