• Advice on Jobs That Don't Require a College Degree

    In previous posts, I have written about jobs that don't require a 4-year college degree. Some posts generated more comments than others - UPS, love it or hate it :-)

    One reader wrote a thoughtful commentary on a post he saw on our partner, AOL.

    Breaking with my usual pontificating, I am turning this post over this reader. "Jim" followed a path to success that did not include college. He makes a strong case for considering trades instead of college for long-term financial success.

    I have changed a few unimportant details (like his name) to make Jim's comments anonymous, but otherwise the point of view is his.

    Wondering if, college or not, you are being paid what your worth in the market? Find out with our salary survey.

  • Employee Job Satisfaction Statistics

    Are you satisfied with your job?  Do you ever wonder who is?  According to employee job satisfaction statistics reported on, those in the clergy, firefighters and other folks in helping professions are the most satisfied. These were the results of national job satisfaction studies conducted by the General Social Survey (GSS) at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

    This report of employee job satisfaction statistics was based on interviews with 27,000 Americans. In the study, researchers asked about job satisfaction and general happiness. According to Tom Smith, director of the GSS, “Work occupies a large part of each worker’s day, is one’s main source of social standing, helps to define who a person is and affects one’s health both physically and mentally.”

    Does your salary reflect your happiness?  Find out with our full salary survey.

  • Airline Pilots & Wages: Salary or Safety?

    The friendly skies are not so friendly these days when it comes to airline pilots & wages, reports Fortune magazine. This story actually began back on 9/11.  After the 2001 terrorist attack, the airline industry began to nose dive; people were scared to fly, tourism dropped, the airlines were in trouble.  As the slump continued, some airlines were on the verge of bankruptcy.

    In 2003, airline pilots and other employees agreed to give up 23% of their pay (plus other concessions) to help keep the airlines afloat. Today, the airline industry is making money, especially American Airlines whose top executives (including parent AMR Corp.) have received nearly a quarter-billion dollars in stock.  Now, the pilots want their pay back. Will this fight over airline pilots & wages result in a strike?  Keep reading!

    How does your salary compare to an airline pilot's wages? Find out by taking PayScale's full salary survey.

  • TV Star Salaries: 'The Office' vs. 'Grey’s Anatomy'
    What do your favorite TV stars earn? Compare TV star salaries to the salaries of the characters they play on TV. This round: The Office vs. Grey's Anatomy.
  • Alumni Salaries vs. NCAA Championships: Big Pay Predicts Exit

    Continuing the theme of the last few posts, how well did university alumni salaries (pay of graduates with 5 to 15 years of experience) predict the "Sweet Sixteen" round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship?

    Last week, I flipped the original bracket picks (schools with higher paid alumni win) and predicted Stanford University (3 seed, $113,000), UCLA (1 seed, $86,600) and University of Texas (2 seed, $83,400) would be next to leave the tournament, because they all have alumni who earn well above the tournament school average.

    The good news is I was 2 for 3! The bad news is that the NCAA seeding committee was even better. They predicted only 2 would leave the tourney (the universities that are not 1 seeds), and the seeding committee was right :-)

    In this post, I'll look at how well salary worked to predict the Sweet Sixteen weekend, and make a last guess at which university will win it all.

    Are you overpaid and headed home like Stanford, or pulling down 1/2 as much and going to the Final Four like the University of Memphis ($59,100)? Find out with the PayScale salary survey.

  • Bad News for High Salary and Seed Schools in NCAA Basketball Tourney

    In the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, the power of university alumni salaries (pay of graduates with 5 to 15 years of experience) to predict the outcome of basketball games finally waned.

    The PayScale bracket picks, when adjusted for the first round outcomes, only predicted 9 out of 16 games correctly. This is basically the same as tossing a coin.

    The seeding committee did better: the higher seeded team won 13 out of 16 second round games.

    However, we discovered a new pattern in the data: high seed and high alumni salaries appear to be a bad combination in NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

    What does this mean for which universities will make the final 4? Read on...

    Are you overpaid and underachieving like a Duke University ($96,800), or underpaid and overachieving like Western Kentucky University ($48,800)? Find out with the PayScale salary survey.

  • Men's NCAA Basketball Second Day: Salary picks 22 of 32
  • Men's NCAA Basketball First Day: Salary picks 12 of 16
  • NCAA Brackets by Salary: Do Graduates' Pay Predict March Madness Success?

    It is March, so it must be time for "March Madness", the NCAA division I basketball championships. Here at PayScale, we always look at things with a salary slant.

    This year, we were kicking around March Madness ideas and hit upon the question, does the pay of a university's graduates predict how well the school will do in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship? Yes, this is a weird question, but we are weird people :-)

    This question is not about the future pay of the basketball players. We were wondering about all those alumni filling the stands. Do the salaries the alumni earn predict how well the basketball team will do?

    At, we have the data. Here is a teaser: using average university graduate salary, we predicted Mount Saint Mary's University (median annual salary: $60,200) would beat Coppin State University ($46,900).

    Is your salary a "1 seed", or just struggling to make the play-in game? Find out if you are earning what you are worth with the PayScale salary calculator.

  • Is a Person's Salary Considered Privacy Act Information?

    Is a person's salary considered privacy act information? reported that the California Supreme Court ruled in favor a newspaper seeking government job info and salary numbers of public employees. The ruling said that the city of Oakland must release the names, records of termination and salaries of police officers (who earned more than $100,000 in 2004).

    Police officer unions claimed that this information on salary and payment should remain confidential due to privacy. However, Chief Justice Ronald George stated: “Counterbalancing any cognizable interest that public employees may have in avoiding disclosure of their salaries is the strong public interest in knowing how the government spends its money." Should government job info and salary be made public?

    Are you being paid fairly? Check your salary, privately, with our PayScale Salary Calculator.

  • List of Future Jobs in Demand: 2006-2016

    "Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?" That is a hard-to-answer question in the ever-changing U.S. job market. What if you could look into a crystal ball, and see the fastest growing occupations ten years from now?

    While predictions about the future are hard, I recently came across a list of future jobs in demand by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). (Note: the original list included jobs predicted to grow between 2006 and 2016, but it's been updated through 2022. Our post includes the previous data.)

    This list is the BLS's guess at how our world will change. Baby boomers will get older (personal and home care aides  #2), Generation X will invest for retirement (personal financial advisers  #6), Generations Y and "Millennials" will be in recovery (substance abuse counselors #10), while Generation Text will be even more high tech (computer software engineers #4).

    Which job tops this list of future jobs in demand?  Keep reading!

    However, before you jump to one of the new "hot" careers, make sure you are earning what you deserve today by using the PayScale Salary Calculator.

  • Movie Actor Salaries, Are They Worth It?

    With the Oscars around the corner, we will be hearing about movie actor salaries, which always seem to be in the tens of millions of dollars.

    Few of the best picture nominees are big box office winners. Fortunately for us, George Clooney has decided to go more for "backend" (cut of profits) rather than fixed fees for his movies. If not, his standard fee of more than $15 million would have doubled the cost of "Michael Clayton", and likely scuttled the project. reported on movie actor salaries, and calculated which stars actually deliver at the box office. Surprisingly, the best investment in movie actor salaries is Matt Damon. For every dollar The Bourne Ultimatum star is paid, Matt Damon's movies gross $29. Not bad, for a career that started with the minor role of Steamer, the goofy younger brother in "Mystic Pizza".

    Back in 2004, The Bourne Supremacy grossed $290 million worldwide, plus another $165 million in video rentals and sales. Damon's total take for that film was $26 million, so that was a good investment for Universal Studios, as was the sequel, The Bourne Ultimatum.

    What about female movie actor salaries? Jennifer Aniston's last three starring films have earned $17 to every dollar she was paid; The Break-Up grossed an estimated $270 million.

    How does your salary compare, if not to the stars, to other working stiffs like you? Find out with our salary calculator.

  • Jobs for Computer Science Degree Grads Going Up, Up

    High salaries and plenty of jobs abound for recent computer science degree grads, according to a recent article on However, the picture may not be so rosy for veteran techies. In fact, some experienced IT workers are actually experiencing cutbacks. What is going on here? 

    First, the recent college grads: Emanuel Contomanolis, of the Rochester Institute of Technology, told that jobs for computer science degree holders were prevalent in IT firms, thanks to recruiters scouring campuses. He also said that financial services firms are filling jobs for computer science degree holders, because they have realized that IT features "are going to be critical to how they differentiate themselves on the market."

    How does your salary compare to jobs for computer science degree grads?  Find out with PayScale's full salary survey.

  • Software Developer Salaries: Ruby on Rails vs. Java

    "willCode4Beer", a software engineer and blogger in the San Francisco Bay Area, recently posted a comparison of "Ruby on Rails" and Java software developer salaries, using PayScale data.

    Noting that the average salary for developers in San Francisco is $17,000 higher for Java than Ruby on Rails, he concluded he should stick with Java, at least until the pay for Ruby on Rails catches up.

    However, big grains of salt are required when comparing these charts :-)

    In this post, after a brief background on programming languages and their fads, I'll look at why, even in the face of these charts, it is not so clear which language willCode4Beer should use.

    Wondering what your skills are worth? Find out with the PayScale salary calculator.

  • Military Pay Rate: Upping The United States Army Active Duty Pay Scale

    Need to make a quick $20K?  If you're willing to shape up and ship out, quickly, the U.S. Army has greatly increased the military pay rate, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. With thinning forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Army is digging into its wallet to attract recruits. New enlistees are being offered up to $20K in "quick-ship" bonuses, if they agree to attend basic training within 30 days of signing up with Uncle Sam.

    With "quick-ship," a new enlistee can be in a combat situation in as little as three to four months (traditionally, recruits are given up to a year).  MSNBC reports that the United States Army active duty pay scale doesn't end with the $20K bonus. Recruits willing to sign up for at least four years can earn as much as $45K in installments.

    How does your salary compare to the new military pay rate?  Find out with our salary calculator.

  • Worst Jobs to Have: Presidential Candidates Tell Theirs

    In an earlier column, I listed some of the worst jobs in America, pay-wise. In keeping with that spirit, here are more of the worst jobs to have, per our presidential candidates (as reported on USA Today).  Before she was Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham worked as a dishwasher in the summer of 1969 in Alaska. She scrubbed dishes at Mount McKinley National Park in order to pay for her trek across the 49th state.

    Dish washing, however, was not the worst job that she had. Hillary says, "My worst job was sliming fish in a fish cannery in Valdez." The presidential hopeful says she was reprimanded for not sliming fast enough and moved to a packing line. That was also one of the worst jobs to have, apparently, and she was fired after reporting that spoiled fish were being packed; even back then she was a rabble rouser!

    Even if your job is one of the worst to have in the U.S., make sure you are at least being paid the going rate by taking PayScale's full salary survey.

  • 10 More Good Jobs with No College Degree Required

    In today's economy where people are losing their jobs and needing to start over, a hot topic is top paying jobs for people with no college degrees.

    Topping that list is an employment recruitment specialist; someone who helps companies recruit job candidates. With a two-year degree (associates degree) in hand, the median salary for an employment recruitment specialist with 2-3 years of experience is $38,100.

    A career as a financial advisor comes in at number two on a Yahoo! list of 10 paying jobs with no college degree required. In this position, it helps to have an associate’s degree in finance as you usually work at a brokerage firm or a bank. Your job is helping clients make wise investments (hopefully). A personal financial advisor with less than year of experience earns a median base salary of $32,700, but commissions and bonuses can be a big factor in pay as well.

    How does your salary compare with two of Yahoo's 10 paying jobs with no college degree? Find out with our salary survey or use the our cost of living calculator to see how much you would need to make to maintain your current standard of living in a different city.

  • Hollywood Writer Salaries, Hollywood Writer's Wages: Why They Are On Strike

    You may have heard that members of the Writer's Guild are on strike, but it's not just Hollywood writer salaries that are in jeopardy. According to, non-writing staff members of TV shows are being shown the door. NBC recently laid off the entire production staff of the Tonight Show and workers were told that their jobs might not be there after the strike. Fortunately, Jay Leno has said that he'll pay their salaries.

    On the east coast, TV show staffs are also being affected by the writer's strike. Like Leno, late night talker Conan O'Brien is paying, out of his own pocket, the salaries of nearly 80 non-writing staffers and the Hollywood writer salaries of his joke scribes (the AFP reports). Why are the writers striking? What is at stake for Hollywood writer salaries?  Keep reading!

    How does your salary compare to a Hollywood writer's wages? Find out with PayScale's full salary survey.

  • 25% Regret New Jobs: What to Consider When Considering a Job Offer

    I have a colleague whose friend was one offered the head-writing job on the Fox-TV series America's Most Wanted. He accepted the job, but was then told he would have to fly to a different location every week with the crime-fighting host John Walsh. The problem? His friend hated flying. Accepting the wrong job is more common than you would think, according to a recent article at about new-job regrets and what to consider when considering a job offer.

    According to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, about 25 percent of workers actually regret taking a new position within the first year.  It's not just Joe Six Pack who's getting cold feet; Katie Couric has suggested that her move from NBC's "Today" show to the "CBS Evening News" might have been a mistake. Clearly, there are other factors just as important as negotiating job offer salaries.

    Are you in the right career?  Find out with our salary survey.
    Could you current salary take you farther in another city? Find out with the PayScale Cost of Living Calculator.