Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Salary Data For Academic Jobs

Sebastian Bauhoff:

With many of my friends are preparing for the annual job market song and dance, one question they will have soon is what salary expectations are appropriate for what position and institution.

It seems hard to know. Fortunately (and somewhat incredibly) the Department of Labor Foreign Labor Certification Data Center not only collects employer petitions for H-1B visas for foreign professionals, but the DOL also posts them online. The data goes back until 2001; information for other visa types is sometimes available for earlier years. Overall this seems like a great source for labor economic studies or the effects of visa restrictions etc. (Let us know if you use it!)

But the data is also good for a quick reality check on salary expectations. You can search by institution on the DOL website or type in a keyword in this search engine.

For example, looking for "assistant professor economics harvard" will reveal two visa petitions from the university, with a proposed salary of $115,000 in 2005. Stanford proposed to pay $120,000 in early 2006. The data is not just limited to academic jobs of course. You can also see that Morgan Stanley proposed to pay $85,000 for an analyst in New York in 2006. Or that a taxi company in Maryland proposed $11.41 per hour.

Naturally the data is limited since it only covers a specific group of job applicants. Maybe they'll take a lower salary in exchange for help with the visa, or they get paid more to leave their home countries. But the relative scales across institutions could be similar and it's better than no idea at all.

I just did a quick comparison of salaries for econ profs to finance profs. Remind me again why I didn't pursue a PhD in Finance? Oh yeah...

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