data from 13,000 people’s real-life salaries

Last month’s salary survey received more than 13,000 responses. You can view all the responses in a spreadsheet that you can sort by industry, job, location, and more.

However, that’s a lot to sort through so reader and data analytics professional Angelique Dawkins created graphs looking at some of the data.

{ 290 comments… read them below }

    1. RedinSC*

      Agreed! Thanks so much for facilitating this and for putting this into interesting bites.

  1. goofBall*

    Wow! I always knew that AAM skewed more towards woman in terms readership, but based on these responses it is an overwhelming majority!

    Thank you, Angelique, for putting this together!

    1. Elizabeth*

      And yet even with the huge skew toward women, men still average a higher salary.

      1. TechWorker*

        Why would the huge skew towards women impact men making more or less on average?

        1. IzzyTiger*

          With a biggest sample set of women there’s a larger chance that someone with a higher salary will pull the average up. Works the other way too though: those with a lower salary will pull the average down. In any case, less men in the set and with an overall high average means they’re all mostly getting paid pretty alright.

          1. Lexi Vipond*

            I would have thought that it was easier to skew the averages on a smaller sample. If 99 people are making $50,000 and one person is making $1,000,000, their average salary is roughly $60,000. If 9 people are making $50,000 and one person is making $1,000,000, their average salary is roughly $150,000.

              1. Sesame*

                This does not necessarily mean it would skew high, it could also skew low. Outliers have a larger effect when the sample is smaller whether they are high or low.

                1. Anonymoose*

                  since the floor is 0 for any salary and the ceiling is infinite, in practice these things will always skew high

                2. Hiphopanonymous*

                  Yes, any sample where the floor is zero and the high end is infinite will have the average skew high due to this effect, and smaller sample sizes can skew either way much easier than larger samples. I mean, imagine if Elon Musk, making $56 billion or whatever (yes I know it’s been overturned, just a good example), was in a sample of even thousands of people where everyone else was making $50,000. You’d think the average person was making significantly more than they actually were. It is normally more illuminating to take the median in a distribution like this, so I would be interested to see that for men vs. women (and for the various race and other demographic distributions).

                3. Hiphopanonymous*

                  Just for funsies, if you had 9,999 people making $50,000 per year, and 1 additional person making $10 billion per year, the “average” person would be making over $1 million per year. Obviously the “median” person making $50k is much more representative of the sample overall.

          2. Yorick*

            It’s the opposite. A smaller sample of men means that if they tend to be higher paid, the sample average will skew high. A larger sample of women means high or low earners won’t have as much of an effect and thus the sample average is more likely to be close to the actual population average.

        2. Hills to Die on*

          Because the ‘Man’ sample size is so much smaller, you are more likely to get skewing. More people: more accurate aggregate data.

      2. Higher Ed*

        Although this may also say something about the demographics of the male reader. They may be mostly directors, for example, while the women may be from a larger variety of levels. I’m not disagreeing with the difference, only pointing out that there may be additional differences .

        1. Excel Gardener*

          From reading the comments, I get the impression a lot of the male readers are managers or work in tech, so that would definitely help explain the difference if true.

          Maybe I’ll dive into the data if I have some free time and see if that is borne out.

          1. Annie*

            Yes, that would be the other thing. Maybe men with lower salaries are not working in offices which would preclude them from being AAM readers, whereas librarians, exec assistants, administrators may skew towards women and readers of AAM may have lower salaries (I have no idea, just throwing jobs out there).

            1. kalli*

              Internet access and English proficiency are far more likely to preclude someone from reading an English-language site on the internet than not working in an office.

              1. dot*

                This comment is being purposefully obtuse. No one is saying people who don’t work in offices don’t use the internet. But do you really think there’s a sizeable portion of men working blue collar jobs who are active participants in this specific blog? If you think otherwise you definitely haven’t spent much time with blue-collar workers.

              2. Random Name*

                I think the point was that this specific site is geared more towards office workers.

          2. Inkognyto*

            that was my thought.

            I’d be interested in seeing the fields/education/experience by gender.

            It wasn’t mentioned here but location in some fields skews this hard. Tech in some area like Cali and near the big companies can pay super high amounts skewing it.

            There could be a lot of male readers in tech for example. Computer/ IT Tech if you’ve been in the field for 5-10 years it pays well, like 60-100k.

            In my specific field you don’t find near as many women in tech. I wish more would be there, but often it’s more like 70-80% men. Workplaces need more diversity; it creates better solutions.

      3. Anonymoose*

        From what I saw in the data, that’s due to a lot of ridiculous outliers (librarians making 9 million/year… IDK) and I don’t know if the analyst cleaned up all the different currencies. When I did some analysis the averages were fairly close

        1. Anonymoose*

          Actually it does seem like that discrepancy existed when I was looking at the data
          Gender Avg Salary Race
          Man $120,902.57 White
          Woman $99,161.00 White
          Other or prefer not to answer $83,404.52 White
          Non-binary $76,485.65 White

          Gender Avg Salary
          Man $113,293.15 Black or African American
          Woman $113,071.88 Black or African American
          Other or prefer not to answer $107,000.00 Black or African American
          Non-binary $85,400.00 Black or African American

          Man #DIV/0! Native American or Alaska Native
          Woman $76,629.86 Native American or Alaska Native
          Other or prefer not to answer #DIV/0! Native American or Alaska Native
          Non-binary $55,840.00 Native American or Alaska Native

          Man $155,051.65 Asian or Asian American
          Woman $112,171.02 Asian or Asian American
          Other or prefer not to answer $54,000.00 Asian or Asian American
          Non-binary $90,788.89 Asian or Asian American

          1. Wilbur*

            Are you controlling for years of experience at all? I know one explanation people have written about regarding the wage gap is related to women being more likely to take time off to raise a family. Another is the job functions-the sample size gets pretty small when I look at just workers in an engineering function but the salary gap decreases significantly. I think there are some bad data points that probably need to be scrubbed (Senior court clerk making $800k, Software administrator make $140, etc.) so these numbers may need some tweaking:

            White, college educated, 5-7 years experience, US based:
            20% Difference

            White, college educated, 5-7 years experience, US based, engineering:
            5% Difference

            White, college educated, 8-10 years experience, US based:
            14% Difference

            White, college educated, 8-10 years experience, US based, engineering:
            4% Difference

            White, college educated, 11-20 years experience, US based:
            24% Difference

            White, college educated, 11-20 years experience, US based, engineering:
            19% Difference

            1. Mockingjay*

              Agree; I took time off to raise kids and it did impact my career. I think that’s a factor in the lower salaries in my age group (55 – 64). I am paid well, but I am slightly lower compared to younger workers with the same number of years of experience. It took awhile to build up skills and credentials again.

              As for the increase at age 65, at that point many people are retiring; those that stay in the workforce are likely very senior managers or C-suite.

      4. Boof*

        While there tend to be a lot of complicated factors to double check in any salary disparity, I agree, there’s still the big picture that women just make less (and, similarly, racial disparities)
        Often when attempting to account for the reasons for gender wage gap, it closes a little when you try to account for work hours, benefits, type of specialty, etc (yes as a physician I’ve looked at this especially closely for physicians) but it never totally closes, and the most generous interpretation is that women are team players and prioritize family/non work a bit more, and sacrifice more salary in the name of a flexible schedule (like, disproportionally more salary in terms of how much work is ultimately done, say 80% of the salary for still doing 90% of the same work, etc)

        1. JM60*

          I recall the US DoL sometime in the last decade coming up with the number of “93%” when attempting to determine how much women are paid compared to men when adjusting for all the variables that they could think of (different careers, different specialties within their field, working different number of hours, etc.). Though I can’t find that report in a few minutes of looking around, so it’s possible I’m misremembering, or it was another agency.

          From what I can quickly find, serious attempts to find thus adjusted number in the last several years have typically resulted in a final number between 95-99%, which is better than a 7% adjusted gap, but any gap is still too much.

          Aside from the methodological issue of “how do we know if we didn’t rule out every factor that we need to adjust for” this general topic is also complicated by the fact that this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. For instance, some argue that how much a field is dominated by one gender has affected how high paying that field has become. Perhaps we’d pay teachers more if society didn’t view teaching as a woman’s job.

          1. Boof*

            As a female presenting and generally ok with that physician, I 1) recall similar numbers and 2) sometimes I think “eff it, there’s more to life than money, who says the patriarchy has it right”
            The latter was initially a reaction to something about how women professors obituaries were more likely to mention how well they cooked, their family, etc, than all their academic accomplishments, as if that was a BAD thing and a sign of “sexism”; my knee jerk to that was “oh god please no one read my CV at my funeral! Please talk about my kids, my art, my plants!!”
            And now I think about it; I like money yes, but I’ve chosen a position that’s less money than I could make (academics vs private practice) because I love the interaction, the subspecialization, the research, etc. I could try to do more side hustles and I did that for a while but now? Ehh, I value time with my family, sleep, and exercise over almost anything, and being careful of conflicts of interest in tech I’m excited about. So I suppose my one weird thought about salary disparities is that, while it could be a sign of how society values [women], it could also be a sign about how much [women] value money, which isn’t the worst thing if/when you have /enough/ (what is enough, IDK).

          2. Yorick*

            We also have to take into account that women get pushed into lower paying fields (and that women-dominated fields tend to become less prestigious and lower paying over time)

          3. Also-ADHD*

            Even in women dominated fields, you have the issue that men are far more likely to get promoted. For example, male teacher % vs male principal % in most districts looks very different, same if we look at male HR executives vs male HR total, nursing management vs nurses, etc.

      5. Stat junkie*

        Remember that having many more women doesn’t necessarily mean the other sample is skewed. In this case, there are over 1000 men answering. The numbers may be skewed, but probably not by the sample size of men.

    2. E*

      And there may be some women like me who answered for myself and then did a second survey with my husband’s info as our jobs are very different. He doesn’t read AAM

      1. Cranky-saurus Rex*

        Oh, I wish I’d done that, now that I see the suggestion! We’re the statistical anomaly household – I (40s woman) earn more than double my partner’s wages (40s man), but his job has great benefits and mine has virtually none

  2. my cat is prettier than me*

    Interesting. According to this, I am paid below average for my education, race, gender, years of work experience, and years in my field. It’s probably because I’m an admin/executive assistant.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Executive assistants can be paid very handsomely. Hopefully the experience you’re gaining now will help you leverage a higher paying job in the future!

    2. Be Gneiss*

      I’m definitely not saying this is the case in your situation, but I am paid below average based on this data, but I live in a very rural area. In apples-to-apples job comparisons, if I moved 3-4 hours away to a much larger city, I’d easily make at least 25% more. It used the be that COL was significantly lower here, but it’s also a resort/vacation area, and as more people have made this their permanent residence (thanks, WFH!), the difference in COL between here and BigCity is a lot less than it used to be. Still, much less hassle with traffic, and I don’t enjoy cities, so it’s a trade off.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes — to really draw any conclusions about what this means for any one person’s earnings, you’d really want to look at different graphs, ones that broke it out regionally. That makes a huge difference.

        1. Hills to Die on*

          Yes. I look like a very high earner on here but I am actually underpaid for where I live.

          1. Sitting Pretty*

            Yeah, I’m totally right in the middle of the earnings reported here which means I am actually quite underpaid for my region. Not surprising given my industry but it’s still discouraging (though also I hope this means other ARE getting paid decently!)

        2. Burbonk*

          So hypothetically if I make less than 50% of the average and live in Los Angeles, that’s… not great. But I make twice what I made when I lived in San Francisco, so at least I have that going for me.

        3. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

          Yes, I’m paid twice as much as the average for my location but my salary is so low the only category of any of the charts mine was higher than was the under 18. I’m in a small city but the state itself is overall rural and generally poverty-stricken. Even if I got a job in the largest city in the state, I’d likely only be making 10-15% more, which would not be enough to cover transportation costs for the long commute.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        I worked at a company that had another location in the SF Bay area, and the 30% higher pay at that location did not cover the COL difference.

        1. hello*

          Yeah, this really makes a difference. My brother works in public sector here in the bay, and his lower-level employee salary is barely livable…yet is higher than some director-of-the-entire-department salaries for cities in the midwest. It’s crazy.

      3. my cat is prettier than me*

        Part of it is COL. I live in a medium COL capital city in the Midwest. It is funny looking back at my first office job in Chicago where I was paid $32k (this was in 2020). I’m not sure how we swung that.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I was the sole wage earner in my two-person household for most of six years in 2004-2010, on $14-16/hour, in BELLEVUE WASHINGTON. I still don’t know how I did that. (Our rent there was damn near twice my mortgage now in the Midwest.)

          1. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

            Same, one of the reasons we moved from an expensive area with a disproportionate housing bubble to where we are now is because rent was already difficult to afford on $16/hr as the sole earner. By the time we left, rent was taking almost 4/5 of my take home pay. I’m making a little higher pay and where we are now, the mortgage takes maybe a third of my take home pay.

            Though I know how I did it, we drained the savings I’d built up over a decade and maxed out all our credit cards so we could have luxuries like food, running water, and electricity. Rent just didn’t leave enough and wages in that area lagged too far behind housing costs for most people.

      4. Pearl Clutching is My Hobby*

        Yes, I’d love to see this data broken out by region, major metropolitan area vs. rural, etc. Even though I live in a smaller-sized city (Santa Fe), the COL is here is moderately high. It primarily relies on gov’t, tourism and small mom-and-pop businesses, and that tends to depress wages.

        Even so . . . .

    3. Irish Teacher.*

      I think this site skews towards higher earners. I know in Ireland at least, the average salary is under €50,000 a year, yet virtually every group here is earning over that. I do think the average salary in the US is a bit higher (and of course, €50,000 is worth a bit more than $50,000) but I don’t think the difference is that great. I have my doubts that nearly $90k is the average salary for somebody with no qualifications beyond high school and 8-10 years work experience in the world at large, for example.

      1. Caramel & Cheddar*

        Seconding that this site skews towards higher earners, and something to keep in mind who feels like they’re underachieving as a result!

      2. Taketombo*

        In out family, which has some heal issues, we also pay out $20k or more annually in health insurance and health care costs.

        Would 100% rather pay some/most/all/more than all to just have universal health care (I am totally agnostic on the implementation) and quit having to worry about coverage, primary insurance, secondary insurance, etc

      3. MigraineMonth*

        This site absolutely skews towards white collar/high level of education.

        1. SnackAttack*

          Yeah, it can be helpful to remember that many people in the commentariat are pretty privileged (not to say they don’t experience legitimate issues, but arguing about, say, starting meetings at 9:30 instead of 8:30 or being fully WFH instead of hybrid are relatively privileged arguments to have).

      4. londonedit*

        The average salary in the UK is around £36,000 I think, and that’s around what I earn (publishing is not well paid) so these surveys always make me feel like a poor church mouse! I know salaries in the US are higher but everyone seems to be earning $100k!

    4. edabeata*

      Apparently I, with a master’s degree and 10 years of experience, get paid less than the average high school graduate with 2 years experience lmao

      but I’m in education/non-profits/museum work so like…I kinda knew already that’s my life, the bed I choose to lie in, etc- though it is jarring to see that laid out in graph form!

      1. roann*

        Yeah, I work in libraries and I knew this would be the case but I still kind of wish I hadn’t looked because I do love my work. Big skull emoji.

        1. edabeata*

          In a similar vein, this is why I sometimes hesitate to take work advice from people who clearly have spent their entire careers in certain kinds of very corporate environments. Because it doesn’t translate to all other sectors but often they’re very convinced their workplace is the norm and can’t seem to understand when you’re like “I have no idea what a stock option is, but I do get to take home leftovers after events, and I consider that part of my benefits package”

          Libraries are awesome! Thank you for your (low paying lol) work!

          1. Texan in exile on her phone*

            We were just in Salamanca, Spain. I aaw a tour group of high school students in front of La Casa de Conchas, an old building that now houses the Salamanca public library. There’s a small sign on it noting it’s the biblioteca pública.

            The tour guide (maybe their teacher?) asked the students what was in the building.

            “La biblioteca pública,” they answered in unison.

            And what do we think about libraries? he asked.

            They all began to cheer.

            (My people)


      2. my cat is prettier than me*

        My favorite job I ever had paid $10/hr in 2018. I was a camp counselor at a museum. I would do it again in a heartbeat if it paid more (or my husband was paid more).

      3. ArtsNerd*

        Yup. I’m in a very HCOL area with masters degree and comfortably over a decade in my field. I make $70k in a my current role, which is a huge jump from my previous employer. These numbers are mind-boggling to me. Curse my commitment to the arts!

    5. BubbleTea*

      I’m paid below average for everything, but it’s because I’m British.

      1. ariel*

        When British job ads cross my feed, I’m often shocked! I have yet to understand how folks could survive on £45,000 (or less) in a metro area, even when I remove health care costs from my mental math.

        1. harder than you think*

          The standard of living in Britain is so much lower than you think. More people crammed into tinier places. Much less spending money as recreation, except at the pub.

          At least, that was my experience living in London 15 years ago.

          1. Николи*

            Housing costs are *much* higher in London than most of the UK but the salaries for comparable jobs only slightly higher. My house (including garden) would cost 5-10x as much if it was in London. Pay for my job is only 5-10% higher in London.

          2. MsSolo (UK)*

            We’ve had pretty serious wage stagnation since the 2008 crash, thanks to austerity politics, and cost of living has kept going up. A household income of £50k puts you in the top 50% of earners now.

            What caught me out last year was how cheap food and drink is in Europe. Brexit boiling frogs style of price creep is really stark when your money goes 3-4 times further at the supermarche, even when you’re in holiday indulgence mode. We’ve been full on double fisted by the tories.

            1. CanUK*

              If you think food and drink is expensive in the UK, you should see Canada. Way more expensive. My relatives are always shocked at how much cheaper a lot of the food is here in England.

        2. ceiswyn*

          Whereas I wonder what’s costing y’all in the US so much that you struggle even with such larger salaries!

          1. Insert Clever Name Here*

            Healthcare and childcare. Student loans for a lot of people, too.

    6. lunchtime caller*

      With two years of experience as an admin (and ten in a different field) I moved into an EA role making $120k. Admin/EA pay is heavily reliant on location and industry.

    7. I'm just here for the cats!*

      Ditto here. I also live in a small midwest city, so we don’t have a HCOL and wages reflect that. I also work for a public University which is like pulling teeth to get even a 4% raise.

    8. RussianInTexas*

      I am paid WELL below all of this, which is why I am looking.
      But also, my degree is not US degree, which skews things.

    9. Scholarly Publisher*

      My salary with a bachelor’s is less than the average for respondents with a high school education and the same number of years in field. I’m not surprised; publishing doesn’t pay well, and my niche of publishing definitely doesn’t pay well.

      I stay at my workplace because of excellent benefits and because a higher-paying position would’ve required moving cities at a time when that wasn’t feasible for family reasons, and now that window’s closed.

    10. I watered your plants while you had covid*

      Me too, and also an admin/executive assistant.

  3. Eldritch Office Worker*

    The physical work location data is really interesting! I know it’s been changing a lot over the last five years but it’s hard to match the reality with the discourse.

  4. Justin*

    This site’s demographics (in terms of people/identity but also in terms of careers) fascinate me.

    We are definitely, on average, more female(-identified), educated, better paid, and remote than US/Canada/UK/let’s call it “english speaking west.” (Probably whiter too, but it’s not listed.)

    I am not making any judgments about this at all! I just find it interesting as a nerd (and someone who writes about identities and education/work).

  5. watermelon fruitcake*

    Immediate observation is that a Master’s degree does not translate to much more earnings potential over a Bachelor’s for ~mid-career workers, but after 30 years, your earnings potential drops unless you pursue further education.

    1. Jessastory*

      That was interesting to see! I wonder if part of the reason for that is possibly that careers requiring Master’s degrees to start pay less across a career than careers starting with a BA?

      1. OrdinaryJoe*

        I found that interesting as well! I didn’t see a salary bump with my Masters and did it because I felt like I was seeing more and more entry and early-career applicants with Masters thanks to the 2008-ish recession and people staying in school. I was worried that my Bachelors was going to be seen as the ‘new AA’ or High School bare minimum.

      2. Just Thinkin' Here*

        Agree – there are careers like teaching and social work where the opportunities without a masters become limiting very quickly. I’d be curious to see those same breakouts by major industry cuts like education, non-profit, etc.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      I noticed that as well – I didn’t find it surprising, but I do think it’s a good data point that it may not be worth it to dig oneself into student debt for a master’s unless you know it has economic value in your field. I know our public school teachers get a decent bump with a master’s and it’s a must for social workers and psychologists, but I also know that a master’s generally does not add value in my field. (We went through this with a candidate last year who wanted a much higher salary for having a master’s degree, but one is simply not required for what we do (and theirs was entirely unrelated to our field), but if we can’t increase the customer charge rates, we can’t increase our pay scale.) Most people I know who get them and use them are career-changers whose undergraduate degree is not in their target field.

      I have a master’s degree, but I paid for it out of pocket knowing it was not a career booster and for personal growth/fun. I also elected to go to an in-state public university and very part-time so that I could afford to pay as I went. This is not an option for a lot of programs.

    3. Elle*

      This was fascinating to me, too. I don’t have a degree and sometimes fantasize about returning to school. I was already thinking that this would mostly be for personal enjoyment, but I’m sort of shocked that I’m already making more than those with advanced degrees.

    4. Consonance*

      My bet is that this comes from the fact that in this survey, it’s a snapshot in the current moment, not a longitudinal look at an individual. It says that for *current* mid-career workers, there’s not much more earnings potential over a Bachelor’s. And that it *does* have a big impact for older workers. My assumption is that this is because over time, more and more people have attended college and attained graduate degrees. They used to help someone stand out, and now they’re de rigueur.

  6. djx*

    Professional degree is interesting. I imagine most people think of MBA, MD, JD. Which tend to high salaries. But I have an MLS – a profession degree librarianship. Which I think does not tend to high salaries. I think it’s really like a “generic” masters degree.

    1. ThatGirl*

      My husband has an MA in mental health counseling, and while some clinicians in his field are pretty well paid, he is not. It definitely depends.

    2. ariel*

      Yeah, I’m interested in that category and wish I could remember what the survey asked!

    3. Drago Cucina*

      Yes, and the MLIS skews wildly in compensation depending upon the type of library.

      I went from being underpaid for my position and region four years ago. Now I skew to the high end because I changed my position and employer. Fortunately without relocating.

    1. goofBall*

      Yeah, I wonder if those in that age range look for less demanding, and less lucrative, positions as they approach retirement.

      At least that’s my plan — I don’t mind working, but I don’t want to work corporate for the rest of my career!

    2. Momma Bear*

      That’s an interesting dip. Given that so many women responded, I wonder if they’re caretakers for aging parents and step back and/or if that’s a point at which many men get Director level roles and women hit a glass ceiling.

      1. Llama Doc*

        In my case it’s a choice to work less after too many years of demanding work.

      2. Managing to get by*

        In my case a man with less experience beat me out for Director when I was right about 55 and my pay has stagnated since.

    3. Mim*

      I was wondering the same.

      I wonder if it’s due to early retirements from folks who had high enough salaries (and retirement contributions) to choose to retire before 65?

      And then the slight bump back up after that… IDK? Maybe it’s folks in prestigious positions (CEOs, for example) who are hanging on to that, with very high salaries outweighing the larger number of folks who can’t retire because their salaries have been too low for too long?

      Or maybe it’s just messy data above a certain age because of the demographics of who reads AAM.

    4. Ex-Teacher*

      I could see that reflecting situations where someone, post-retirement, has taken another job to supplement retirement income. In situations like this, such a person may be in a more entry-level position, or may be working a lower demand/lower pay position.

      In my family, that fits my father’s situation. He’s retired from a state government position, and then has taken a job in a federal government position with a goal of getting a second pension. The pay is less important than getting the service time required to get more retirement income.

      Others may be working in a job simply to have something to do. I’d bet there are people in their 60’s and 70’s who would fit a similar description, and they would skew the average downward in a way that’s not necessarily representative of late-career pay.

    5. Iusemymiddlename*

      Or it might be because older workers cannot find comparable jobs if they lose theirs due to layoffs, restructuring, etc. Age discrimination is real.

      1. pally*

        Thank you. It’s this exactly.

        I was trying to put the words together to express this.
        Mine was not so nice: It’s because no one will hire the older workers. Gotta take what they can get.

        1. anotherfan*

          yeah, when i was laid off at age 61, i took a $9,000 pay cut on my next job. But at least I was employed!

      2. Madame Arcati*

        I agree this could certainly be a reason. My partner (male 55) was made redundant and despite a proper and widely recognised qualification needed in practically any type of business/charity etc, it took him months to get a new job. And if it is taking you ages you obviously start looking at and applying for slightly lower paid roles. It came out ok in the end and I think in fact he wouldn’t have backed up this stat, but it was a very real possibility. And I recall one interview process where he definitely thought age discrimination was in play.

        On a related note for any brits – if you are mature and experienced but get to the stage where you need to have a chat with the DWP around benefits, be very wary of their “career advice”. It is very much aimed at the very young, the chronically unemployed, those with few formal qualifications etc. My partner (who fortunately found a new job before he’d had to deal with them long) was given some nonsensical advice; the thing that sticks out was, only go back ten years on your CV (and a CV, the convention in the UK, is not a resume, it’s all of it not just the good bits) which would mean missing off his professional qualification which was essential for all jobs he’d apply for! Like applying to work as an underwater welder but not listing your degree in submarine engineering and ten years welding submarines for the Royal Navy, because it was in the 2000s….

    6. Jamjari*

      I was wondering if this had more to do with the past than the present – where were we 15-20 years ago when they were starting to gain more experience in their field, and how does that reflect their current pay in a world without pay transparency and equity? Whereas those who were hitting their stride a little later might still be benefitting from a higher salary earlier in their careers.

    7. Anonymoose*

      My guess is the highest earners in each group start to retire early in higher numbers and so the lower earners are more heavily represented when looking at 30+ years in the workforce

    8. sadness*

      I am … not surprised. I’m in tech, in my late 50’s, got laid off a year ago, and the only job I’ve been offered pays 20% less than what I made before. So, yeah, not surprised.

    9. Freddy*

      This is almost exactly where the divide between Boomer and Gen X is, as well. I know as a Gen X er, after watching my mother tolerate crap from her employers her entire working life, I won’t put up with the stuff that she did. Including being low balled on salary. I wonder if I’m not the only one of my generation doing the same thing.

    10. RedinSC*

      At 56 I changed careers and took a pay cut because I had spent the previous 20+ years building up and up in my career, and just didn’t want to anymore. I do wonder if others get there as well? I no longer wanted to manage, I also no longer wanted to be one of the big decision makers. So, I would contribute to that pay drop there,. Last year in this survey I earned more than I did this year.

  7. Nel*

    Oof, this was a little hard to take. I have a master’s degree and make less than those with only a high school diploma and 2-4 years experience. I love being a teacher, but the pay is harder and harder to stomach as time goes on and I fall further and further behind my peers.

    1. Beth*

      I was also struck by how little of a difference a masters degree makes these days–or even a PHD. Only a professional degree seems to give a really major salary jump.

    2. Wordnerd*

      Yep, I have a master’s degree and 10 years experience, but I also work in underfunded, red-state, public higher ed. The news is not good.

    3. profe*

      Yeah, as usual my takeaway is that I shouldn’t be a teacher :’)
      (I do like my career and my current job is the best fit for me personally that I’m likely to get, but it hurts to think that I’m tied to that starting salary with minimal COL raises until I move or change careers)

    4. Bee*

      Yeah, I’m at a point in my life where I feel like my income/expense ratio is ok, if not ideal, especially considering that I’m single. I have to budget but have plenty of budget for fun stuff, you know? But I looked at this chart and just thought to myself “I have to get out.”

    5. Madame Arcati*

      I’m not getting much out of the spreadsheet this time (anyone know how you “control+F” on an iPad?) but last year I did note some one with my job title, similar age and experience, only difference was them being in the US not the uk, and they earned twice was I do. So it’s interesting that although over here the civil service (government workers) don’t command very high salaries at most levels, that’s not the same in the US?
      The averages for my age ame experience or quals, are about two thirds more than what I get. But I really don’t know how much of that is higher salaries in the private sector or public sector pays better in US. A mix, I dare say.

  8. Beth*

    On the one hand, this makes me feel like I’m roughly on track for my field and experience level.

    On the other, it makes me wonder even more how anyone affords to live these days! If average salary caps out around $100k (which, looking at the age demographic graph, seems to be the point where it levels out for this population), then an average 2-income household can expect to max out around $200k. That’s a lot in some areas, but in a lot of cities it’s not enough to afford big ticket items like buying a house or saving for retirement. It would be cool to see a graph on average salaries for different locations (rural vs small city vs metropolis vs remote workers?).

    1. Excel Gardener*

      Housing affordability is definitely an issue in most cities to some extent, but in all but a small handful of very expensive cities (I’m thinking NY, LA, SF, maybe Boston or DC) you should be able to easily afford a home and retirement savings on a dual income of $200k a year, especially if you’re willing to move out to the suburbs. I live in a city which until a year or two ago had a rapidly increasing cost of living and isn’t exactly cheap, and you can still find plenty of starter homes under $400k outside of downtown and a few other highly desirable neighborhoods.

      1. Beth*

        It’s the big ones I’m thinking about with this. As someone who’s spent most of my adult life in either NYC or LA, I know my perspective on cost-of-living is different than most of the country! You could live VERY comfortably in my hometown on $200k, and do fine on far less. Where I am now, I’d have to drive a couple hours–not exactly commuting distance–to buy a house for $500k.

        But I’m far from alone in living in a HCOL area. The LA, NYC, and SF metro areas alone account for almost 40 million people, which is over a tenth of the US population. And my impression is that there are other cities (Boston, DC, Seattle, Honolulu, basically every city in California) where COL might not be as high as those three cities, but is high enough to push salaries up. That’s a solid chunk of the population making HCOL-adjusted salaries. I would’ve assumed that would’ve skewed the average salary higher.

        If the average for a 2-income household is around $200k, and that reflects that a decent percent of the population lives in areas where salaries are usually inflated due to significantly higher COL, then I have to think that either 1) most HCOL people aren’t making enough to offset just how expensive these areas are (so they don’t actually skew the salaries up that much), and/or 2) people in LCOL areas must be making a LOT less (so they’re skewing it back down just as hard as HCOL people are skewing it up). Either way, it doesn’t sound like most people are prospering.

    2. Person from the Resume*

      My friends all make less than me. I think $50K would be a very big salary bump for them. But we live in a city and most rent. I probably could buy (maybe not IN the city), but why would I want the hassle?

    3. mreasy*

      Our combined income is $300K plus we have some windfall from a few years back and there is no reality in which we can afford a home – we live in NYC.

  9. daffodil*

    Just to be clear — the average income for AAM readers is quite a bit higher than the average in the US. So I think there’s a significant skew here. Still surprised, though. I knew I was underpaid for a PhD with 11 years of experience but I’m not even on the box and whisker plot.

    1. Nel*

      Yeah, it’s worth noting that the sort of people who regularly read a workplace advice column are going to largely be invested in their career, which sometimes (not always) tends towards higher earnings.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        Yeah, and I also think the website is likely to attract people like managers because at that level, a lot of workplace problems become your problems. While I know there are people who read here for advice on applying for jobs or getting a feel for workplace norms when starting your career or honestly, just for entertainment/general info, I suspect the number of readers in well-paid leadership positions is going to be higher than in the general population because those are the roles in which you run into a lot of workplace dilemmas. (Sure, we all have to deal with the guy who microwaves fish in the breakroom, but it’s generally the manager who is the one who has to find a way to tell him to knock it off.)

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          And to take that one step further, the casual reader may not be invested enough to take the time to fill out a survey – or even a regular commenter. I didn’t this time because I haven’t historically found the breakdowns of these to be very helpful.

          1. Goldfeesh*

            I’m a casual reader. I have a bachelor’s degree that isn’t used in the job I currently have. I work part-time at a restaurant. My husband is basically retired and gets disability after two back surgeries/steel rods, etc. We do own our duplex outright- rural small town. We also have three rental properties with no rent being above $600- and these places are not pits. We would live in any of the rentals. However, I don’t see how this info would fit into the questionnaire too well since nothing is a straight salary. I have a feeling we could be living better than someone making three times what we do since we don’t have much for outgoing expenses.

      2. Caramel & Cheddar*

        I’m not especially invested in my career, I just really like advice blogs and workplace boundaries. :D

        1. Elsewise*

          I also just like advice blogs! I read a lot of Dear Abby in the papers growing up. Honestly, I think I might just be nosy and like reading about other people’s problems. (I do think AAM readers are probably more invested in their careers than the general population, and are more likely to be white-collar workers to boot. Some of us are just also invested in the drama.)

        2. Grim*

          Me too! I’ve never worked in an office job and probably never will, which is what a lot of the advice on this blog skews towards. I still feel like I learn a few useful things about workplace interactions, job interviews, etc, but most of the advice is not applicable to me. I just find it interesting anyway, and it gives me insight into the work lives of other people.

          1. Katie Impact*

            Same here. I’m technically in a field that’s considered “professional”, but in a weird sub-branch of it where I’m stringing together little contract jobs to make ends meet and probably always will be, and where professional norms aren’t always the same as a typical office job. Sometimes when I read the comments here I get that feeling you get when you’ve accidentally walked into an area of a building that isn’t open to the public and you realize you’re not supposed to be there, but nobody’s shooed me out yet, so…

      3. No Tribble At All*

        Also this skews toward white-collar (office) work. People who are very invested in their career as, say, a professional musician, or a baker, aren’t as likely to be online all day.

    2. Tradd*

      Box and whisker plot? First time I’ve ever heard that phrase! Off to google!

    3. Chidi has a stomach ache*

      Yeah, I thought the range for PhD’s might go lower — especially folks who are teaching/working in the humanities in universities, I see salaries there around 50k (or even lower if they are cobbling together adjunct positions instead of a full-time lecturer/tenure track role).

    4. Dr. QT*

      Same :( Although 55k/year is better than the 16k/year I was making adjuncting.

    5. Academic*

      Same thing here, also a PhD with several years of experience well under the box and whisker plot. To be fair, though, I didn’t fill out the survey…

  10. BeeCee*

    On PhD and professional degrees, take in account for the numbers of years not making the salary when pursuing an education. Many professionals and PhD acquired their degrees around age 30.

    Lifetime earnings may gives us a better picture than just the annual salary alone.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      and in the US, to see the lifetime financial benefit of a degree one also needs to deduct total student loan payments.

  11. watermelon fruitcake*

    While I’m here – in this case is average “mean”? If so, would “median” not be more valuable, considering the disproportionate impact extremes can have on means? All it takes is a few people pulling $500k+ to skew all the data upward.

    A survey of 10 people, 9 of whom are unemployed, and one of whom makes $1 MM, would give the impression that the average wage is $100k, which might not paint the most accurate picture.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      My data analysis muscles are also twitching to dive in and get more meaningful data outcomes

      1. Excel Gardener*

        Also, the comparisons don’t control for so many relevant factors, like industry, region, public vs. for profit vs. non-profit, etc. Not that there’s no insights to be gleaned from these high level statistics, but I’d encourage folks to be careful before drawing conclusions about whether they as individuals are over- or underpaid.

        1. KTM*

          Yes the industry breakdown is the biggest thing I’m itching to break this down into. I think it’s more of a driver of absolute salary than the degree. (While the level of degree will scale the salary within that industry)

    2. KatStat*

      As a statistician my first question at looking at the graphs was what measure is being used for average, mean or median. I assumed median just because mean can be so heavily influenced by outliers. But it would be helpful if that could be clarified.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        All the labeled data uses the mean so I’d assume that carries through, but that is of course an assumption.

      2. Adam*

        It’s pretty safe to assume that in any data presented to a general audience, the average is the mean.

    3. ampersand*

      I wondered the same–I haven’t looked at the spreadsheet yet, but I wonder if there’s a salary or two in there somewhere that is skewing the averages higher than normal.

      IIRC, last year’s survey results weren’t skewed quite so high? I could be wrong about that though.

    4. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      I immediately wondered too. An average is not usually a very useful number unless you throw out the extreme outliers on either end. A median is maybe more useful but depends on the sample size. In the example of 10 people, 9 of whom are unemployed… in my opinion, since the question is about salary/wage, those not employed should not be included at all. If they were each employed and making $1,000 that would be relevant to the average salary question.

      1. watermelon fruitcake*

        Fair point, it was a terrible example on my part but merely meant to demonstrate what an egregiously outsized impact very high earners have on wage averages, with really straightforward math.

        Let’s say those 9/10 are earning modest wages of $50k a year, and that 1/10 is still earning $1 MM. You end up with an “average” (mean) salary of $145k… With a median and mode of $50k. I actually had to check that in a calculator AND Excel to be sure of my mental math. Even knowing intuitively how much extreme outliers affect means – that is why I made the comment, after all! – it still didn’t seem intuitively correct. It’s a $95,000 difference, still, even when we raise the majority workforce’s wages from $0 to $50,000.

        It’s like, if you count the billionaire CEO’s compensation package, then gosh, the average employee at [Fortune 100 company] is doing quite well!

        Anyway, I suppose my angle is, if we are going to insist on using means as our averages, at the very least we should normalize the data i.e. eliminate the furthest extremes from consideration.

    5. Data Bear*

      Indeed. Anything involving money usually has a skewed distribution that makes medians far more informative than means.

      Speaking of distributions, I’d love to see violin plots instead of boxplots! You could even scale them to reflect the difference in number of responses by class, which would be quite interesting.

    6. desdemona*

      as an MFA holder who makes under 60k a year, I think these are averages with outliers dropped? Because I do not see my salary represented in the charts above, when range is indicated.

  12. An American(ish) Werewolf in London(ish)*

    That’s all lovely – I do have a couple of questions (of course):

    Last year, the graphs only showed US respondents, is that the same this year? I wonder how much the country one works in matters (though to do that properly, you’d need to take into account the cost of living in each country – I suspect my salary would go much further in some countries and some parts of the US than it does here, so would not be normalised, and that would be a job to do to normalise for each country)

    Also, has anyone looked at the geographic split? Both worldwide and the US? (Not saying one should have, just curious whether anyone has). If I get time over the next day or so, maybe I will :) (By that, I mean, I’m not expecting it from anyone else, just curious whether anyone has).

    1. An American(ish) Werewolf in London(ish)*

      OK, I can see why one would only look at this from a US standpoint; a quick and dirty pivot tells me that almost 83% of respondents listed the US as their location – and that doesn’t include the folk that wrote in to provide more detail (though, in truth, that wouldn’t affect the numbers as there are only a few of those). Canada makes up 6.42% and the UK 5.12% – and they are probably the only countries that have the scale to really make it worth diving in deeper.

  13. Overpaid Fed?*

    This makes me feel like I am …. Over paid. Late 30’s woman working in the government with about 15 years experience, with a master’s. My current salary would have skewed the data up and I’m about to get a promotion which would skew it up more. I do live in a HCOL area so if I went by base pay and not with locality, it would be mid-range.

    I will say that I was in charge of hiring 4 people into the government in the last year and fought pretty hard to get every one of them a pay raise and a higher accrual rate if there was even an inkling that they qualified for it.

    1. B*tch in the corner of the poster*

      Same here, Fed in DC with a masters…we’ve got it pretty good, apparently.

    2. I should really pick a name*

      Remember that this isn’t broken out by industry, region, or anything like that

    3. A Significant Tree*

      Same situation – my federal base salary is at the upper end of the range for degree and years of experience, but added locality pay bumps me pretty far up. I think it’s less being overpaid and more that, for federal jobs at least, location *really* matters.

    4. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I also read as overpaid by this, particularly working in nonprofits. However I am also in a major city. There are a lot of secondary factors I’d like to see to help make sense of this data – or primary factors, like medians.

    5. B*tch in the corner of the poster*

      I got curious and I looked at the general pay scale (GS level) for Government, and realized without my “COL” adjustment, I’d be exact almost to the dollar on that chart. Very interesting.

      1. Madame Arcati*

        Could you share the link to that please? Your comments and something on the survey last year make me think that my equivalents in the US (like you I am govt, hcol area, job totally would be in DC, and last year there was someone in dc with my job title and similar levels of experience on twice my salary) earn a LOT more than we do in the UK. Just nosey really.
        And not bitter as I suspect the healthcare side is worth quite a bit plus we get more paid leave (also I’m not sure but I think our state (as in, not a private pension, everyone gets it) old age pension is a bit kinder?

    6. NotAnotherManager!*

      Our experience with government pay is that it can be a little patchy. It tends to be higher for lower-level employees (especially with locality and benefits factored in), not competitive with private industry for mid-level or experienced non-managers, and good (with locality, benefits, and quality of life) at highest levels.

      My spouse falls into the middle, and he stays for the flexibility, health benefits, and pension. The last time his comp was reassessed (rescaled?), it took over a year for OPM to finish the analysis and more time to get the actual adjustment in place. Because he doesn’t want to manage people and isn’t a lawyer/doctor/MBA, he will never make it past a GS13 even if he stays another decade. Without locality pay, he’d be below average for his education and experience on the charts.

  14. Penny*

    yep, there I am at the very bottom of the whisker for those of us with masters degrees. It’s one thing to know that I’m massively underpaid in a VHCOL area (ten years teaching at the same private school! woo!) but another thing to see it like this. Ah well. I made my peace with it awhile ago; I love my job, so here I stay.

  15. I'm just here for the cats!*

    Does anyone feel a little crrummy by looking at this? I have a college degree and 5+ years experience in my current roll and I make the less than what the “some college” section. I am in higher ed in a public school, so that is a factor. And i know this is all averages and no one in a similar roll in other areas are making 60K. But it just makes me feel bad. I didn’t go the direct route to college. took some time after highschool and went back in 2008, and it took me 6 years (2.5 at community college and the rest at University) because I struggled with some remedial math. But this kind of makes me feel crummy.

    1. Hedgehog in a ball*

      Yep, feeling crummy here for sure (PhD, 15 years in field, <$40K)

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      This is EXTREMELY high level data that doesn’t reflect industry, geography, or many many other factors that impact average salaries for a specific job, degree, or experience level.

      I don’t want to undercut Angelique’s work by saying it’s so high level as to be useless, but it’s impossible to fit yourself into a specific spot on the graphs without more granular information. This data should only be used to digest very large trends in the user base of this website, not to compare yourself.

      (And I know it’s impossible not to, that’s not how human brains work. But if you’re feeling crummy or writing your resignation letter over this – DON’T)

      1. I'm just here for the cats!*

        Oh I’m not leaving. I understand that we all in my department need and deserve more. But with the political climate in my state, It took the governor threatening legal action to get our 4% raise. And their are other factors besides pay that make me want to stay.

        A lot of it is I didn’t do a straight path, and so sometimes it feels like I’m behind folx who I graduated with.

    3. callitaday79*

      Yes, turning 45 and can’t make ends meet and been out of college longer.

    4. Jalen*

      I think that these types of assumptions make people with only a HS diploma feel kinda crummy. This comes off as very dismissive of the value of high skilled trades and other careers that don’t require a college degree.

      I’m sorry that your degree hasn’t gotten you the compensation you want.

      1. Managing While Female*

        Many degrees come with considerable debt that people have to pay off for years after the fact, and a lot of the time when people seek a degree it’s because they were told that it would increase their earning potential. When that is not the case, and you’re just left with a lot of debt, it’s understandably upsetting. No one is dismissing people without college degrees.

      2. Elle*

        This is a good point. I really feel for folks who were told that a degree was the path to a solid career and financial success but did not find that to be true. I am without a degree myself (I think the current preferred term is “skilled through other means”?) and, according to this survey, making more than what a PhD with 40 years experience makes. I’ve seen a fair bit of sour grapes from peers with degrees but not too much on AAM.

  16. DrSalty*

    Interesting data! I suggest adding N values to the last few graphs, since it appears the gender data is extremely skewed by the small number of responses for some categories.

  17. Garblesnark*

    This is incredible to contemplate next to the knowledge that there are multiple neighborhoods in my city where the average annual household income is $11,000. Yes, I am in the United States.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      This site skews heavily to upper-middle class professional with 1 or more degrees

      1. Garblesnark*

        I will be over here continuing to find it dystopian that so many people out-earn 18 families.

          1. Garblesnark*

            I live in a medium cost of living city where many people, some of whom I know personally, earn over 200k.

            Many poor people have degrees. Many poor people are professionals. Many poor people have decades of work experience. Many poor people work in a wide variety of industries, and there are very poor people in every city in the United States.

            I can, indeed, compare averages to other averages.

          2. SBQQ_Custom_Object__c*

            Hi there! I am a DO who left medicine and now works in finance. I have to “donate” plasma to provide a stable roof over my child’s head and end a 70hr work week waiting in line at a food bank.

            We do exist across several industries, cities, levels of education, gender identities, etc. I understand this might make you uncomfortable, but that doesn’t change the facts.

  18. Workaholic*

    This is awesome! but also depressing lol. I have college degree +, 20+ yrs experience (11 with same company) and make less than $50k/yr.

    1. Pam Adams*

      As does my sister, who teaches in a Head Start program. Pre-school is considered child-care, not education,

    2. Walter*

      I have a high school GED and make $180K with 25 years of experience. Your degree is irrelevant.

      1. Managing While Female*

        Can we not? No one is trying to condescend people without degrees, but the traditional ‘wisdom’ given to kids going to college is “go to college, spend a few years working hard to earn a degree, don’t worry about the debt because you’ll earn a higher salary with your degree.” That hasn’t been true for a lot of people and, yes, there are many people without degrees who earn more than people with degrees, but no one here is trying to be elitist. They’re just pointing out that a lot of people were sold the idea of college as something great for earning potential, when it’s just brought on a lot of debt with little added benefit.

      2. basically functional*

        Anecdotes are not data. One person with a GED out-earning another person with a BA doesn’t negate the overall statistical trend that education and salary are correlated. Also not sure how bragging about your salary while dismissing Workaholic’s education contributes productively to the conversation, but good for you, I guess.

      3. Elle*

        Cool attitude, bro! I’m glad you get an ego boost from making more than people whose job is educating future generations.

        Teachers should be making CEO money and I’ll die on that hill. I had too many crappy ones as a kid to think the way we treat them w/r/t compensation is sustainable or wise.

  19. Normal Rachel*

    not women, trans, and nonbinary people being the vast majority of the leadership and making the least!

      1. Justin*

        As others have noted, the smaller number of men responding means that a few people with super high salaries can skew it much more easily.

    1. Trans Man Reader*

      I am a trans man, but marked “man” for that question. I doubt I am the only trans person who did that.

      1. gobaseball*

        I did that but it really felt like it forced me not to acknowledge the entirety of my story. I should get to be trans without having to claim to be nonbinary and nonbinary individuals should get to be nonbinary without feeling like they are a placeholder for the entire trans community.

  20. LabManagerGuy*

    This is all very interesting! The only real surprise for me (that shouldn’t have been a surprise, given how long I’ve been hanging around on this site) is the enormously lopsided gender distribution. I tend to forget that a lot of men don’t read advice sites!

    1. Justin*

      It’s my favorite thing, I don’t understand much of my gender-mates’ behavior.

  21. Anonomatopoeia*

    Meanwhile, I’m interested in the circle graph of work location relative to the under the circle bar graph of salary information. On site is a large group, but is paid the least, and fully remote gets paid the most (general caveats about potential skew when respondents self-select etc). Not surprising, since the bulk of work that HAS to be on site is in areas like custodial, front-line clerical, security, and so on (and the same things that made this deeply annoying during the height of the pandemic all still exist), but I am now pondering how to represent the relationship between work location, pay average, and work type.

    1. Lluviata*

      I noticed that too! In my case, I would not have qualified for my remote job earlier in career. I was wondering if that was common, and so people in remote jobs were likely to have at least X years experience (10 years in my case), while on site jobs span the entire career range from entry-level to very senior.

    2. Anonymoose*

      Generally speaking you need more leverage/capital/seniority to wfh full time, and people that have more capital/leverage/seniority also command higher salaries

  22. HugeTractsofLand*

    Thank you for putting these together! If you’re like me and work in education/non-profits and feel depressed by these salary averages…this is why we need a breakdown by industry.

    1. Justin*

      I do education for a non-education non-profit (ie I am the Education Expert Person) – the industry tells us we can’t be paid well but we can!

  23. Ihmmy*

    Is this just the USA respondents data? If including international, did you convert currency to USDollars?

  24. Ainsley*

    I always thought the comment section skewed towards being mostly female (not a bad thing, just a general vibe I got) – I was right!

  25. I am somebody*

    The week after I posted my salary, I got a raise! WooHooo!!

    Can I change my salary on the spreadsheet?

  26. Auntie Social*

    Welp, I’m clearly under-earning by about *half* of the average wage level for my education and career experience.

    Time to brush up the resume.

  27. J*

    Can anyone explain the box and whisker plots to me? I understand how this type of plot works, but they say they’re a distribution by education AND experience, and I don’t see how the experience is shown in the plot at all.

  28. Stuart Foote*

    I wonder if the statistical analysis took outliers into account–there were some people that missed some zeros on their salary, and few that definitely added some.

  29. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

    I’m being silly but what counts as Other/It’s Complicated on the Physical Work Location chart? If I’m neither at the job site, nor remote, nor a hybrid combination of those two… am I in space? wait…that would seem to still be on the job site if I’m an astronaut…or remote if I’m not an astronaut.

    1. Kimmy Schmidt*

      A few possibilities I can think of:
      – the work takes place in someone else’s home (caregiver, nanny, chef)
      – the work is only traveling from place to place (auditor, health inspector, sales representative, flight attendant)
      – it’s a multiweek on/multiweek off situation where someone is at their job site for X weeks then home X weeks (oil rig, cruise ship, mining)

      1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

        I would think “on site” refers to being required to be physically in any location the employer designates, not just an office, so wouldn’t chef, caregiver, flight attendant, auditor …still be on site? I guess oil rig and cruise ship — and active-duty military too — would be probably be an Other because they are both job and home.

        1. Person from the Resume*

          Many active duty military would be onsite. Unless they’re deployed or on a ship that deployed, they go home most nights.

    2. NotARealManager*

      I selected that option because I’m not officially in office, or hybrid, or remote. I’m in the office most of the time, but I can also be a combination of any of the above when needed.

    3. RM*

      I think I used it because I’m a “centralized services” worker who supports multiple locations. I sit in our local corporate office which is hybrid but weird social pressure to work in office 100% by my boss specifically. But I am permanently remote to some of the locations I support in other cities, and the working style/relationships are different for that reason.

  30. Trev*

    I didn’t input my data because it didn’t make distinctions between PRN and part time work. If I inputted the way the algorithm wanted it would look like I was making close to $100,000 a year when I may closer to 30,000 and even full time people only work 32 hours a week on average and would not get the PRN rate.

  31. aceowl*

    Oh, wow. I’m a librarian and I knew we didn’t get paid a lot, but I’m… way below the average for everything here. PLUS I’m in a growing HCOL area and our pay doesn’t reflect the new reality of living here…

    1. Slovenly Braid Cultist*

      Looking at this I am making about half of the average based on my education and tenure, which doesn’t surprise me but does depress me.

      (No, I am not in a nonprofit. I am usually that girl hyena-laughing with panic when people talk in the comments about how low nonprofit salaries are because I’m never going to make that much money.)

  32. ink4coffee*

    Wow. Probably due to a low COL area, but with a Master’s degree and 10+ years of experience in my field (closer to 15), I’m paid dramatically lower than what these charts read. I also consider myself overpaid compared to others in my field (higher education). Very interesting – it would be neat to see these adjusted for COL and region and other factors to see the distribution in different ways.

    1. NotARealManager*

      I also have a Master’s Degree with 10+ years of overall experience (but I’m in a high COLA) and I’m not even close to approaching the average salary of those demographics here. I know this survey isn’t meant to be taken as gospel, but, ouch.

        1. Justin*

          Yes, sometimes it’s a certification of specific technical knowledge. It’s not the same as work experience but it’s not useless.

    2. fhqwhgads*

      If you look at the raw data you can filter by location and get a better sense of it.

  33. Anon for this one*

    Happy to see that my salary is $15K over those others listed for my industry (not saying what), but I am in a high COL US area. I’ve worked my butt off to get here. Bachelor’s degree and 30+ years industry experience. I will say it’s not education, medical, or tech.

  34. K*

    Also, the therapist who’s making 120 K, I have questions for you. Namely, who do you work for? Are they hiring?

  35. Alba*

    This data reinforces for me that “some college” is worthless. Go to college or don’t, but if you go, you have to finish your degree for it to have the kind of payoff that you presumably paid tuition and/or took out loans for. I’ve been on many hiring committees and while I know this varies by industry and role, in my experience no one ever cared about a person’s school, major or GPA – only whether or not they had the degree itself.

    1. Filosofickle*

      Agreed. Most people don’t plan on not finishing, it happens because things like life, health, and money get in the way. But the cost of college — tuition/fees, loan interest, and even time you could have been working and earning — is so high that taking the hit without getting the benefit can be the worst of all worlds. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it worthless because college courses can be beneficial personally and on the job, but the job application only cares if you finished.

    2. Elle*

      Just speaking as a “some college” no-degree person… I mean, I would have loved to have finished. But I was raised in a religious cult that forbade higher education, had to attend secretly, and then had to quit to support myself when my family disowned me. People don’t just quit college because they figured they got what they came for. They quit because their parents died and they had to take care of younger siblings, because the money ran out and they don’t have family support, because a chronic illness got bad, etc etc.

      I’m guessing that many other “some college” respondents would have loved to have actually finished if they could have.

  36. WantonSeedStitch*

    I’m in a situation where I live in a high COL area, but am in a relatively low COL sector (nonprofit), but a relatively high-paying employer within that sector (major university). It all seems to be a wash, and I’m around average.

  37. Baska*

    Well, I’m feeling significantly underpaid now. 42 years old, office manager at a small liberal church, master’s degree, working 3/4 time and making $43k CAD. If I were to adjust that to full-time equivalent ($57k CAD), it would be $42k USD. So, y’know, about half of what the “average” person with my education and experience is making. [cries]

    1. Anon in Canada*

      Canadian companies significantly underpay their employees compared to American companies. I’m only making 45k in a super high COL area.

    2. Walter*

      The masters is irrelevant. Sitting through a few extra ckasss shouldn’t mean more salary unless you’re also contributing more to the business.

    3. PotatoRock*

      Field/industry is a huge factor too though

      Your post did make me think about what a middle-class-focused rate of exchange would be, like a purchasing-power-parity rate, but also adjusted for things like Canadian health care – an interesting challenge!

  38. WellRed*

    These avg salaries seem awfully high. Who are all these people making over 100k?

    1. Jinni*

      Everyone I know earns over $100K – but living in a HCOL area – LA/NYC/SF, plus many who had/have student loans from professional school, it’s not a lot to live on…

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Same for DC. My spouse earns just over $100K but would not if it were not for the locality pay for the HCOL region. If we lived even 100 miles south of here, he’d be under it even with 20 years of relevant work experience. (Of course, our housing costs would also not be quite as insane.) My job doesn’t exist 100 miles south of here, so here we are in the DC metro.

      1. Walter*

        Because they’re immediately productive and monetarily valuable to their companies?

    2. estreen*

      I ask myself these questions here all the time when I see people complaining about only making 4 times what I make. And then they claim it’s really not that much because of the COL where they are, but I’m in NYC. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a whole different reality.

  39. Kate*

    The Ph.D. averages seem high to me. Making a note to answer the survey next time it comes along . . .

    1. Justin*

      Well, not all of us with the dr. are academics. I’d be making a lot less if I was.

  40. another data analyst*

    In the graphs with salary averages or ranges, does it refer only to answers in US dollars? And if that’s the case, are the graphs that don’t show salary (physical work location, race and gender distribution) also restricted to US based respondents, or do they refer to the whole set?

  41. Brain the Brian*

    My salary versus what people in my peer age, experience, and education brackets depresses me every year in this survey. I know my industry is notoriously underpaid, but yeesh.

  42. Anon in Canada*

    Jeeze Americans get paid so much more than Canadians – and have much lower housing costs too. Canada sucks.

    I’m mid-30s, have well over 10 years of experience and despite all my best efforts have never been able to earn more than 45k CAD (33k USD). That’s in a city with higher housing costs than New York, Boston or Washington.

    This is mega-depressing.

    1. sadness*

      While this is true, we tend to have much lower student loans – especially if you went to university and did co-op, and much lower health costs. Quick online search shows that I would be paying about $500USD per month to cover 60% of medical costs for Obamacare. The surgery I had a few years ago would cost $25,000USD + hospital stay.

      1. Anon in Canada*

        True, Americans have expenses that Canadians don’t have (read: health insurance), so the comparison is not easy to make. But let’s also not forget the huge discrepancy in housing costs – unless you’re in the few remaining low-cost provinces (SK, MB, NL), housing costs a lot more in Canada than in comparable locations in the US.

        1. Jalen*

          Is this really true? Housing costs in a place like Toronto or Vancouver are so much more than New York or San Francisco? Can you point to a source?

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      Americans also have to pay a lot more out of pocket – see health care, student loans/tuition, and family leave. The biggest cause of bankruptcy in the US is medical debt. It’s a bit of a gamble – if everything works out in your life, you should be fine. If even one thing throws you off course, it can be devastating.

      1. Managing While Female*

        This. I actually was just reading an article on NPR today about people going into significant debt just due to pregnancy/childbirth medical expenses WITH top-tier insurance. The US may seem like a low cost of living place, but it comes with a lot of potential surprise hidden fees. It’s like thinking you found a good deal by flying a budget airline, but spending way more because of 1,000 different upcharges.

        1. Anon in Canada*

          Good comparison. Under this idea, Canada would be Delta and the US would be Spirit.

          Everyday expenses are higher in Canada (gasoline, food, sales tax, and in most provinces, housing) but large “surprise” expenses are less common, and Canadian women get paid maternity leave.

  43. nothanksbuddy*

    One challenge I had was that I am trans but not nonbinary and in my case was recorded as male (because that was the closest) but it was inaccurate to my identity. Having an option for those of us who are trans but who are not specifically nonbinary would have helped.

  44. Danish*

    Well, I do feel good to see I’m just about average for industry experience and sliiightly under for experience overall – I’ve had a slow and rocky start to my “career” and struggle sometimes feeling behind. Apparently my path still worked out pretty okay.

    Thanks everyone who contributed!

  45. PlainJane*

    Thank you… I think. This taught me that after 24 years in my field, I’m making less than the average for someone in their first year at my degree level. (Combined with someone telling me, after I mentioned my salary, “Yeah, I guess if you live alone, that’s KINDA middle class. On the low end.”)

  46. Roja*

    I think this really shows how much higher-income AAM readership skews. The income distribution here is WAY over the US average. I really don’t believe the average person with a high school diploma is making over $50k/year by the time they’re 30 (let alone $30k fresh out of high school). At least, that’s not been true in the lower COL cities/states I’ve lived in .

    1. Jalen*

      I think the avg person with a HS diploma who’s in a management position is the profile of person who reads AAM tho. There’s so much casual negative bias against people who make less than certain posters – I actually think it’s pretty rude an dismissive. What’s the point of saying something like this? To make yourself feel better?

    2. Garblesnark*

      I think that’s definitely true.

      I imagine AAM readers are more likely to be thinking proactively about career and salary, but I doubt that’s all of it.

      Also, I suspect people who make a living wage are more likely to be willing to fill it out.

    3. PotatoRock*

      Probably all of those factors, but in my MCOL city, there are lots of jobs you could get straight out of high school paying $20-$25/hour (40-50k working full time)

  47. sswj*

    Dayum. I’m WELL below the curve at 62, working full time, and earning maybe 50k.

    Retail management, sigh …

    On the upside, I do at least like my job, my staff, and my customers.

  48. DorothyGale*

    I am really not making enough money. I’m curious why average was used as opposed to median salary though. Usually for salary statistics I see the median number reported.

    1. allathian*

      Yes, I was wondering the same thing. The median and standard deviation would give some interesting info on outliers.

  49. weckar*

    To put this into perspective; what’s the currency used here? Because I remember on the survey being able to pick my own.

    1. Your Mate in Oz*

      I expect they’re converted, either basic currency conversion or hopefully CoL based (which would be tricky for the more grossly inequitable countries). Otherwise if nothing else you’e got euros and yen magically becoming dollars and that’s just not gunna work… mate :P

  50. Mad_Bear_Lady*

    I would be really interested (for purely nosy reasons) to know where most of your readers are from! I know you’ll have a majority USA contingent, but I’m from the UK and I also see quite a few Irish respondents in the comments.

    Could it be something to do in the future maybe?

    BTW, I love this AAM. Thank you, as always!

  51. tinyhipsterboy*

    This is great info, but it also makes me feel worse, lol. I’m nowhere near the average salary despite years of experience and a college degree.

  52. Michelle Smith*

    I guess I should have gotten a different professional degree, goodness! I do not make anywhere near that.

  53. Panne*

    Wow, a great overview! I suspect most participants are either in the US and similar countries or on the manager/director levels though.

    I’m not sure about other continents, but in Europe the incomes tend to be lower on average, but with a higher standard of living than the same income would get you in the US, for example. I wish there was a way to correct for all the factors that affect the way an average translates into standard of living. That would be so interesting!

Comments are closed.