Money talks or so the story goes. You may love the job or field you’re currently in, but the promise of a paycheck provides excellent motivation to keep yourself focused on remaining gainfully employed. However, when you start to think about your coworkers, or jobs that look easier than yours, you may wonder how much they’re cashing in.
Looking at compensation, we were curious about perceived job salaries and satisfaction with personal earnings. So we surveyed 2,075 people to translate how much money talks, and if people actually listen to what it says. We even asked respondents how much they think certain jobs should be paid and compared that that actual salaries. Read on to discover whom Americans think should be making more and who already earns too much.
In several cases, participants were able to closely guess the average income of several roles, but they also over and underestimated how much certain positions were paid. Web developers were seen as making between $75,000 and $99,999; however, the yearly average income, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is just above $70,000. Some other professions we may interact with regularly also earned less than our participants expected. Janitors, laborers, and substitute teachers all had average salaries less than what was expected.
It also appears participants would be shocked to see the paychecks of congressmen and congresswomen. These professionals were seen as making between $75,000 and $99,999 – almost $87,000 less than their average income! That’s almost 43 percent more than what respondents expected. Medical doctors, chief executives, and software developers also earn far more each year than people assumed.
Agree to Disagree About Pay
When it comes to professional positions and what we think people in those fields should earn, survey participants were more in agreeance over positions that pulled in some of the lowest annual salaries than those that earned bigger bucks.
Over half of those surveyed believed cashiers deserved to earn between $15,000 and $29,000 a year. While that amounts to minimum wage in most areas of the country, unfortunately, minimum wage doesn’t always mean a livable wage. Nearly half (48 percent) of participants said hotel housekeepers deserved to earn the same. They also largely agreed secretaries, office clerks, and customer service representatives deserved between $30,000 and $49,000 a year.
Where most people were unable to agree was around just how much congressmen and congresswomen should be paid. Maybe this is due to the perception, or belief of former congressmen, that these elected officials care more about your campaign contribution than chasing down the issues important to their constituents. Chief executives, web developers, database administrators, and computer hardware engineers fell into largely the same category. While most people struggled with how much they should earn for their work, the consensus fell between an average of $75,000 and $99,000 a year.
Gender Pay Gaps
Men and women don’t always agree on money matters, and when it came to how much certain jobs types should be paid, they found a few points of contention.
The biggest gap between men’s and women’s perceptions of deserving salaries was around chief executive positions. Women agreed they should make much less (most suggesting between $75,000 and $99,000 a year), while men thought they should make $150,000 or more. In fact, more than twice as many men suggested chief executive jobs should earn more than $250,000 a year. Computer hardware engineers fell into a similar category, where more men than women, on average, indicated they should earn more. While both agreed that $75,000 and $99,000 was a fair compensation, higher percentages of men believed they should earn more.
The only position women thought should earn more was special education teachers. Nearly 43 percent of women said they should earn between $50,000 and $74,000 a year, while around 10 percent thought they should make between $100,000 and $149,000.
Hail to the Chief, Hail to the Paycheck
How do our political affiliations affect how we feel different jobs should be compensated? It definitely makes for a divide when it comes to evaluating how much the paycheck for holding the highest office in the land should be. No, we’re not talking about the CEO of Google or Wal-Mart but America – the president of the United States.
Those elected as president receive an annual salary of $400,000. However, President-elect Donald Trump recently made waves after he stated he’d only accept $1 for his service. Most of the individuals surveyed (especially Republicans) felt the president should be compensated more than $250,000 a year. In fact, it was the only profession where most respondents, regardless of party affiliation, agreed that a higher salary was appropriate for the work performed.
Other professions, like Congress members, elementary school teachers, and military members weren’t as agreed upon. Respondents were generally split as to how much congressmen and women should earn, with almost equal votes for $50,000 to $74,999 a year and $75,000 and $99,999 a year. It was also the only profession where the most respondents selected less than $15,000.
Further, most agreed – regardless of their political views – that elementary school teachers and military members should make between $50,000 and $74,999 a year.
Mind the Pay Gap
While 40 percent of women surveyed didn’t observe a gap in pay, the majority felt differently. The American Association of University Women agrees with the latter. In their report “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap,” the AAUW confirms a woman can expect to earn just 80 percent of what a man makes performing the same job with a similar background and experience.
In fact, over 8 percent of respondents reported gender as a reason for income disparity, while 22 percent said inadequate compensation was due to perceived inexperience. This is where an opening in dialogue between employer and employee could eliminate this feeling.
Pay No Mind? Pay More Mind!
It’s clear that our understanding of how different jobs are compensated isn’t terribly in line with reality. Should you be reevaluating a new job offer based upon this additional perspective?
Avoid this pitfall by using a host of tools from Paysa to understand what type of raise you should receive, how much a position gets paid based on real salaries, and tips to improve your worth to your employer.
Opinions on salary rates and pay gaps were obtained by surveying 2,075 people in the United States. Other employment data was sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics within the United States Department of Labor.
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