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Salaries again...

I'm trying to measure salaries in the US (I'm from the EU). I saw a telecomms company pay 15$ an hour for pole technicians (no, it's not *that* pole). Is that good or bad? Not for pole technicians, whatever they are, but overall.


Wednesday, April 21, 2004

$15/hr means roughly $30k/year, which puts you pretty squarely into lower middle class. You're not poor, but you're not making a ton of money, either.

I have no idea what pole technicians are supposed to make, so I don't know if this is good or not... but if the skill is considered primarily technical, as opposed to primarily physical, then I'd guess it's probably on the low side.

Brad Wilson (
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

> 15$ an hour for pole technicians

What are the benefits like? Maybe it is more attractive than $15 in the US with all the benefits they get in EU...

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Keep in mind that there's a 50% or more difference in cost of living between different areas of the U.S.

California and parts of the Northeast are the worst for cost of living. The Midwest and South are much lower.

(recently bought a $500,000 "starter home" in San Jose)

Mark Bessey
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

In the US, the median price is around $160,000.  As most mortgage companies approve up to 2 times your income, a person making 15/hour (or ~30,000/year) would qualify for a $60,000. 

It beats Walmart, but not by much. While many people would be willing to take a job for $15/hour, the employer recognizes anyone who would is probably desperate and will leave for $17/hour.  This means the job is going to be the least desirable tasks and those where you staying does not impact the outcome. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Does anyone have a link to reliable cost of living figures comparing the different states / regions in the US?  I've always been amazed by the differences between job ads in the bay area compared to those in the midwest etc.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Wages by Area and Occupation

Anonymous Coward
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I would bet those pole technicians do quite a bit of overtime though.  I had a guy from the energy company come out to my house the other day, said he had been on call for 29 days straight and said thats where he makes all of his money, being up late at night on call.

Regarding the $500k starter home in San Jose, no kidding.  I'm thinking of waiting until after the whole housing bubble slows down a bit before I even start looking seriously.

Andrew Hurst
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Try this:

Thursday, April 22, 2004

With the "cost-of-living" measurements, just keep in mind that most costs for normal people don't vary much geographically within the US.  Retail goods are the same everywhere.  Food doesn't vary much.  Health care is flat.  Entertainment flat enough to ignore.  Cars are pretty much the same cost to buy and operate everywhere, with the exception of the minor overhead of insurance, until you compare with a dense urban area like NYC, at which point you don't own a car anyway.

I can think of two things that vary geographically: the cost of housing (huge variance!), and tax rates (minor).  I was once told by most of those "cost-of-living" calculators and tables that my impending move to the boondocks would require only 65% of my then-current urbanite salary to maintain my standard of living.  Fortunately I kept my same salary in the move, because the actual cost-of-living turned out to be identical, except my state income tax increased slightly.

Another key point is that the cost of housing does not vary so much by state or by region as it varies by *neighborhood*.  For example, the nice urbane small town I live in now costs the same as city living, yet I could move six miles away and live among the unwashed of this godforsaken state in some soulless chain-infested house-farm for a third of the housing cost.

not so lost
Thursday, April 22, 2004

I think housing prices do vary very very much by state. What happens is that when you move from an expensive state to a cheaper one you don't downgrade the price of your home accordingly. You either buy a much bigger home or move into a much posher neighbourhood than you would have been able to afford if you hadn't moved.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, April 22, 2004

"most costs for normal people don't vary much geographically within the US."

I don't know about that ... I just took a trip out to Western Montana where beer is $5/pitcher.  Now I'm back in Seattle where beer is $12/pitcher.  That's a big difference..

Granted, the cost of a gallon of milk in the grocery store may be similar, and the price of a TV is likely the same, but it really does cost more to buy things in different parts of the country.

Michael Kale
Thursday, April 22, 2004

That's because you were drinking bud instead of redhook.  Though they are the same company...

Thursday, April 22, 2004

For me US$15/hour works out at a pretty good wage (about NZ$2500 after tax a month).  That considering my living costs at the moment amount to us$344/month (rent and living costs).

Andy Watson
Monday, April 26, 2004

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