Archive for the ‘Salary & Pay’ Category

I was reading the excellent New York Times blog The Choice this morning and was happy when I read the top headline. A City Council Asks Washington to Forgive Student Loans. Jacques Steinberg explains:

In explaining its action, the council noted in its resolution that “the average debts of students graduating with loans rose from $18,796 in 2006 to $20,098 in 2007, according to the Project on Student Debt.” The Council argued that “forgiving student loan debt would have a stimulating effect on the economy.”

Specifically, the resolution imagines how “responsible people who did nothing other than pursue a higher education would have hundreds, if not thousands of extra dollars per month to spend, fueling the economy,” and that, “as a result, tax revenues would go up, the credit markets will unfreeze and jobs will be created.”

Now, you might not agree with the council, and you might have ideological problems with that kind of debt forgiveness. I think one of the best results of this issue being raised is that it brings the issue of student loans to the forefront. I talked about the issue a bit a few posts ago, and think it’s worth bringing up again.

I know my fair share of friends whose loan debt is way above $20,098. In fact, so many that I almost want to call shenanigans on that figure, but whatever. So, students, graduates, and anyone else–what do you think about this? Is a complete or partial debt forgiveness the way to go? Would it affect how you looked for a job? For example, if you suddenly had no loan debt, would  you be willing to take a job that paid less? I’m curious to hear your thoughts!


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I would be lying if I said I’ve never had money woes. The college years were especially tough. It wasn’t unusual for my friends and I to pool our money to split a pizza…or something from the dollar menu of a burger joint.

This–shall we say less than appealing–economy is making plenty of people feel a financial pinch. They’re looking for new ways to earn some extra cash. A CareerBuilder survey found that 10 percent of workers began working a second job in the last year in order to supplement their income.

A new survey asked workers to list some of the most unusual ways they earned extra money. There are some of the most entertaining responses.

  • Used a portable propane burner to heat oil, and sold catfish dinners on his front porch
  • Made Star Wars costumes for people
  • Donated blood plasma
  • Researched stories for a gossip columnist
  • Won money on a game show
  • Juggled chainsaws in a talent competition
  • Posed for an art class
  • Worked as a tarot card reader
  • Wrote a freelance article on Big Foot
  • Took notes in class for college students
  • Took items from the Lost & Found and sold them online
  • Gave people in the office hair cuts
  • Tested recipes for a book
  • Worked as a movie extra
  • Participated in product testing for bandages
  • Played in Poker tournaments
  • Participated in university research studies

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Commencement processionToday, we have a guest blog about salaries for the Class of 2009 from our friends at Parade magazine. Parade has been contributing weekly content to CareerBuilder and TheWorkBuzz related to its “What People Earn” issue, which reports on salary trends and the earnings of real Americans.

What People Earn: College Graduates Finding Bright Spots in Dreary Economy

By Brad Dunn, PARADE

The Class of 2009 has been watching the job market disintegrate since senior year began.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) released another round of discouraging data in early May. Fewer than one in five graduates who are looking for jobs have found one, and employers are planning to hire 22 percent fewer graduates this year than they did last year.

On top of that, the worst job market in 25 years has brought of a sense of déjà vu to households across the country. Many of the estimated 1.6 million students graduating college in May and June have parents who went searching for their first jobs in the equally dismal early-1980s. It’s an economic rerun for the whole family.

“You are graduating into a world of anxiety and uncertainty,” Vice President Joe Biden told graduates of Syracuse University. “But these are the moments you can embrace … only a handful of us ever get a chance to actually shape the course of history.”


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On Monday, CBCampus Ambassador Molly talked about her thoughts on starting salaries. Today we continue that discussion with some thoughts from other ambassadors.

kristina-pKristina’s expectations:
Since I’ll be graduating, to enter into an entry-level position, I’m hoping and assuming my salary will be somewhere near $30,000 a year.  Of what I have heard, this is a general amount to be searching for, especially for someone with a communications degree. During the harsh economic times, this is more than I could ask for.

Jessica’s game plan:
jessica-hAs a communication and advertising major with a public relations specialization, I expect to earn $35,000-$45,000 with my educational background.  I would like to work for an advertising agency as a assistant account executive.

This range is dependent on the city I choose to live and work.  However, I expect a slightly higher range if I am lucky enough to live in a major metropolitan city.

Within five years, I would like to earn between $40,000-$75,000.  I plan on my compensation increasing as I move into account executive or management positions.

mike-s1And Mike feels his generation’s been under so much pressure, they’re not unreasonable to expect high salaries:
After working very hard for 4-6 years, you expect that big payout where you can say “All my hard work has paid off.” Now we come to hear from our teachers that “Oh your expectations are unrealistically high.” Personally I think a decent starting salary for me is about $50,000 annually with all the bells and whistles to go along with that and then in five years, I think it should be close to $80,000. You might say that is high but I think that my peers and I would agree that my salary expectations are reasonable given the pressure and stress that we have been put through.

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Choosing a major is a personal process. Each student has his or her own reason to study a particular field. Some people view college as a chance for exploration; others see it as training for a job. Of course there are more reasons, and an endless combination of points of view on the matter.

Regardless of our chief reason for college, somewhere on the list is the notion that you’ll earn back the money you spend. After all, you might love the idea of an education for the experience of it all, but you’re probably not going to shell out a small fortune for medical school if you don’t actually intend to practice medicine and cover your costs. Everyone, I assume, hopes they’ll be able to find a job upon graduation and live on that salary, at least until they get a raise.

We asked CBCampus Ambassadors how much they expect to earn when they land their first job and how it influenced their education. First to offer her thoughts is Molly:

molly-bIn May, I will graduate with a degree in Communications and a specialization in public relations. I am glad I chose to major in these areas. They are something I am interested in. But the only problem: both communications and public relation positions are not at the high end of the salary continuum. After graduation, I expect to find a career where I make $30,000-$35,000 a year. Unfortunately, this number is far lower than some of my friend’s salaries who have already graduated in different areas of concentration. For example, I have a friend who majored in finance and his starting salary was $50,000.

Although an entry-level communications/public relations position has a low starting salary, there is always room for growth. Once experience is gained in these areas, an employee will eventually be promoted and qualified to take on higher positions. It is here where these professionals can make a greater salary – six figures or higher.

So yes – I still plan on achieving my big dreams, but I am going to have to work to get there. Although a starting salary for a communications/public relations position is lower than most other concentrations, I truly enjoy working in these areas. That’s all that counts, right?

How about you all? Did money play a huge role in picking a major? Are you happy with your decision?

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We all know the famous TV show, “The Apprentice,” which features contestants from around the globe competing to be an apprentice to the infamous Donald Trump.

While going on the reality show might be a bit extreme, the show might be onto something with the apprenticeship idea. As the availability of student loans shrink, one author says people may want to bypass a college degree and consider an apprenticeship instead as an entry route to their career.

“You don’t have to shell out tens of thousands of dollars in tuition or endure basic training in a distant boot camp to get entry into your career. An apprenticeship provides job training in which you can become a highly skilled worker through a combination of work site learning and minimal classroom learning,” says Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., co-author of the recently released book “200 Best Jobs Through Apprenticeships, Second Edition.”

“An apprenticeship is sometimes called ‘the other four-year degree’ because it often takes four years and it results in a nationally recognized credential that can open the door to income and job security that can be as good as or better than what college graduates enjoy,” he adds.

Shatkin crunched numbers from the Department of Labor to identify the best “apprenticeable” jobs. The following occupations topped the list:

Paralegals and legal assistants

Annual Earnings: $44,990

Percent Growth: 22.2 percent

Annual Openings: 22,756

Computer support specialists

Annual Earnings: $42,400

Percent Growth: 12.9 percent

Annual Openings: 97,334

Construction and building inspectors

Annual Earnings: $48,330

Percent Growth: 18.2 percent

Annual Openings: 12,606

Radiologic technologists

Annual Earnings: $50,260

Percent Growth: 15.1 percent

Annual Openings: 12,836

Police patrol officers

Annual Earnings: $49,630

Percent Growth: 10.8 percent

Annual Openings: 37,842

Correctional officers and jailers

Annual Earnings: $36,970

Percent Growth: 16.9 percent

Annual Openings: 56,579

Licensed practical and vocational nurses

Annual Earnings: $37,940

Percent Growth: 14.0 percent

Annual Openings: 70,610

Pipe fitters and steamfitters

Annual Earnings: $44,090

Percent Growth: 10.6 percent

Annual Openings: 68,643


Annual Earnings: $44,090

Percent Growth: 10.6 percent

Annual Openings: 68,643

Surgical technologists

Annual Earnings: $37,540

Percent Growth: 24.5 percent

Annual Openings: 15,365

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It’s official: 2008 is over and it’s time to focus on all the possibilities that lie ahead in 2009. Much as we would like it to, time doesn’t stand still, even in a rough economy — which means that in five short months, many of you will be graduating. Which means that pretty soon, you’ll be searching the rough, dangerous waters that are the current job market along with the rest of us.

To help you in your search, we looked to one of our salary partners, ERI Economic Research Institute, which publishes various salary data. One interesting list they’ve compiled is top starting salaries by degree. The list was created from the Salaries Review College Graduate Salary Survey Report. In creating this survey, ERI Economic Research Institute utilized the degrees defined and reported upon by the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics.

Here is what they came up with:

Degree field: Engineering
Job offer: $49,707

Degree field: Computer Programming
Job offer: $46,775

Degree field: Mathematics
Job offer: $46,405

Degree field: Construction Trades
Job offer: $44,370

Degree field: General Economics
Job offer: $43,419

Degree field:Accounting
Job offer: $42,104

Degree field: Chemistry
Job offer: $41,638

Degree field: Management Science
Job offer: $40,592

Degree field: General Finance
Job offer: $38,024

Degree field: Human Resources Management
Job offer: $34,746

To see the full list, click here.

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