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  • Salary Increases in the News

    There were salary increases in the news recently when KCRA.com (and other media) reported that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to raise salaries for top state administrators. Why were these salary increases in the news so often?  Because California is expected to experience a shortfall of more than $726 million in its 2007-08 budget, some claim there is no justification for the special salary increases. The Governor insists the pay raises are necessary to stay competitive with the private sector, as well as state and local agencies’ salaries.

    According to the LATimes.com, the Governor's justification for the special salary increases was based upon a salary survey conducted by a state government agency. Subsequently, cabinet secretaries will receive up to a 22.7% pay raise and department directors will see their salaries increase up to 12.2%. The largest pay raise will go to the director of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Ruben Grijalva. His salary will jump from $133,732 to $169,500, about a 27% pay increase. Is this an average salary increase or outrageous pork spending?

    How would your salary look with a 27% increase? Crunch the numbers with our salary survey.

  • Do Women and Men Earn Equal Pay in 2007?

    Do women and men earn equal pay? I blogged some about this last year, but the gender gap in wage earnings was in the spotlight again when kgw.com (and other media) reported that five restaurant owners in Oregon plan to drop their prices for female customers by 23 cents. The restaurants want to raise awareness about women earning 23 percent less than men in the workplace.

    The American Association of American Women, which is sponsoring the event, says that when the new prices go into effect, 23 percent of the 2007 will have passed, thus, that's the number of extra days women will have to work in 2007 to catch up with men.

    Likewise, as reported on nysun.com, Senator Hillary Clinton is pushing the "Paycheck Fairness Act," a bill that would intensify anti-discrimination laws, create a negotiation skills training program for women and stop retaliation against employees who disclose their salaries. Sen. Clinton also says that women make 77 percent of what men earn (or 23 percent less). Is that number accurate? Do women and men earn equal pay? Is this a case of comparable pay versus equal pay?

    How would earning 77 cents on the dollar affect your salary?  Find out with our salary calculator.

  • NFL Sporting News: NFL Injuries

    Most reports of NFL injuries (as mentioned on chillicothegazette.com) rarely make it beyond NFL Sporting News, but recently reader Vanessa C. Deggins found a New York Times article about NFL injuries that was shocking. The article focused on two wives who are caring for their husbands, John Mackey and Ralph Wenzel, both of whom suffer from dementia because of NFL injuries. I covered today's large pro football salaries in an earlier post, but what of players who didn't earn millions and find themselves in need to cover medical bills?

    A gridiron great from the '60's and '70's, John Mackey was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, a member of the Super Bowl V Champion Colts and played for the San Diego Charges. However, today, Mackey doesn’t recall much of his career, or even his fellow Charger teammate Ralph Wenzel - who doesn’t recall Mackey. What help do these former stars of yester-year have?

    Would your annual salary support you in a time of need? Find out with our salary survey.

  • NASCAR Drivers Salaries

    Most people know that the National Football League (NFL) is the most popular sport on TV, but it may raise a few eyebrows to hear that the second highest-rated sport is NASCAR --the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. No longer just a heartland sport, NASCAR is broadcast in over 150 countries. With all this television coverage come the big money and high annual salaries. Unlike NFL salaries, however, NASCAR drivers salaries are closely-guarded secrets (as mentioned on blog.vcu.edu/nascar).

    That said, we do have some info on NASCAR drivers salaries, thanks to SportsIllustrated.cnn.com. SI says the highest-paid driver in 2005 was Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose annual salary and earnings totaled $5,761,830, but that's not all. His endorsements earned $20,000,000, bringing his sub-total compensation to $25,761,830. That number doesn't include sales of Dale Earnhardt Jr. merchandise and earnings from the racing company that he owns. SI says his total take in '05 would approach $50 million!

    The second $25 million is really for his role as a business owner, not directly for Dale Jr.'s work as a race car driver. While there are substantial risks to racing (Dale Sr. died on the race track), the pay is still impressive.

    Can your salary compete with NASCAR's drivers salaries? Give it a spin with our salary calculator.

  • Tips for getting a Pay Raise: PayScale Salary Survey

    For readers interested in tips for getting a pay raise, Lifehacker.com recently mentioned how some employees are using web sites such as Payscale.com (and its salary survey) to overcome pay raise objections; as mentioned in the following New York Times article at nytimes.com:

    Jessica Morrison, who wrote advertising copy for Drugstore.com in Seattle, was one of those.  After five years at the company and several promotions, her title was associate editor even though she had the same duties as a copywriter, a loftier title. She also suspected that at $42,000 a year, she was paid a lot less than someone else with her duties. She checked PayScale, and its free report that compares her pay with others holding a similar job title said that someone with her experience should be making $50,000 to $60,000.

    Then she went to see her manager. “I was a little nervous going in, but I had done my research,” Ms. Morrison, 27, said. She got the title she wanted and a raise to within the pay range she suggested. “If I had gone in without the information, the conversation would have been, ‘I feel like I am not making enough money,’ ” Ms. Morrison said.

    Online salary surveys enable employees and employers to switch pay discussions from arguments over positions to negotiations with objective criteria, in the spirit of the negotiation bible, "Getting to Yes". Let's look at some interesting anecdotal evidence that this is really starting to happen.

    Do you need some tips for getting a pay raise? Here’s a free one, try our salary survey.

  • Cons of a Working Mom: Sick Children and Work

    Working Mother Magazine recently conducted a survey and found that one of the cons of a working mom is being faced with the choice of missing work and staying home with a sick child, or sending the ill child to school or daycare. The survey reports that one in three mothers have sent their sick child to childcare or school. In an earlier column, I touched on the proposed paid sick leave law sponsored by Sen. Christopher Dodd which would provide 6 paid weeks, out of the 12 unpaid weeks that FMLA currently mandates for certain employers.

    Until that paid sick leave law (or one like it) passes, choosing between caring for a sick child or going to work will continue to be a one of the cons of a working mom (as echoed by our very own Job Mom). Of the working moms surveyed by Working Mother Magazine, 70% felt guilty for sending their child to school or daycare while ill, 48.5% felt stressed and 31.2% felt frustrated. Almost 65% of the moms said that when one family member gets sick, other family members are likely to follow. There was one bright spot, 54% say they have some flexibility to work from home.

    How much work could you miss if your child got sick?  Estimate the cost with our salary survey.

  • No College Required: UPS Drivers Salaries and More

    The route to financial success - I won't even attempt to say what it takes to have a successful life in general - does not have to pass through college. Billionaire media mogul David Geffen went from high school graduate to talent agent assistant, talent agent, owner of two record companies (Asylum and Geffen Records), and later, to co-founding Dreamworks movie studio with fellow non-college attendee Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Steven Spielberg, who dropped out of college.

    While Geffen, Katzenberg and Spielberg are exceptions, there are options for young people who choose to skip college. One career choice would be working for UPS. If you enjoy driving, sitting and light lifting, UPS drivers’ salaries are typically are $24.69 an hour, per the UPS web site at pressroom.ups.com; which also states, "UPS drivers (and part-time employees) receive full health benefits including medical, dental and eye care."

    Does your salary deliver as well as UPS drivers’ salaries? Check your financial engine with our salary calculator.

  • Veterinarian Salary, Marine Biologist Salary: Careers in Animal Care

    If you're the type who cringes at corporate meetings, loathes dealing with clients and would prefer to avoid humans in general, fear not, there is an option besides hermit-hood. The article "Ten Jobs That Let You work With Animals" from jobs.aol lists various animal careers and what they pay, from a marine biologist salary to a veterinarian salary.

    If you're considering a veterinarian career (and veterinarian salary), there is extra schooling required, and once you graduate, the job duties for a veterinarian include diagnosing and treating animals for injuries and disease... so what is the salary of a veterinarian for all this work?  Veterinarians in Houston, Texas, with 5-8 years of experience, earn an average veterinarian salary of $79,100, with a high-end of $113,200. Not quite MD level ($152,000 - $186,500 per year), but nothing to bark at.

    How does your salary compare to the Dr. Dolittle’s?  Find out with our salary survey.

  • Jobs for College Students, Average Job Salaries?

    In an earlier post, we looked at some of the college graduate starting salaries awaiting students once they get out of college, but what about wages while they're in school?  Jobs for college students and pay are a hot topic at UCLA, where student workers are trying to join a union, AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees). Since 2002, the union has represented close to 5,000 non-student workers at UCLA, from custodial engineers to food workers. As a result, average job salaries tend to be higher for non-student workers than for students.

    When it comes to jobs for college students, UCLA students say that they earn $1.39 less, in starting wages, than non-student workers. Students also reportedly receive up to $2.50 per day for a meal, but non-student workers are given a free meal. Most UCLA food employees have a starting wage of $8.75, but some students claim they start at an hourly wage of $8.25. If we look at a food service worker in Los Angeles (off-campus), with less than a year of experience, their average wage is $9.34 per hour.  This may be a growing trend, as the battle over college jobs extends to many universities.

    How does your profession compare to jobs for college students?  Find out with our salary calculator.

  • 1993 Family Leave and Medical Act Revised: Paid Family Leave?

    Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Connecticut, who wrote the 1993 Family Leave and Medical Act (as mentioned on workforce.com), wants to change the FMLA guidelines. Sen. Dodd recently announced that he wants to pass a new bill to provide six weeks of paid leave for employees. Currently, FMLA provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family or medical needs.

    Since the FMLA went into effect back in 1993, an estimated 50 million people have taken time off work for the adoption or birth of a child, or to care for an ill family member or themselves, but the downside for employees is that the 12 weeks of leave do not include wages. Sen. Dodd theorizes that many people do not utilize the FMLA because of the loss of wages, but believes people would if they were paid during family leave.

    Going 12 weeks without a paycheck is not easy. See if you are earning what you worth with our salary calculator.

  • Starting Salaries: College Grads

    My son is a high school senior, so the angst is rising about applying to colleges, wondering about majors, and, generally, life choices. This got me thinking: what does the PayScale salary data tell us about colleges, majors, careers, and income? It turns out that the PayScale data has a lot to say.

    Of course, our data are about price, not value: how much people are paid to follow a given path, not whether that life is worth living. Yes, a chemical engineering major will receive a higher starting salary than a philosophy major. Whether the pay is worth ruining one's college years is not something PayScale data can answer :-)

    In this post, I'll look at the obvious: what college majors lead to the highest pay straight out of school. Future posts will cover pay for majors 10 and 20 years out, differences between colleges - is the Ivy League worth the money? - and other interesting factoids, like that the chairman of PayScale, and CEO of Drugstrore.com, both were music majors at small liberal arts colleges.

    How does your salary rank among engineers and the rest? Find out with our salary calculator.

  • Salary of Childcare Services

    One of the hot topics mentioned these days at blogs.wsj.com/juggle is the salary of childcare services, particularly babysitter services. One of the working moms recently blogged: “Many parents know the frustration of paying a babysitter nearly $15 an hour to watch TV… if parents want a night out, the cost can start at $45 even before setting foot out the door.” Is the average salary of childcare workers, including babysitters, getting out of hand? Granted, most babysitters have not graduated high school, but they are still responsible for your child's life for a few hours.

    For babysitters in Columbus, Ohio, babysitter pay averages out at $7.00 per hour, with a high end of $8.50. Let’s compare the pay rate of those who care for your child to those who care for your car. A beginning auto mechanic salary in Columbus, Ohio, is $12.75 an hour, with a high-end of $19.00, assuming the mechanic and the babysitter each have 1-4 years of experience. The average salary of childcare providers does catch up some, if they are full-time nannies or au pairs: hourly pay is $9.00 an hour with a potential of $14.00 per hour in Columbus.

    Is your salary reaching its full potential? Get the latest facts with our salary calculator.

  • Summer 2007 Internships

    Some college graduates can expect a high annual salary the moment they graduate, while others are looking at food stamps, by choice. These college students are not taking a vow of poverty, but rather one of internship. According to CSMonitor.com’s recent article on summer 2007 internships, more and more college students in competitive fields are willingly foregoing lucrative jobs in order to endure their full-time internships, which they believe will in the end land them the job and annual salary they seek.

    While some summer 2007 internships will pay wages, particularly in engineering or computer programming (more than $25 per hour), many internships are unpaid. Industries such as publishing, TV and politics are well known for no pay or low-paying internships. Because there are so many people that want to work in these fields, these industries will have no problem finding students to work for free in summer 2007 internships.

    If you took one of these summer 2007 internships, would your salary get you through? Find out with our salary calculator.

  • Wage and Salary Laws: Arizona Minimum Wage Rate

    In November of 2006, voters were given a chance to raise the Arizona minimum wage rate to $6.75 per hour, a more modest version of the living wage movement. This hike in wage and salary laws was sponsored by unions, along with the Arizona chapter of ACORN, a labor activist organization. As reported by tucsoncitizen.com, even 2008 Presidential Candidate John Edwards made a stop in Tucson to push for a change in Arizona's wage and salary laws. Technically speaking, there was no Arizona minimum wage rate. The federal minimum wage ($5.15 per hour) was the state’s default wage, meaning a full-time minimum wage earner brought home only $10,712/year.

    When the votes were counted, 66% of the voters passed the Arizona minimum wage proposition (Prop 202) and established the state’s new minimum wage, which went into effect on January 1, 2007. Since the wage and salary laws have changed, maybe it's time to ask, were the doomsayers right and jobs were lost, or were the activists right and the poor benefited?

    How is your salary so far in 2007? Find out with our salary survey.

  • Average College Grad Income: Class of 2007

    The average college grad income for 2007 graduates is looking bright, according to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal. The financial bible cites a new survey released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) which says the average college grad income is predicted to increase by 4.6%. In another survey by NACE, college recruiting is intensifying, so much so that businesses will reportedly be hiring 17% more graduates from 2007 than in the previous year.

    Leading the pack of recruiters is the accounting and consulting firm Deloitte & Touche. According to Diane Borhani, head of U.S. campus recruiting, the firm is recruiting college grads, lots of them, close to 3,300 seniors, up from less than 3,100 in 2006. As part of its college grad job search, the firm has raised starting salaries and that dangling carrot known as the signing bonus. Borhani says that U.S. starting salaries (base) have increased around 5%, boosting the average college grad income to the 60K range – in certain jobs for recent college grads. 

    How does your salary compare to the average college grad income? Do your homework with our salary calculator.

  • Dream Job Description: What Is yours?

    “If you find a job you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life." I don't remember where I heard this first, but I think Confucius said the same thing centuries ago. Yet, according a recent survey by CareerBuilder.com and the Walt Disney Corporation, very few Americans are actually living their dream job. In this co-sponsored survey, a whopping 84 percent of those responding said they were not working their dream job description (as reported on msnbc.msn.com).

    Which people were living their dream job description? 35 percent of police and firefighters say they are living their dream jobs. Further down the list, 32 percent of teachers, 28 percent of real estate agents and 25 percent of engineers claim to be living their dream job description.

    By contrast, only 9 percent of those working in food /hotel services/manufacturing and 10 percent in retail are living their dream job. More surprisingly, a dream job description is rarely based on an annual salary, only 12 percent in the survey ranked high salary as an important requirement of a dream job.

    Is salary important to your dream job? Find out how yours compares with our 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!

  • Salary Information: Economic Recovery for Whom?

    President Ronald Reagan once asked, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Today, one might ask, “Is your annual salary better off in this economic recovery than in previous recoveries?” Aviva Aron-Dine and Isaac Shapiro of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities at cbpp.org recently analyzed salary information from the U.S. Commerce Department and concluded that wages and salaries have increased at a 1.7% average annual rate (adjusting for inflation) during the current economic recovery. They compared this salary information to previous economic recoveries (post-World War II) when workers’ wages and salaries increased at an average annual rate of 3.7%.

    Aron-Dine and Shapiro also compared this salary information to corporate profits. During the present economic recovery, they found that profits for corporations have risen at an average annual rate of 13.7%, higher than previous economic recoveries (post-World War II) when corporations' profits had an average annual growth rate of 7.9%. They conclude that “the share of national income captured by corporate profits… is at its highest level since 1950,” while “the share of national income going to wages and salaries remains at the lowest level on record (going back to 1929).” 

    How has your annual salary grown during the current recovery? Want to try a salary comparison? Take our salary survey.

  • Rating Charities: Is Microsoft a More Successful Charity Than Care USA?

    What I thought was an innocuous comment about a corporate leader focusing on something other than his personal bottom line generated a heated response from a reader.

    I was glad to learn I have at least one reader :-)

    Delia's objections are that craigslist is not legally a non-profit and does not report its finances, which is perfectly legal for a private for-profit company. Craig Newmark's claims of philanthropy and poverty could just be a ploy to maximize his lifetime average annual salary and total income.

    While I cannot speak for Craig's inner motivations, or his annual salary, this got me thinking about when a for-profit company is really a successful charity. For today, I'm going to go a little off my usual topics of annual salary and statistics, and look at rating charities: if your goal in life is to do charitable works, would you be more effective at a for-profit company or non-profit?

    To make the question concrete, rated as charities, which is a more successful charity: the non-profit CARE USA, or that rapacious monopolist, Microsoft?

    Charity begins at home :-) Find out with our salary calculator whether you are earning all you can.

  • President's Day: Executive Stock Compensation Rates

    President Bush raised a few eyebrows recently when he scolded some of the lavish executive compensation packages (as reported by MSNBC.com). In honor of President's Day, let's look at some of the more well known Presidents, CEOs and their executive stock compensation rates, starting with the Chairman of Apple - Steve Jobs. For several years now, Steve Jobs has drawn a measly executive annual salary of $1. However, Jobs fares far better in the area of executive stock compensation rates (even with the backdating controversy).

    In March 2003, Jobs was compensated with 10 million restricted shares of Apple stock. In 2006, Jobs sold 45 percent of his Apple stock for $295 million. His executive stock compensation rates didn’t stop there. He cashed in again when Pixar Animation Studios was sold to Disney. Admittedly, Jobs was not just CEO at Pixar, but also founder. Recent articles on executive compensation in Forbes.com placed Jobs' net wealth at $4.4 billion. Backdating controversies aside, executive compensation packages, and starting 3 companies, have been good to Steve Jobs.

    How does your salary compare to Steve Jobs executive annual salary of $1?  Find out with our salary calculator.