• Salaries of Pro Athletes: The David Beckham Salary

    I've previously blogged about the salaries of pro athletes. It's hard to ignore the 24/7 hype surrounding the British soccer star David Beckham and his reported $250 million dollar pay day. He is playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team, which hopes the Euro footballer can create excitement for a sport that never quite caught on in the U.S.

    The question is, how much is Beckham actually earning in annual salary? Will he really earn $250 million in compensation?

    As reported by the Houston Chronicle, Beckham's annual salary will be $5.5 million a year (plus another unspecified million) for the next five years. Does this join the ranks of overpaid professional athletes' salaries? Major League Soccer (MSL) player salaries normally cap at $2.4 million, but the new "Beckham Rule" allows for exceptions of certain professional athletes' high salaries. According to the Washington Post, the average soccer player salary in the MSL is $115,432; about 30 percent of the MSL players are under developmental contracts and earn $17,700 or $12,900.

    How does your salary compare to average professional sports salaries?  Find out with our salary survey.

  • Oil and Gas Geologist Jobs: Striking It Rich

    With gas prices going through the roof over the past year, you might think the only ones doing well in the petro industry were oil company executives, but oil and gas geologist jobs are also bringing in strong annual salaries, according to a recent report by the Houston Chronicle. The oil biz has been struggling with the problem of older workers and a lack of younger recruits. Since supply is not meeting demand, many oil field jobs are paying more than in previous years.

    A recently released study by the University of Houston and the Boyden executive search firm stated that the median salary of a petroleum geologist (with 10 years experience) has increased 23 percent over the past three years, going from $107,500 (2004) to $132,132 (2006). But it's not just the oil and gas geologist jobs; oil drilling rig jobs have hit a gusher, increasing from $36,000 to $58,000 during the same three years. Some oil companies are even paying sign-on bonuses (up to $15,000) to entry-level geologists with master's degrees.

    Has your salary struck oil? Find out with our salary calculator.

  • Ebusiness Trends in Job Hunting

    The other day I overheard a woman in a coffee shop calling "help wanted" ads out of the newspaper with her cell phone.  I could only hear what was said on her end, but it wasn't promising:  "Umm, no, I don't have a resume."  "I don't know what speed I can type." It was probably not one of the better executive administrative assistant job searches. Most people are better prepared than she was (I hope), but may still have a hard time finding employment and/or dealing with job hunting frustrations.

    Forbes.com recently covered some ebusiness trends in job hunting and suggested ways to boost a flagging job search. Most jobs are not filled through classified ads, but through networking. Like it or not, it's who you know, or who you just met. Some executive job coaches recommend three to five networking meetings weekly. Just like dating, job hunting and successful internet job searches are often a numbers game.

    Would your salary last if you were job hunting for over a year?  Find out with the PayScale's full salary survey.

  • University Faculty and President Salaries: In the News

    Faculty salaries at colleges and universities have been in the news quite a bit. As reported by PennLive.com, Penn State University is refusing to disclose university salaries, including the college coach salary of Joe Paterno. The salary information was requested by The Patriot-News, but Penn state has historically kept university salaries private. The school says that releasing salary information could result in "bidding wars" for their top coaches and teachers.

    However, the Patriot-News claims that the salary information is part of the public accountability of Penn State - Pennsylvania's largest university and supported by taxpayers. The newspaper had won a lower court decision in 2005, but Penn State is now appealing to the state's highest court. In their appeal, Penn State says that its employees' constitutional privacy rights are more important than its obligations as a public taxpayer-funded agency.

    Is your salary worthy of secrecy? (Whisper: Find out with our salary calculator.)

  • What are the top jobs in television broadcasting?

    What are the top jobs in television broadcasting? According to a recent report, Rupert Murdoch the chairman and chief executive of News Corp., may have the best gig of all. This fiscal year he earned a total compensation valued at $24.3 million, per an analysis of a recent regulatory filing. Of that $24.3 million, $8.1 million was Murdoch's salary, an increase of $3.6 million from last year.

    The 76-year-old Murdoch also received a $15.8 million bonus and additional compensation of $356,175.  This reportedly consisted of $337,427 in personal use of the company aircraft, $11,998 in personal use of company cars and $6,750 in retirement plan payments (err, does he really need a retirement plan?). How did others in News Corp. do in this broadcasting salary survey? Keep reading!

    What are the top jobs in television broadcasting?  How do they compare against your salary?  Find out with PayScale's full salary survey.

  • Median vs. Mean Lawyer Salaries: Is Law School Worth It?

    A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), "Hard Case: Job Market Wanes for U.S. Lawyers", reported on the large number of law school graduates suffering under large debt with surprisingly low salary prospects.

    If only these prospective law students had been reading this blog. They would have understood the difference between median and mean, and that only 10% of students can be in the 90th percentile of salaries :-)

    While the Wall Street Journal focused on the somewhat misleading marketing done by second tier law schools, in truth there is plenty of data available, e.g., from PayScale's research center, on just how low the typical median starting lawyer salaries are.

    In this post, I'll look at lawyers salaries: the top, the bottom, and the middle. Yes, for specific skill sets and employers, the attorney salaries are still good. That pay just is not the typical (median) law student's experience.

    Is your salary above or below the median for people like you? Find out with the PayScale Salary Calculator.

  • The 25 Best Paying Careers.. and the Worst

    Forbes announced its annual list of the 25 best paying careers and the worst. Forbes drew info from the U.S. government's National, State and Metropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. This 2006 data was based on a national survey of employers of various sizes, industries and occupations.

    I am very familiar with these government estimates. The government does a great job with the broad forces at work (macro economics) in employment and compensation. It is a little funny that Forbes uses the government defined occupations, because the sizes of the ~800 occupations vary widely. For example, both Mine Shuttle Car Operators with 3,000 workers nation-wide and Sales Representatives with 1.5 million are "occupations".

    Not surprisingly, top paying jobs in the medical field dominate the list of careers. According to Forbes, anesthesiologists had a salary increase of 5.8%. If we take a look at our PayScale research center, anesthesiologist salaries in major cities are north of $200,000; not bad for knocking someone out.

    What about the worst paying jobs? Food preparation and serving workers top that lowly list of careers. According to Forbes, there was a 2.4% increase in these salaries, bringing the average salary of a food preparation and serving worker up to $15,930.

    Is your salary one of the best paying careers, or one of the worst?  Find out with our salary survey.

  • Real Wages Fail To Match A Rise In Productivity

    Real wages fail to match a rise in productivity, that is the conclusion in a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute (as reported on Money.CNN.com). According to the study, productivity has been strong since 2000, employment has increased, but this economic growth hasn't helped workers at the middle and lower end salary ranges.

    The study says that worker productivity has increased nearly 20% since 2000, but the real median hourly wage of all workers rose only 3%. The study goes on to state that worker productivity has risen 5%, since 2003, but the median hourly wage has decreased 1.1%. It's not all bad news, women have seen a rise in wages of 4.7% between 2000 and 2007, but real median wages for men rose just 1.1%.

    How high has your salary risen? Find out with our easy-to-use salary survey .

  • Communication Rules in the Workplace: Secret Salaries?

    At PayScale, workers and employees from across the country and the world share their salaries with us. We tabulate this information from our salary survey to produce information people can use to determine whether they are paid fairly. Of course, we keep identities secret, only reporting anonymous and aggregate compensation data.

    However, as money.cnn.com recently reported, it can be dicey for employees in the same office to share information on salary and payment among themselves. Salary information discussions can be a touchier subject than politics or religion.

    Some employment contracts even have communication rules that forbid their employees from sharing information on salary and benefits.

    In this post, I'll look at whether these are rules legal in the US, how employees go about finding salary information from their co-workers, and what the experts say about sharing information on salary and wages in the workplace, by both employees and employers.

    Here is a hint: the easy way to find out if you're being paid what you're worth, and avoid the office politics, is to use the PayScale salary calculator.

  • Teacher Incentive Pay and Merit Pay

    by Dr. Al Lee

    Teacher merit pay and accountability has rarely gotten high grades from teachers in the past, especially with teachers' unions, but when a teacher incentive pay and merit pay was suggested in Minnesota classrooms back in 2007, according to The New York Times, teachers there showed a surprising display of cooperation. The teacher's union there worked with Republican governor Tim Pawlenty to compensate teachers partly on their performance in the classroom.

    The plan for teacher incentive pay and merit pay involved teachers working with mentors to improve their teaching abilities and also receiving bonuses when their students improve. Minnesota's $86 million teacher "professionalization and merit pay initiative" included dozens of Minnesota school districts. During that time, teachers voted to bring teacher incentive pay and merit pay to Minneapolis. Have other states jumped on this public school merit and performance pay bandwagon?

    Does your salary merit an increase? Find out with our salary calculator.

  • Tips To Have A Good Job Interview in High-Tech

    Most of us are familiar with the typical job interview question and answer routine. You're asked about your experience, skills and responsiblities in prior positions. But for those interested in working in a high tech job at Microsoft or Google, don't expect the typical interview questions, but rather some odd brainteasers, according to CNNMoney.com's tips to have a good job interview in high tech.

    Let's say you want to be a coder, well, you may be asked non-computer questions such as, "How many golf balls could you place inside a school bus?"  "How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?" Or, "why are manhole covers round, instead of square?"  High tech companies like Google aren't so interested in the correct answer, but rather how you might try to solve it.

    Here's a brainteaser, are you being paid what you're worth?  Find out with the PayScale Salary Calculator (don't worry, we do the math for you)

  • 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 30s, 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. :-)

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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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