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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Reinersman

Salary, Pay, Wages – Oh, My! Earning in Today's Work World

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

An internet search on how to negotiate salary quickly pulls up all the usual articles and sources: “Words to Use When Negotiating Salary”, “Tips You Need to Know”, “Rules for Negotiating an Offer” are published by Glassdoor, US News Money, Indeed and Robert Half. Is there more to the picture than just knowing “how to” achieve a high income? Are pay scales changing and wage gaps narrowing? Can workers really know what they are worth to an employer? Will other values supersede a fixation on money? While questions seem to abound, some answers are possible, often through discussions with a qualified career development professional. ~ Melanie Reinersman,

Photo by Visual Stories Micheile on Unsplash

FOCUS ON: Flexible Paydays

Traditionally, employees must wait two to four weeks to receive pay for work performed. Currently, the workplace demographics involving Millennials to Gen X express interest in on-demand wages. Streaming pay (i.e., pay that automatically and promptly enters the worker's bank account as it is earned) increases employees' peace of mind, builds trust and loyalty with the employer and creates jobs for companies that make daily pay easy. Read more about this trend from Forbes.

FOCUS ON: What People Spend Their Pay On

It is no surprise that the pandemic changed people's spending habits. Online shopping has increased, as has spending on pets. According to a Harris Poll survey by CIT, saving has increased also. What else do people spend money on? Work clothes! But people want casual clothes – and would even take a pay cut to avoid formal work wear. “Hybrid” dressing (i.e., professional, yet comfortable, aka moving back and forth between work wear and home wear) includes garments designed for activity but appear presentable for work. Read more in Fast Company.

FOR THE PRACTITIONER: The Issues with Salary Transparency

Keeping in mind the unique points of salary differences (e.g., adroit negotiation, possession of unique skills, etc), it may be beneficial to share a range of salaries for each position within a company. Two specific benefits include employees knowing their value to a company and employers being forces to fix inequities. The question of disclosure may boil down to a companies' culture: trust reduces tension and open-door policies fit nicely with open-salary policies. Read more from Balance Careers.

JOB SEARCH: Avoiding the Salary Questions

Career development professionals may want to instruct job seekers to use a three step process to dodge salary questions early in an interview so as not to give up leverage too soon. An explanation of what is at stake, why the employer is asking, and how to handle online applications are all part of the practitioner's support of an effective job search. Read more from Career Convergence.


Research shows the steady existence of the gender pay gap. Women earn 82-84% of what men earn. Studies looked at full-time workers versus part-time, as well as various age groups (e.g., the gap is smaller for workers age 25 to 34). Numerous factors are explored (e.g., educational attainment, care-giving responsibilities, and gender discrimination). Equal pay, according to Americans, is vital to gender equality. Read more from Pew Research.

TOP TEN: Sources of Salary and Wage Information

Google lists the typical sources of salary information:,,,, etc... A few others are worth looking at, such as and Don't forget to also look for wage data. The Federal Reserve Bank publishes a Wage Growth Tracker and the Conference Board fields a Salary Increase Budget Survey. The BLS measure of hourly wage growth is available at and the Economic Policy Institute shares the methodology for measuring wages and benefits.


“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” ~ Upton Sinclair
“When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, 'It's in the script.' If he says 'But what's my motivation?' I say 'Your salary." ~ Alfred Hitchcock


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