«   |   »

Wages Flat Since Last Year but Depend Upon Education

Median Salaries Unchanged from Year Ago

According to the current Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS ) news release on weekly earnings for the second quarter of 2014, the median weekly earnings for a full-time worker was $780 virtually unchanged from year ago levels. The median wage indicates that the same number of people earned more than $780 as earned less working a full-time job.

The data was collected as part of the Current Population Survey, a nationwide sample survey of households conducted by the BLS.

Wages By Education

Wages vary based on a variety of factors including experience but education played a major factor. Full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of only $492. Assuming an average 40 hour work week that would be an average of $12.30/hr. High school graduates with no college earned an average of $666 per week, those with a Bachelors Degree earned an average of $1098 while those with advanced degrees earned an average of $1,377. 

Salary FactorsWages by Gender

Education is even more important for women because without a High School diploma the median salary for women is only $407 while for men it is $533. But an average woman with an advanced degree will earn $1164/week. Plus if she is exceptional and moves herself into the top 10% of all women with an advanced degree she would earn $2,331. per week. (Unless she follows in the footsteps of Ariana Huffington or J.K. Rollings then she could make millions… both of whom had college educations).

On the other hand the top 10% of women without a high school diploma still only earn an average of $639 per week which is less than an average woman with an associates degree.

So without a high school degree it doesn’t matter how exceptional you are, it will be difficult to earn a good salary.

Wages by Occupation

Of course a major factor in how much you earn  is your occupation. Obviously, some occupations pay more than others. One factor in how much an occupation pays goes back to the education required to perform the job. Other factors are how hazardous it is, and how much responsibility the job entails.  Management, business and financial occupations had the highest median weekly salaries of  $1200. Professional occupations had a median weekly salary of $1078. Sales and related occupations had a median salary of $683 while office  and administrative occupations had a median salary of $659. Farming, fishing and forestry occupations had a median salary of $454 while construction occupations had a median salary of $728.  Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations had a median salary of $815 and production, transportation, and material moving occupations had a median salary of  $629.

Increasing Your Salary

Although many factors such as education, gender and occupation affect your salary that doesn’t mean that you have to be at the mercy of your employer. You can still have a great deal of influence over how much you earn. Many sales jobs are based on performance i.e. commission the better you are at selling the more you can earn. And although it is obvious in the sales field the same holds true in most other fields as well. Those in the highest 10% of earners can earn three or four times as much as those in the lowest 10%. For instance, those with only a high school diploma earn $368 per week in the lowest 10% but average $1,357 in the highest 10%. So even though they both have the same education one person is earning significantly more than the other.

Race is not an issue either, among African Americans the lowest 10% earns $337 while the highest 10% earns $1464.

How do they get into the highest 10%? Generally, it is not through favoritism or prejudice… it is based on performance. Those who work hardest, have the best attitudes and contribute the most to the company get the raises. Although it may not always appear that way in the short run, it does work that way in the long run. Eventually the slackers get the sack and the valuable employees continue up the ladder.  So whatever your current situation you can always improve your lot in life by working harder, having a better attitude and increasing your skills.

About Tim McMahon

Work by editor and author, Tim McMahon, has been featured in Bloomberg, CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Washington Post, Drudge Report, The Atlantic, Business Insider, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Oakland Press, Free Republic, Education World, Realty Trac, Reason, Coin News, and Council for Economic Education. Connect with Tim on Google+