Buying Power of Incomes Is Dropping

Were you one of those lucky few who were able to hold onto your job during the Great Recession, but still feel the pinch when it comes time to pay bills or buy groceries? Well, you are not alone.

Introducing the PayScale College Salary Report 2013-2014

There is more to choosing a college than mascots and majors. Your school choice today can impact your earnings tomorrow. Read on to learn about the most important factors that should influence your choice and how to find the information you need to make the best decision for your future.

Does It Matter Where You Go to School?

In a time of rising education costs and crippling student debt, future college students need to ask themselves whether the big ticket prices of certain colleges are worth it. In other words, does it matter where you go to school? Will graduating from a top-tier school bring you more financial success?

Using our extensive database here at PayScale, we decided to take a look at the typical earnings for graduates of common majors and how they differ across a set of schools with different levels of notoriety.

(Note: find out your earning potential at

Equal Pay Day Is Misleading

For those of you who are interested in gender pay gaps, you likely know today (April 17th) is Equal Pay Day. This date "symbolizes how far into 2012 women must work to earn what men earned in 2011," according to the National Committee on Pay Equity.

However, this statement is misleading and construes the facts about gender pay differentials. Yes, it is true that the average pay of female workers is less than the average pay of male workers. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), median full-time female workers' pay is only 81 percent of median full time male workers' pay.

The issue with these generic statements is they do not control for differences between the two genders that can account for much of this pay gap. Together with the New York Times Economix blog, PayScale took a deep dive into gender pay differentials to see what differences do exist once you control for outside factors. Continue reading after the break to see what we found.

Trends in Tips

Tips are a way of life for many service industry jobs. In fact, for some jobs tips make up over 50 percent of a worker's total take-home pay. During tough economic times these workers often suffer from a decrease in their tips, both due to a decrease in consumerism and to a decrease in generosity.

This is exactly what we found in our Tipping Study in 2009 -- the year after the beginning of The Great Recession, tips on average fell. However, the opposite is often true during good times. Tips rise as consumers feel their budgets loosen, causing both an increase in consumerism and a potential increase in generosity.

Today PayScale released our sixth annual Tipping Study, which highlights over 90 jobs that receive tips, the typical amount of these tips, the percent of total take-home pay from tips and the frequency of tips.

Do you work in a job where pay is dominated by tips and curious about how your pay compares to others like you? Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

Pay Goes Nowhere After 40

In a recent project with blogger/career guru Penelope Trunk, we examined the age at which salaries top out. It turns out pay goes essentially nowhere after age 40. Of course there are some differences across gender, degree level and jobs, but the real lesson is don't expect a raise of any real value in the 25 or so years before retirement.

In this post I will discuss some interesting insights from the data, as well as how the age at which pay growth stops differs across various worker characteristics.

Are you earning what you are worth, given your experience, degrees, location and other critical factors that affect your pay? Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

Tipping Etiquette: Who should you tip and how much?

During the holiday season, the notion of tipping those who provide you service becomes a hot topic. However, it is important to remember that tips are a year-round affair for many. The questions that plague most people are: "Who do I tip?" and "How much do I tip them?"

Fear not, for PayScale is to the rescue. We recently released our 5th annual Tipping Study that answers these questions and then some. In this post, I will highlight interesting results from our study, as well as detail the methodology.

Do you work in a job where tips are commonplace and are wondering how your pay fares? Find out with a free PayScale salary report.

Majors by Gender: Is It Bias or the Major That Determines Future Pay?

The discussion of pay differences across gender is a hot topic. We addressed this topic recently in a project with the New York Times Economix Blog, as well as in our own data package on the gender wage gap. In these studies, we controlled for compensable factors (experience, education, specialty, company size, etc.) across men and women and find the gender wage gap to be 94%, which is much narrower than the oft quoted 77 cents to the dollar.

One reason the National Committee on Pay Equity finds a pay gap of 77% is they don't control for major or job choice and instead compare differences in the national median salaries of men and women.

However, choice of degree type and college major play a large role in determining national pay differences across men and women. Simply put, women tend to choose majors that pay a lower national median pay.

Are you curious whether you are paid what you're worth given the major you chose? Find out with a free PayScale Salary Report.

Jobs That Make Our World a Better Place

The Thanksgiving holiday is a time to give thanks and recognize the people who contribute to our well-being. These people include the teachers who impart wisdom on our children, the doctors who ensure our health, and volunteers who are vital to the success of our social programs.

In fact, there are many jobs that help to make our world a better place; some of which might not come to mind immediately.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we at PayScale decided to create a list of "Jobs that Make the World a Better Place." In this post, I will look at those jobs whose workers deserve our thanks, and how they are monetarily rewarded for their efforts.

Are you curious if you're paid what you're worth? Find out with a free PayScale Salary Report.

4-Year vs. 2-Year College Degrees: How Does the Pay Compare?

With the rising cost of four-year colleges, people may ask themselves whether the salary promised by a bachelor's degree is really worth the time and money required to complete the program. Why not complete an associate's degree program, and enter the workforce sooner and (mostly) free of debt?

Using the extensive PayScale salary database, in this post we will examine the pay differences across degrees and other characteristics. While our database has its limitations - for example, we don't track unemployment rates, which are much higher for less advanced degrees - it gives us insight into the value in salary of finishing four years at a college or university.

Will a bachelor's degree lead to higher pay in your career? Use the PayScale salary survey to find out.

Note: All numbers circa 2009.

Generation Y: What Is a Lot of Money?

[Note: This blog post was updated in February of 2011 to reflect more current salary numbers. For updated information, see PayScale's Career Research Center.]

People in my generation (Generation Y) expect to earn high pay after college graduation, but is this realistic? According to an article by, those in Generation Y want "better pay, a flexible work schedule and company-provided [technology]." In fact, an overwhelming majority of hiring managers and HR professionals describe these people as exhibiting "a sense of entitlement that older generations don't."

What type of salary can those of us in Generation Y expect and what is considered a lot of money? Here at PayScale, we are obsessed with accurate salary data and can use our database of over 21 million profiles to answer this question.

In this blog I will look at some interesting salary facts according to several different characteristics: school, major, gender, job titles, and location.

Are you a recent college graduate and wondering whether you are earning top dollar? Use the PayScale Salary Survey to find out.