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  • Professional Careers in Demand for the Future

    Part of the American Dream is moving upwards, doing better than your father did, but a recent report on Money.CNN.com, suggests that the average job salaries of American men are heading downwards, and that they are actually earning less than dear old dad. The report cites an 18-month ongoing study by the American Enterprise Institute, Pew Charitable Trusts, Brookings Institute, Urban Institute and Heritage Foundation which analyzed the average job salaries of men in their 30's, a reportedly reliable indicator of one's lifetime income.

    The study used figures from the Census Bureau that were adjusted for inflation to conclude that in 2004, 30-something men earned a median income of about $35K per year, a 12 percent drop compared to men in their 30s in 1974, who had a median income of $40K. The study claims this is a change from 1994, when men in their 30s were earning 5 percent more than their fathers did back in 1964 (adjusted for inflation).

    What's the solution? Don't be average :-) As reported on Money.CNN.com, there are some professional careers in demand for the future that may bring you up to dad's average job salary or higher, so keep reading!

    How does your salary compare to your dad's typical salary? Find out with our salary survey.

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  • Typical Salaries for College Professors, Higher Fees for Students?

    Will the increase of typical salaries for college professors ultimately affect average salaries for college grads? That's a question raised in a recent article in the New York Times. More public universities are charging higher prices for certain college courses in order to pay for equipment and college professor salaries - those who teach "premium" classes. For example, this fall at Rutgers, general ed tuition will be $8,541, but business students will ante up $8,716, while pharmacy and engineering majors will shell out $9,484.

    The idea behind this multi-tier system is that the average salaries for college grads, those taking "premium" courses, will be higher in the long run, so why not charge them more? But some educators worry that increasing certain college course fees is unfair to lower income kids who will have to take lower priced courses, thus resulting in a lifetime of lower average salaries for college grads. Does this undermine equal opportunity, or actually prepare students for the "free market?"

    How does your salary compare to typical salaries for college professors?  Find out with our salary survey.

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  • 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. :-)

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  • Negotiation Techniques in Salary: Men and Women

    Negotiation techniques in salary vary from person to person, but a recent article in the Washington Post focused on the marked differences between men and women.  In evaluating salary negotiation differences, the post recalls an incident ten years ago, when a group of female graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University filed a complaint with Linda C. Babcock, a professor of economics.

    The female students complained that male students (in the PhD) program were teaching classes on their own, but the females were relegated to the role of teaching assistants. This was (and is) a big deal, because students who taught their own classes gained valuable experience. Babcock looked into it, and subsequently found that males had asked to teach classes, whereas females had not. This prompted Babcock to begin evaluating salary negotiation differences between the sexes.

    Are your negotiation techniques in salary successful?  Find out with our salary calculator

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  • The Highest School Superintendents Salaries

    Teacher salaries get quite a bit of press these days (read about the average salary of elementary school teachers on Salary Stories), but you rarely hear about school superintendents. However, recently, the New York Times reported on some of the highest school superintendents' salaries, which happen to be in Westchester County in New York State. For instance, Mount Vernon, New York is looking to pay a new school superintendent almost $317K (salary and benefits), way above the median salary ($141,127) for a school superintendent in New York State.

    Mount Vernon school board president Lynn McBride defended the superintendent salaries in the New York Times: "In order to entice anyone to come into Westchester, we had to be competitive with the rest of the salaries in Westchester. Our superintendent has been one of the lowest paid.” Not anymore. The Times reports that the median pay package for a superintendent in Westchester County during the 2007-2008 school year is $288,400 (salary and benefits). In 2007-2008, thirteen administrators will actually earn more than $300K (total compensation), putting them in the "highest school superintendents' salaries" category.

    How does your salary compare to the highest school superintendents' salaries? Find out with our salary calculator.

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  • Summer Seasonal Jobs: Students Getting a Summer Job?

    In the ancient days known as B.C. (before cable TV), summer for teens meant (1) getting out of school and (2) students getting a summer job, at least part-time. But these days, as the Christian Science Monitor recently reported, summer seasonal jobs are turning very competitive. The article says that "summer jobs for teenagers" market never recovered from the recession of 2001, and in 2007 there is more competition from older workers for entry-level employment for summer months.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has tracked the youth labor market (16-19-year-olds) since 1948. The BOLS says that teen employment for summer months has traditionally been above 50 percent, but starting in 1998, the numbers began dropping. Professor Andrew Sum Andrew Sum, an economist and head of Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies, forecasted (in April) that only 36.5 percent of teens will have employment for summer months; down from 45.3 percent in 2000.

    My son entered the labor market this summer. He had to do a lot of digging to come up with a part-time bagger job at the local supermarket. By the time I was his age, I had worked mowing lawns, delivering newspapers, cooking fast food, and washing dishes at Deerfield Academy (I didn't go there; I was a townie who served the rich kids).

    Are my son and other teens today just slackers, or are there other factors at work in the hunt for summer seasonal jobs?

    How does your salary compare to your teen's salary? Find out with our salary calculator.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Talk Show Host Salary: The Top Talkers

    Getting paid millions to talk is about the easiest job out there, but getting there is another matter. Forbes.com recently covered the topic of talk show host salary. You may be surprised to learn that the largest talk show host salary belongs to Howard Stern. The outrageous radio show host receives $500 million salary per his 5-year contract with Sirius Satellite Radio. In addition to his talk show host salary, Howard received a bonus of 22.1 million company shares, reportedly valued at $82.9 million, bringing his total income (last year) to $302 million!

    In second place is the more palatable Oprah Winfrey, who earned $225 million, but that wasn't all based on her talk show host salary. The popular daytime gabber has several sources of income: Her talk show, weekly XM Satellite Radio show, part-ownership of Rachel Ray's syndicated daily talk show and a voice-over role in the latest film adaptation of Charlotte’s Web; that doesn't count her magazine, books and other Oprah-related merchandise.

    How does your salary compare to the salary of a talk show host?  Find out with our salary calculator.

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  • Temp Jobs That Pay Well: Computer Tech Jobs and More

    "Temp jobs" may conjure up visions of low-paying administrative jobs filled by hapless out-of-work actors answering phones for minimum wage, but, if you have hi-tech skills, there are temp jobs that pay well, according to a recent report by SFGate.com. High-tech temp workers with skills in hardware engineering, clinical trial administration, database development and computer tech jobs are in big demand, so says a technology employment survey by Yoh.com, a Philadelphia-based outsourcing firm.

    The company reportedly analyzed the hourly pay of 5,000 high-tech temps, tabulated the highest wages and created a list of ten temp jobs that pay well. The temping techs who are earning the most cash are technical consultants who design enterprise resource planning databases; they rake in $83 per hour! At the bottom of the list were temporary aerospace engineers, earning $48.41 per hour. Rocket scientists temping? H.G. Wells would be shocked!

    How does your salary measure up to the temp pay of a rocket scientist?  Find out with our salary survey.

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  • 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.

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  • Annual Salary for California Governor: Governor Salaries in 2007

    Being governor may sound like a high annual salary position, but governor salaries don't always pay as much as one might think. In a recent report of governor salaries, stateline.org cited the average governor salary to be $124,398. The annual salary for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is the highest in the governor salary ranking, $206,500, but he does not accept his salary (he did pretty well in Hollywood, if I recall).  As I mentioned in a previous column, Salary Increases in the News, Schwarzenegger has been generous to his top state officials, upping their salaries, often in the face of criticism.

    On the other end of the governor salary ranking, we have the governor of Maine, who earns only $70,000 per year. That political office hasn't seen a raise in 20 years! Maine Governor John Baldacci actually saw a decrease in pay of $80,000/year in 2003 when he decided to give up his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and become governor. Balducci's own assistant reportedly earned more than he did in 2005, with an annual salary of $102,000.  Governor Baldacci actually opposed a pay raise for himself in 2006, but supported a raise for the state's teachers. Why isn't he running for President?

    Could you afford to oppose a salary raise? Find out with our salary calculator.

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  • Salary for Teachers vs. Average Pay for High School Coaches

    In the post on differences in pay for men and women, the relatively low pay of teachers came up. It may surprise readers to learn that the average salary for teachers in Texas public schools is significantly less than the average pay for high school coaches, according to an article in the Austin-Statesman.

    The paper reported that Texas high school football coaches in Class 5A and 4A schools (that's 950 students or more) earn an average salary of $73,804, while the average salary for teachers in those same schools is about $42,400 (as mentioned on ESPN.com).

    In its report, the Austin American-Statesman "asked every 5A and 4A school district in the state for the total compensation paid to Texas football coaches and for salaries of their highest-paid teachers, high school principals and superintendents for the 2005-06 school year."  The results?  Texas high school football coaches in 27 schools earn a higher salary than even their principals.  The report also says five Texas high school football coaches earn more than $100K. Ennis High School's Sam Harrell tops the list with an annual salary of $106,004; the lowest-paid is Houston Furr's Cornell Gray, who scores $42,300.

    While the reasons given for this pay difference are varied, there is one fundamental. The school boards and, indirectly, the taxpayers in Texas value the high school football coaches more highly than even their best paid teachers. Sounds like another case like surgeon vs. pro football player pay, and, like that, it is about revenue...

    How does your salary line up against the average pay for high school coaches?  Find out with our salary survey.

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  • Career Salaries and Salary Ranges of Overpaid Jobs

    Most people will probably not admit that their vocation falls into the "overpaid jobs" category, nor will they tell you that they actually perform little work for their high pay, except for the readers at Stanleybing.com. According to the web site, workers in overpaid jobs (or "bullsh*t jobs" as they are called on the site) sent in descriptions of their duties and career salaries. From a huge list of careers and high salary ranges, the web site picked 20 overpaid jobs that “are the most satisfying, lucrative and least useful.”

    The first one listed is Communications Manager, which sounds pretty respectable to me.  According to our PayScale Research Center, a Communications Manager earns a median salary of $70,819 in San Francisco. According to a Communications Manager on Stanleybing.com, his/her job is to "write e-mails, memos and articles for senior management that their employees have no interest in reading. Oh, and through these written communications, we're supposed to inform and engage employees so that they're proud of the company they work for."

    How does your salary compare to this first of many overpaid jobs?  Check it out with our salary calculator.

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  • Misleading Average Salary Predictions: Your Pay Will Increase 3.6 Percent in 2007

    World at Work (the compensation professional organization) released recently a compensation budget survey by Compdata Surveys. The big news: the average preliminary pay increase budget is 3.65% for 2007!

    Broad averages like this drive me berserk. It is incredibly precise, but downplays the huge variations that affect individual companies and employees.

    There is nothing wrong with this average per se. The problem is how it is used. Companies often use average increases like this as a starting point for deciding what pay raises they will give individual employees.

    However, like pay, pay increases are determined by the interaction between the local labor market for specific jobs, individual employees' motivations, and a company's business plan. These microeconomic forces dramatically alter the pay increases a company will need to spend, in order to succeed, from what broad macroeconomic averages say.

    Companies are free to set pay increases by these broad averages. That is a business management decision. Of course, companies are also free to fail. :-)

    Local variations are what make capitalism fun. In this post, I will look at what data is available, and what forces drive salary increases.

    Are you making the most of microeconomic forces to earn what you are worth? Find out in a less than 5 minutes with the PayScale salary survey.

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  • Majors and Careers: Women vs. Men, Engineering vs. Teaching, High Pay vs. Total Compensation

    By Dr. Al Lee

    In a previous post, I asked the question, do only women choose quality of life over high salary? In other words, do women evaluate quality of life, or true "total compensation," when deciding on a job, while guys are stuck on a treadmill with only one measure of success, total wages earned?

    I found three obvious differences between American men and women in the AAUW study, "Behind the Pay Gap," all of which hint at women preferring quality of life over money:

    1. Men do not go to college
    2. Women do not choose majors or careers to maximize income
    3. Women are more likely to leave the workforce to care for children

    I covered the first point in the previous post. In this post, let's look at what the AAUW study has to say about differences in choice of majors and careers between men and women.

    Are you earning all you can in your chosen career? Compare your pay with the PayScale salary survey.

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  • Salary Comparison: Married vs. Unmarried

    Within the U.S. armed forces, married soldiers are paid a higher annual salary than military singles. This salary comparison hasn’t gone unnoticed by military singles who are marrying strangers in order to get a higher salary, according to a recent report by LAWeekly.com. It’s called a “marriage contract” and it works like this: military singles seek strangers to marry, soldier marries stranger (i.e. contract wife), receives extra pay for being married and pays off contract wife with a portion of extra pay.

    According to LAWeekly.com, an unmarried private in the Army earns a monthly salary of about $1,350. However, if he gets married, his monthly salary increases to about $1,800. If he is deployed, our married soldier will also receive a “Family Separation Allowance” of $250, or as it’s called in the service, “missing me” pay.

    Thanks to these contract arrangements and the military pay chart, married enlisted definitely earn more than military singles. What about a salary comparison in civilian life? Are you likely to earn a higher salary if you’re married?

    How does your and your spouse's salary compare? Do a salary comparison with our salary calculator.

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  • Salary Requirements for H-1B Visa: Pros and Cons of H-1B

    Marketwatch.com recently reported that Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, appeared in front of Congress, which was weighing the pros and cons of H-1B workers. Gates advocated more H-1B visas to lure foreign workers to the U.S. because these "workers are uniquely talented" and are “taking jobs that pay over $100,000 a year.” According to the New York Times, the Microsoft median annual salary is $82,500 for new H-1B work visa applicants. A Microsoft H-1B work visa holder, after a few years, could earn $100,000/year. This far exceeds the typical salary requirements for H-1B visa holders.

    By law, the salary requirements for H-1B visa holders call for their pay to be "equal to 100% of the prevailing wage as established by the Department of Labor, or the actual wage paid by the employer to similar employees." However, $82K-100K is not usually the H-1B salary in IT jobs, according to a study by Ronil Hira, an assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Hira says the median salary is about $50K for new H-1B work visa holders in IT. As mentioned on workinglife.typepad.com, Hira also believes that the real problems go far beyond salary minimums for H-1B visa holders.

    How does your salary compare to the salary requirements for H-1B visa holders? Find out with our salary calculator.

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  • Reader Questions: Salary, Non-Exempt and Paying for Training

    I had a couple of questions from readers on my post about exempt vs. non-exempt workers:

    Anthony asked:

    "What do you know about the labor laws for hours spent training employees? When are we required to pay or not pay for hours spent at training?"

    Matt asked:

    "Can you explain the "salary non-exempt" designation? How does it differ from straight salary and from hourly non-exempt status? Your knowledge would be very useful."

    In this post, I'll try to answer these questions.

    Does you employer pay you like a trainee or a fully qualified employee? Use our salary survey to find out.

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