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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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!

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Valentine Ideas: Salary Survey

    As Valentine’s Day approaches, love and other unrealistic expectations fill the air, but what about romantic sweet talk of salaries, or at least a salary survey? There is a huge cottage industry out there dealing in love, or the promise of it. There are numerous dating web sites, dating experts (one is featured in Salary Stories) and professional matchmakers. They are quite different from the one you may recall in Fiddler on the Roof. These pros are armed with computer databases and PR campaigns.

    A high-end matchmaker is almost like a human resources recruiter. He or she will interview clients, screen potential partners and arrange several interviews, err, introductions, and may even do a salary survey of possible wealthy mates, like this list from law.usc.edu.  According to money.cnn.com, a matchmaker's salary range depends on the fees, which reportedly can range from $3K to $30K per year, or even $50K for a media campaign in multiple cities to find "the one." Employees of matchmaking firms may earn six-figures, if their annual salary is combined with commission.

    How is your relationship with your salary?  Is the magic still there?  Find out with our salary survey.

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  • Salary Range: Human Resources

    Most children don’t dream of someday working in human resources, well, except maybe the precocious kids at HR.com. “Payroll administration,” “team-building games,” and “benefit guidelines” are not the most spine-tingling phrases in a job description. Still, there’s no denying that HR is with us for the long haul and is a growing career field.

    As the human resource job market grows, it is giving birth to an array of sub-specialties such as Payroll Administrator, HR Manager, Recruiter, Hiring Manager, Benefits Administrator, Corporate Trainer, Leadership Coach, HR Generalist, Vice President of Human Resources, and, my favorite, Compensation Analyst; the list goes on and on. For those who are seeking employment, the HR professional is usually the first person you must win over.

    We all have a horror story or embarrassing job interview. A 30-something friend of a friend once interviewed to be an assistant for Oscar-winning actress Diane Keaton. To his great surprise, the person interviewing him was Keaton’s then-current assistant: a teenager who had recently graduated from high school and was leaving to go to college. There’s nothing more awkward than being interviewed by someone half your age and having to impress them.

    How does your salary look these days? Is it worthy of an Oscar, or a Raspberry? Check it out with our salary calculator.

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  • Federal Judges' Annual Salary: Constitutional Crisis

    In his second annual report, Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts advocated an increase in federal judges’ annual salary, as reported on scotusblog.com. Roberts warned that federal judges’ annual salary “has now reached the level of a constitutional crisis that threatens to undermine the strength and independence of the federal judiciary.” Pretty strong words, but does he have a case? Is the federal judges’ annual salary actually smaller than a Baltimore SUV accident lawyer, Ohio crime defense lawyer, or even AZ administrative law judges?

    Justice Roberts says that since 1969 the national average wage rate has risen by 17.8 percent, while the average salary for federal judges has dropped by 23.9 percent. Roberts claimed that because of this “dramatic erosion of judicial compensation” it was “clear that the time is ripe for our nation’s judges to receive a substantial salary increase.” According to Roberts, the failure to increase the federal judges’ annual salary lies at the feet of Congress.

    How does your annual salary stand up in court? Get the judgment with our salary calculator.

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  • Where The Hell is Matt - How A Video Game Designer Salary Becomes A Trip Around The World

    Still in his 20's, Internet-celeb Matt Harding, creator of the where the hell is matt Web site has had an interesting career path that included him taking two major trips around the world. Not too many people go from video game store sales clerk to video game designer and eventually to world traveler and online video dancing sensation.

    In a recent PayScale Salary Story, Matt recalled his path from high school to traveling around the world. This trip is what resulted in the original where the hell is matt dancing video.

    Does your job have the potential to pay as much as a video game designer salary, so you could travel the world too? Take our salary survey to find out.

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  • Hourly Wage vs. Salary, Exempt vs. Non-Exempt

    Post by Dr. Al Lee, Payscale.com

    Most people in the US work force have the heard the terms “exempt” and “non-exempt,” but what do they mean? While many web sites talk about pay rate, there is not a whole lot of explanation regarding exempt and non-exempt status.

    While I am not a lawyer, or even an HR specialist, I am an employee, and also hopelessly curious about all things related to pay and employment. The basic law is that employers are required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to classify their employees as either exempt or non-exempt.

    The more I read about the meaning of "exempt" vs. "non-exempt", the more a lyric of the Paul Simon song "Train in the Distance" goes through my head, "...with disagreements about the meaning of a marriage contract, conversations hard and wild." Like a marriage, in the US an employee/employer relationship is governed by a little law, and a lot of social convention. Since much is not written down, misunderstandings are common.

    Before we delve into the details, why not check out where your salary fits into all of this controversy?  Find out with our ever-handy salary calculator.

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  • High Annual Salary: Blue Collar Jobs

    For workers who would rather wear steel-tipped boots instead of a three-piece suit, the salary outlook doesn't have to be low; some blue-collar jobs have a surprisingly high salary range. These high paying jobs don't require a college degree, but often do involve specialized training. So if you like to get your hands dirty, you can still earn a high annual salary.

    Certain mechanics, equipment operators and installers are actually earning a larger annual salary than the typical American. According to the Census Bureau, the U.S. median income is $43,318. With that in mind, Forbes.com says that the average salary for the top ten blue-collar jobs is a little above $27 per hour. By calculating hourly wage to annual salary, we find the following: if a blue-collar worker makes $27 an hour, works 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, then his or her annual salary is in the area of $56,160, which is 30% above the average Joe.

    Is your salary on schedule with blue-collar workers? Clock in with our salary calculator.

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  • Hourly Wage: Santa Claus

    Post by Dr. Al Lee, Payscale

    One of the more unique jobs out there is working as a Santa Claus. The job requirements include a sizeable tummy, a real beard (fake ones are out) and a convincing “ho-ho-ho.” While it may sound like holiday heresy to mention "Santa" and "salary" in the same breath, you might be surprised to learn that Santas can earn a high hourly wage for bringing joy to little kids and big kids alike.

    A beginning Santa can earn an hourly wage of $100, while veteran Santas can earn an average wage of $175 to $200 per hour. The really big pay rate comes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; that's when these Kris Kringles can earn wages of $175 to $200 for their first hour of work, and $100 to $300 for every hour after that.

    If a Santa works 40 days during the holiday season, he can ring in the New Year with $8,000 to $10,000 in total wages. The big money is reportedly in private and corporate events, that’s where Santa’s wishes come true. Of course, there are some expenses, namely, the red suit, boots and belt which can put Santa out $500 to $1000 bucks. However, earning $10,000 in a little more than month is good money, especially for retirees.

    Is your salary a holiday gift or a nightmare?  Find out with our Santa, err, salary calculator.

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  • Salary Range: Low Start, High Finish

    In the marketplace, there are the jobs that start off at the bottom and stay there, but there are also opportunities that start at the bottom and reap great rewards later (no, we're not talking about the lottery!). One of those vocational opportunities is working as a stockbroker, which is the centerpiece of the holiday film The Pursuit of Happyness.

    Unlike the typical good date movies that open during the holidays, Will Smith plays a homeless man (with son in tow) who takes a job as an intern at Dean Witter with hopes of working his way up to a stockbroker gig. That’s pretty much how it works in the real world too. Surprisingly, there is no diploma or degree required to be a stockbroker, you can be a Harvard grad or a high school drop-out (although, I suspect a college degree doesn’t hurt).

    As in The Pursuit of Happyness, most future stockbrokers start off in an internship training program (which usually doesn't pay or pays little); then they must pass several licensing exams. After that gauntlet, most rookie stockbrokers don’t survive because the job is commission based. For those who do, the average salary for a stockbroker in New York is $91,130. And top performers can earn a high-end annual salary of $160,914! That’s going from homeless to some serious stockbroker respect!

    How does your salary compare to the market? Crunch the numbers with our salary calculator.

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  • Wage Rate: Tipping Bartenders to Casino Dealers

    I have an ethically challenged friend who practices “second generation tipping.” He takes a tip off someone else’s table and puts it on his. His rational is, “I get good service, the waiter gets his tip; everyone wins.” To understand where his logic is flawed, I turned to the PayScale Salary Report Database.

    Many employees depend on tips for much of their income. In fact, the minimum wage an employer must pay drops below $2.50/hour in 15 states for workers earning tips. The restaurant customer is more the employer of a waiter than the person who hired him.

    All this tip data was so interesting, we included it in a larger article of tipping for the holidays on the PayScale website. I'll highlight a few of the interesting facts here about who relies on tips to make ends meet.

    How does your salary fare, with or without tips?  Find out with our salary calculator.

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  • Ten Highest-Paid Career Women

    Earlier this year, Forbes columnist Michael Noer urged readers not to marry career women. Not surprisingly, his Forbes Magazine Online article drew a lot of fire, especially when Noer claimed that nuptials with a career woman would result in “...a higher risk of having a rocky marriage.”

    As someone married to a career woman (a director of clinical affairs, no less) for over 20 years, I take exception with Noer's analysis. While my wife is not in the rarified ranks of Fortune Magazine Online's list of the ten highest-paid women, the advantages of marrying a career woman are manifold (million-fold? :-)

    Let's look at this list of most successful career women. Do they prove Noer's thesis, or do they somehow find wedded bliss while pursuing a career? If you are curious how your or your spouse's pay compares, find out with our salary calculator.

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  • Pay Scale: State Senators

    The recent election certainly changed the political landscape; while congressional power has shifted to the Democrats, all Senators and Congressmen are paid equally in Washington D.C., regardless of which state they represent.

    However, that consistency does not exist on the state level. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures and their 2005 annual salary survey of lawmakers (in each of the 50 states), the pay rate for state senators and representatives differs from state to state. So if you’re thinking of running for office, you might want to do a salary comparison before taking the plunge.

    Let's take a look at how the state senators' pay scale varies between Arkansas and California. In Arkansas, a lawmaker’s annual salary is a paltry $14,067; while in California, state senators and representatives are paid an annual salary of $110,880. If the work lawmakers do is proportional to the number of citizens, the Californians are getting a deal: each state senator in California costs each citizen 0.3 cents, while the price is 0.5 cents per lawmaker per citizen in Arkansas :-)

    Is your salary closer to an Arkansas or California state senator? Find out with our exclusive PayScale salary survey.

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