look at 24,000 people’s real-life salaries and sort by industry, job, and location

Last week’s salary survey has received more than 24,000 responses. You can view all the responses in a spreadsheet that you can sort by industry, job, location, and more.

And if you haven’t filled it out yourself yet, please do!

(If you’re having trouble loading the spreadsheet, it might be getting tons of traffic right now. You can download a non-updating version of it here.)


{ 97 comments… read them below }

  1. Ben Marcus Consulting*

    You might look at using Google Data Studio to create visualizations for comparing and contrasting this information.

  2. Starbuck*

    Darn, I’m still unable to get the spreadsheet to do anything for me! It seems it’s so massive that even copying and pasting into Excel to manipulate it on my computer doesn’t seem to be working – Excel keeps crashing when I try to paste it in. I can’t even scroll through the web version. I didn’t think my computer was that bad since it doesn’t struggle with other tasks this way, but I guess it isn’t up to this. Oh well!

      1. V$*

        Is it possible to post a link that allows a download of the file, instead of opening the file in my browser? I’d love to download and play with it offline, if that’s available. Thank you so much Allison for this service!

      2. Gary Lowe*

        In Google sheets you can select File -> Download -> Microsoft Excel (.xlsx)

    1. Lost, in disrepair*

      I’m having the same issue, but I don’t think its a computer issue

  3. awesome3*

    Even just looking at the number of people from each city, I’m thinking about all of the location-specific work challenges there are that I’ve never thought about before. What a fascinating list.

  4. SI*

    Would you include ESOP dividend payments in “other compensation”? I am not talking about the company-funded ESOP contributions, but the cash dividends paid quarterly. If not, that’s fine – just curious if it’s something that would be included.

  5. Kimmy Schmidt*

    I’d be curious if anyone is able to use this list to argue for a raise, either directly or as a jumping off point.

    1. JelloStapler*

      I thought the same, the person would have to adjust for COL though. I can think of some cities that would not compare equally to mine or vice versa

      1. awesome3*

        They can sort by city though. And they can also use nearby cities if their own doesn’t provide enough data. There are multiple people with my job title in my city on that list.

    2. Ben Marcus Consulting*

      I don’t know that this survey is sufficent for that level of dive down. Titles aren’t always a good indication of why someone is paid the way they are, and cost of living isn’t the only factor to take into consideration.

  6. Trying my best and hoping it's enough*

    @Alison Were there any surprises for you about the AAM community based on the responses regarding personal and industry demographics?

    1. Batty Twerp*

      Seconding this curiosity. I know data collection is supposed to be free from biases and expectations, but we’re all only human!

  7. MollyG*

    I think there are a fair amount of errors in this document, unless a Junior Researcher at a university is really making $180 M per year.

    1. MollyG*

      Sorry, by bad, that value is not in US Dollars. But also note that the Annual Salary column is no all in US Dollars.

      1. Can Can Cannot*

        I ended up filtering out any non-USD entries when I looked at the data. Otherwise there was too much noise for me to get a good sense of the data.

    2. ThatGirl*

      There’s someone claiming to make 120,000,000 a year and I feel like they might have added 3 too many zeros?

    3. RagingADHD*

      There were a number of people who reported having problems with the convention of using commas vs decimals.
      There was also some distortion with the instructions to annualize salaries by rate × full time hours for part-time or freelance work. I know if I billed my nominal hourly rate for 2080 hours, I’d be earning far more than I actually do, because not all my time is billable.

  8. An American(ish) Werewolf in London*

    This is going to be….challenging to interpret because of the number of freeform answers. Even just filtering by country is…challenging. I suspect, however, you have far clever people than me to help you! I look forward to the insights! (Not to say I won’t try, though!)

    1. An American(ish) Werewolf in London*

      Only around 4,400 so far say they are definitively ‘man’. I suspect that says more about the readership here (and/or the willingness to fill in surveys) than it does about the workforce. If I have time tomorrow, I shall dig in further :)

    2. Who are you??*

      absolutely amazed by the number of people who could not fit their organization into the supplied “industry” options. The freeform ones are a very interesting read

      1. Elsajeni*

        I collect similar data from incoming graduate students, and that’s pretty much a constant — a LOT of students don’t identify their company as fitting into one specific “industry” from our list (and a smaller, but still pretty big, group also can’t identify their own job as having one specific “function” from a similar list!). I’m sure part of it is that our list, which is shorter than Alison’s, really doesn’t cover some areas well, but I also wonder if it says something about the structure of companies themselves, or maybe just about the way people think about their work.

    1. Canadian Librarian #72*

      First thing I did was filter for librarians in my country (around 30)! Some decent data to work with – a huge range, with the lowest at just over USD 40k (though ticking “USD” may have been a mistake on their part) and the highest at CAD 112k. Both work in higher education and both in Ontario – though the higher earner didn’t say where in Ontario. For my part, I made CAD ~58k working in a Seven Sisters firm as a research librarian.

  9. Save the Hellbender*

    Is there a reason why $33,280 is such a common salary? It seems so specific – I know I’m missing something.

      1. JSPA*

        It’s a buck more than “fight for 15” wages. So in cities and places that are minimum 15, “a buck over minimum” puts you there.

        Costco minimum wage (still not including food station contractors, I suppose?) now $16/hour. They’re huge, and have a lot of entry level people.
        Seattle and Seatac area a little above that ($16 in 2019, edging up?)
        If Trump supporters are putting their money where his mouth was (at least, in 2018), he claimed to support $16/hour.
        Los Angeles and bay area and NYC minimum is now $15 / hour (with caveats), so anyone making just above minimum slots in around $16. (Chicago’s at $14).
        Australian minimum wage converts to ~US$15.50.
        Sweden entry level fast food jobs pay about that, as well.

  10. Chicago Higher Ed*

    I mean I knew I was underpaid relative to my field/location/experience but cool, good to have it confirmed. Too bad I’ve had final stage interviews with like………every relevant employer in my area but never get picked because I’m *extremely awkward* as a person.

    1. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

      Agreed. I have spent a lot of time wondering what I would do if I had to leave my job, and when my mind wanders to general office jobs I’m just like… what do you do?

      My mom is an accountant, and I used to be a paralegal. Less specialized than that, I just don’t comprehend.

      Now, my dad was a laborer. That, I understand.

  11. Jen!*

    It seems like there are a bunch that have extra zeros. I am assuming, for example, that an Asst. Director at a nonprofit doesn’t make $734,400 or that an RN doesn’t make $832,000. (I checked and a lot of these are US based and paid in USD.)

    1. Caterpie*

      Nurses were in huge demand due to COVID last year, and I think traveling nurses are traditionally paid quite high. Maybe those things compounded to create the high salary last year? I don’t know much about the nursing field though, so this could be wrong.

      1. twocents*

        Nearly a million dollars though? That’s not just hazard pay, that’s an entry error.

        1. LabTechNoMore*

          Agreed, if nursing paid that well it would be common knowledge (the way other 7-figure salaried careers are more widely known). With that said given medical staff were working horrific levels of overtime over the past year, I’d also want to do some back-of-the-envelope calculations on possible OT/DT pay before ruling it out completely.

          1. Irene*

            I think it most likely be 83,200. Sure nurses get tons of extra pay during the pandemic (my husband is one), but in no way exceeding a doctor’s salary.

      2. Quickbeam*

        I’m an RN and I know nurses who make 250K with overtime. I don’t know anyone who even approaches half a million so I think it is a typo.

      3. Confused*

        Yeah, nurses can make six figures but not 832,000. That’s like chief of surgery MD-level pay.

    2. NearlyGrad*

      Most entertaining one for me was a trainee teacher making £200,000… definitely meant to be £20,000

    3. TardyTardis*

      I know someone who travels to make depositions in legal cases, and I think she made close to that, actually.

      1. TardyTardis*

        I meant a nurse who made well over $100,000, probably close to $200,000. Ah, the Nesting Curse strikes again.

  12. RIP Numeracy*

    This has really driven home to me that many people do not know the number of zeroes that go into various orders of magnitude. I sincerely doubt a business analyst III is making $940,000 (with an oddly small $4,000 bonus!) or that a nonprofit program associate with 2-4 years of experience is making $510,000.

    1. Zach*

      This is kind of making me LOL thinking of someone earning like $50,000 and getting a $25 Amazon gift card as their bonus each year.

      1. Mrs. Smith*

        That’s me, and it’s true. I earn about $57k for a 10-month academic year, not awful, but every year for more than 10 years our annual holiday gift/bonus/token/whatever has been a $25 gift card.

      2. Sled dog mama*

        I used to work at a place where I made $120,000 a year and got a $25 grocery gift card as an annual bonus

    2. Unkempt Flatware*

      Some of it could be the units and country of origin. In Europe, a comma is used like our decimals so $5,000 means something different.

      1. TechWorker*

        It’s much of europe and a bunch of places not in Europe, and in many cases (though possibly not all depending on the currency?) $5,000 would still be ‘wrong’ because the default current unit is in hundreds, not thousands. So you’d see something like 5,00 or 500,00 rather than with 3 zeros after the decimal point.

    3. tamarack and fireweed*

      It more likely has to do with a data entry flub than with numeracy. It was a nicely laid-out form, but I’m sure people are filling it out on phones and tablets, and an extra zero or even a typo can just happen.

      For quantitative data analysis I’d do some manual sanity-checking and QA/

      1. pancakes*

        Yes. The idea this happened because people don’t understand numbers rather than because they made typos doesn’t make much sense.

  13. Emma Woodhouse*

    This information is so interesting. I know it would never happen, but I wish we had salary context to go along with questions. I often read the blog and feel my work culture and industry are very out of sync with the norms and experiences of each letter writer, but seeing my salary + bonus in context clarify a lot of things. I do think the advice is different in many scenarios (at least in terms of expectations like working outside of hours/over the weekends) for someone making $40,000 versus someone making $400,000 with a 100% bonus target.

  14. Alex*

    This is a great info! Did some data analysis of my own, too bad not more engineers didn’t fill it out

    1. Nicotene*

      This makes me wonder which way the data “skews.” If I had to guess, I would suspect that more lower-paid people would take an anonymous survey, while the highest paid individuals or professions would decline. An entry level nonprofit coordinator has no reason to feel ashamed of their salary and may feel they have a lot to gain from the initiative. A high level engineer who knows he (pronouns not accidental) is unusually well paid for what he does, may feel less inclined to contribute. After all, he doesn’t expect to benefit, and there’s a slight chance it would “get out.”

      This was the case with #publishingpaidme, I believe. More entry level women, particularly those in marginalized groups who suspected they were underpaid, responded.

        1. Nicotene*

          Interesting! You think people take the survey wanting to “boast” about their salary and because they expect to be one of the best? (This is not sarcasm, I’m genuinely interested in your thoughts).

          1. Sadie*

            I have an unusually high salary for the nonprofit sector and felt really proud to enter it into the dataset.

          2. TechWorker*

            I think it benefits even higher paid people to know where they are amongst others – I also think the data is anonymous enough to generally not have too much risk of being tied back to one person.

      1. Mary Connell*

        Nicotene’s guess was exactly the case in my household. One person added data; the other didn’t for pretty much those reasons.

      2. PJS*

        I know I’m paid very well compared to similar positions in my area. I completed the survey because it would be nice if other organizations started upping their salaries rather than my employer being unusual. I figure the more awareness there is of the higher salaries, the more pressure there is on other companies to match those.

      3. TardyTardis*

        I didn’t take the survey before I retired because I made so little (at least in salary. The insurance which paid for half of my husband’s cancer treatments–his insurance paid the other half–turned out to be rather more than my actual salary and very very welcome indeed).

  15. Extremely Anon*

    Thank you, Alison! There are enough responses from my country and industry that I’ve worked out I’m somewhat underpaid!

  16. Keener*

    I suspect a significant reason why more engineers didn’t fill it out is that engineers are predominantly male, but men are a very small proportion of the people who completed the survey.

  17. someone*

    Thanks for the reminder to fill in the survey! I tried filling it out on the phone before but couldn’t finish it then.

  18. butebird*

    Have to say, for me, this is pretty depressing and makes me wish I could stomach moving back to the States where I’d be earning more. Also, hi to everyone else from Leeds unis lol.

  19. Nathan*

    It’s sadly evident that at least in my corner of the world and my employment sector, there’s a big gap between men’s salaries and women’s. Though there’s also big gaps between companies it seems, but I’d say on average women (even with a master’s degree) are paid less than men.

    I’d love to see someone run some statistical analysis on these data to see what areas of the world are most and least equal in terms of pay, though of course there’s probably thousands of nuances this spreadsheet leaves out so it would only be a rough estimate.

  20. Boof*

    I am curious, I left “other compensation” blank because it would take me a while to figure out; is it something we can update or not worth the hassle?
    Thanks again, though I wonder if the general internal physician earning nearly 2 million salary is a typo! Good for them if not but, that’s about an order of magnitude higher than staff get paid (different if you own a company but then you are CEO as much as physician etc etc)

    1. Mitzii*

      Certain specialties can earn a lot because they have to pay their own malpractice insurance (anesthesiologists and OBs always rate really high on my local business journal’s highest-salary list). Maybe they own their own practice too.

  21. Domino*

    I opened it in Excel, filtered to see only Toronto area results, and sorted by salary.

    Highest-paid job (by more than twice the next-lowest salary)? Independent realtor, $600,000.

    Sounds. About. Right. *weeps*

  22. Amy the Rev*

    @ the other 25-34 female pastor in Massachusetts who filled out this survey- I see you! Thanks for repping women in religious leadership :)

  23. Confused*

    I would love to see an AMA with the OnlyFans creator in the list.

    Also some of y’all don’t know how to use zeroes or do math and it shows. I’m looking at you, high school math teacher in Illinois who makes 432,000 according to the spreadsheet.

    To reduce error, maybe a drop-down with brackets next time.

  24. Guin*

    This is great. As a Nonprofit person, it’s pretty depressing how little we earn nation-wide.

  25. SurprisedNewEnglander*

    Did anyone else check for location and be mildly surprised about how many AAM neighbors they have? 10 or so in the suburb where I work alone! This is also helpful if I ever submit a post, I’ll make sure I do a *very* good job at obscuring location-based details, whereas before, I may have been a bit more transparent-wrongly thinking that no one in MY suburb could possibly also read AAM!

    (waves from MA in the USA)

    1. Guin*

      If you’re not my co-worker, I’m at least the third Mass suburbanite who lurks here.

  26. DataQueen*

    Alison, have you ever considered a monthly thread with job postings? Looking at this spreadsheet made me realize there are some underpaid people in my industry in my city – and I’m having trouble hiring right now and all i’m thinking is “damn, all these great people who I’d love to pay a decent salary, and I can’t find the right one”. I would absolutely LOVE to hire an AAM reader! If we had a venue to do that, I’d love love love it.

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