Whats a good salary in the USA?

13 replies
Hi Warriors,

I am putting together some career related marketing material for the US and want to get a feel for what is generally considered a good wage.

I have survey data for all the different job roles I am discussing, so that is set in stone, I just want to try and get an insight onto how this data will be perceived when I present it.

I have sold career training to UK for almost 10 years. The majority of people in UK I have talked to over the years would be happy with £30k+/year. This would be considered a "good" salary, with an eventual career progression to earning £50k/year after several years being the end goal.

Typically if someone comes to me with no experience I will train then and get an entry level position for around £18k-£22k. After 2 years they will be earing around £30k. If they work at their career, this will steadily grow with their experience.

The data I have for the US market shows me that the same career path stateside has average salaries from $40,000-$72,000 depending on experience. This data does not include entry level or internship positions, it is typical salaries for people with minimum 1 years experiecne on job.

So if I said to someone stateside, you will be earning $40k after 1 year, then $72k after another 3 years, is this considered a "good" salary?

I have checked the IT job sites for USA and the salaries offered seem to be much higher than my survey data shows me, but I have to represent typical results from a trusted third party source to hold integrity

So, to sum up, does $40k per year sound like a "good" salary to the average american, and worth some study to pass some exams? Or are there unskilled jobs out there for similar money?
#good #salary #usa
  • Profile picture of the author ErnieB
    Nowadays i see jobs being offered that require 2-4 yr degrees and pay $12 or less an hr, lol. I dont know about you but i wouldnt waste 2-4 yrs in college to get a job making 24k a yr.

    For middle class, i would say 40-50k a yr is "good".
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    • Profile picture of the author cjonn
      Originally Posted by bgmacaw View Post

      Is your Wikipedia broken?
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        You have a wide disparity in incomes - and in cost of living - from one region to the next here. Probably the best way to research it is by region.

        You don't mention what level of education is needed. Jobs are scarce in many parts of the country. Another source of information is to research jobs sites for the type of work you are hiring.

        Another way to approach it is to find govt statistics listing cost of living in various parts of the U.S. and base salary offer on that in part.

        I'd say start lower than the numbers you listed - and provide 6 month incentive raises for those who produce.

        Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world changes forever for that one dog.
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        • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
          This might help:

          Salary Information | Salary.com

          It totally depends on the area and job title.

          Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. -Winston Churchill

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  • Profile picture of the author GuerrillaIM
    Originally Posted by StedeTroisi View Post

    It varies greatly state by state. $100k+ is lower middle class in New York City and the suburbs. $50k would be solid middle class in Arizona, and you would be considered rich making $1k a year in many parts of Florida. I am slightly exaggerating about Florida ;-)
    That would explain a lot. My data is US wide. I have been looking at jobs in New York, and they are all going for $100k+, which was confusing, but now I see why the data looks like it does.

    I wonder if I am shooting myself in the foot here by using national averages. Not having ever lived in the US I am a little ignorant of the american mindset. In the UK showing conservative earning data can be a good thing as you come off as a lot more believable. Does that equate to the united states? Most american advertising seems to be a little more, high impact, so to say.

    If I gave average figures for new york, and obviously stated that the figures are from New York, would the that be perceived as **** weasel terminology?

    Or should I tag on something at end like "Figures taken from US averages, some individual state averages are in fact a lot higher" ?
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    • Profile picture of the author jdenc
      I'd go with the average personally. If you use NYC numbers for example that is the most expensive city to live in in the US according to Forbes. So of course wage numbers are inflated. In most of the US I think 40k a year is a pretty decent wage. Here is the Forbes list of 10 most expensive cities to live in:

      1) NYC
      2) LA
      3) White Plains, NY
      4) San Francisco
      5) Honolulu
      6) Miami, Fl
      7) Chicago
      8) Boston
      9) Houston
      10) Washington, DC
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  • Profile picture of the author grayambition
    I made $50,000 as a tech writer in 1999. I made $30,000 as a manager in 2008. While I worked there, we received hundreds of applications from college graduates everytime we advertised a $10/hour receptionist job with no benefits.

    I was paid $60/hour as a corporate trainer in the late 1980's. I see people charging $30-40 now for similar jobs.

    A friend of mine was a VP at a high tech firm for over 20 years, making well over $200,000. He's been laid off for over a year and will be lucky to find anything for a third of that salary.

    People in this forum are told they shouldn't pay more than $250/month for a full-time VA, or more than $5 for an article.

    Who the hell knows anymore? Everything's upside down.

    Edit: Just noticed you asked if there were unskilled jobs available at similar salaries. Yep. In my city, garbage collectors make around $70,000 (up to $100,000 with overtime).

    Jan Weingarten
    Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain

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  • Profile picture of the author GuerrillaIM
    Great info here guys thanks. I am doing more research into individual state living costs so when I am talking to someone I know how to pitch it depending on where they are.
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    • Profile picture of the author ozduc
      Originally Posted by GuerrillaIM View Post

      Great info here guys thanks. I am doing more research into individual state living costs so when I am talking to someone I know how to pitch it depending on where they are.
      You should not only look at states but cities within the state.
      For instance the cost of living in Silicon Valley (San Jose area), San Fransisco, San Diego or Los Angeles California is a lot higher than say living in Redding California
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  • Profile picture of the author JayPeete
    It is good for the US if you can stand working a J.O.B. LOL!
    What Misunderstood Traffic Source SUCKS In
    3 Million Visitors Daily and Spits Out
    $560.81 Per Day In Commissions?
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    • Profile picture of the author FredJones
      Oh, the best salary in the USA is the one that lets you remain free and independent.

      Geography-specific details have already been posted by other Warriors, and I am not trying to do that (I am from India anyway).


      Earning money is limite only by our minds. So, set a realistic figure in your mind (whatever your inner mind thinks is realistic), determine to achieve it with all seriousness, and suddenly next year this time you shall find that you have practically over-achieved.

      Don't believe me?

      Try it out, and let me know next year on 11th of June.

      I'm serious.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kierkegaard
    You have to take into account the cost of living in that area, the amount of deductions taken from the pay, other benefits added after the salary.

    What is considered a 'good' salary also depends on the type of career.

    Even in the UK, £50K is good if you work in teaching but bad if you're a doctor.
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