I have one additional question/suggestion for analysis.

How about looking at the “british accent” factor crossed with salary
in the U.S.?  Just curious to see what the premium is. . .

I would like to look at a lot of factors and hopefully do a regression in up-coming years to see which ones are drivers, but with accents there are just too few people to look at. In the US, there were 31 people who gave their salaries and who said they have accents. That broke down to 3 asst. planners, 5 planners, 6 sr. planners, 8 gpds, and 9 heads of planning. Looking at the heads, all but one of those with accents is a man, 6 live in NY, one in Boston, one in SF and one somewhere else east. Those nine make, on average, $39K more than the other 28 heads (one person didn’t  say whether they have an accent or not). But the majority of that set live somewhere else east, central or west rather than the big cities that were choices (NY, SF, Boston, LA, Chicago). 17 of those 28 are female. So it’s impossible to say that the $39K difference is attributed to accent, when we can’t account for geography, gender, and differences in education (the non-accents have 7 MBAs compared to the accents’ 4 MAs and 1 MS.

Geography and Salary

I received this question about geography and thought others might be interested:

“The only thing I would like to know is how the survey broke out by market.  Planners in cities such as Jacksonville and Dallas have a much lower cost of living than those in SF, NYC, LA, etc..  For instance, someone earning $85,000/year in Jacksonville needs to make $99,000 in Minneapolis and $185,000 in NYC to obtain the same standard of living (at least according to one cost-of-living calculator).  An average salary by market chart would be very helpful and I’d be glad to help you put this portion together for next year, if you’d like. Also, in the three years that you have done the survey, have their been any significant trends that you have noticed?  Again, I was just made aware of the survey’s existence yesterday.”

Here was my response:

“On markets, I totally agree with you which is why I’ve done the cursory step of comparing NY to everyone else (The NY factor slide) and you can see that there is a difference. The problem thus far has been with 38 or even 90 total people in a group (gpd level, planner level) you can’t look at the 3 people from SF, compared to the 5 people from Chicago. NY is the only market that has reached critical mass to try to look at separately. And critical mass is being generous – there were 26 planner level people from NY out of 90. Every other level it was smaller. This year 281 people from the US entered their salaries. Perhaps when that number gets closer to 500 we can start to look at the other markets.

Even with all of that said, I don’t see the kind of salary differences you would hope to see based on cost of living. You only make 10-20% more when you live in a more expensive market from what I’ve seen for most levels. This made me feel smarter about coming to Richmond where the cost of living is really low. If I can make about the same here or in New York, I’d personally rather live here.

As far as trends, the most significant thing is how salaries seem to have stagnated over the past three years. The averages aren’t creeping up. Probably the margin of error is greater, particularly in the first 2 years or the survey with a smaller base, than 3-5%, but I don’t think companies have adjusted the salary ranges or starting salaries up at all. And as well all know, most average expenses like gas, utilities, healthcare and food have gone up.”

Lost souls

There are about fifteen people whose email addresses kicked back the survey results. I double checked the email address entries (which is why I made you enter it twice) and was able to find the errors in five addresses. So if you participated and didn’t get the results, send me an email and I will respond.