Two-thirds of employees are currently not happy with their salaries, says survey


As the recession becomes a thing of the past, many employees are saying that they are not happy with their current salaries. CareerBuilder recently conducted a survey that asked how happy employees are with their current pay. According to the survey, 65 percent of all full-time employees say they do not currently earn their desired salary.


Even though more than half of the people surveyed are unhappy, there does seem to be a positive correlation with the desired salary and the rising income. Respondents who earn between $75,000 and $100,000, say they are happy with their current salary. “The $75,000 threshold is particularly significant, as this level allows households in most areas of the country to not only get by, but enjoy an ideal lifestyle and a secure future.” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

Percentage who earn desired salary by income level

Less than $50k $50-less than 75k $75-less than 100k $100-less than 150k $150k or more
Yes 23% 39% 56% 66% 57%
No 77% 61% 44% 34% 43%

While not everyone is happy with their salaries, many do say they feel successful without earning large incomes. More than half of respondents said they feel successful making less than $70,000. Surprisingly, 78 percent of respondents say they don’t need to earn more than $100,000 to feel successful.

However, men are more likely than women to say they need more than $100,000 to feel successful. Currently, 39 percent of men say they are happy with their salary, while only 30 percent of women feel that same way.

“Regardless of income, we found that workers tend to find success near their own salary level or in the range directly above,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “This is healthy because it shows workers can derive meaning from their work at any level while still striving for that next promotion or raise.”

What salary do you need to earn to feel successful?

All Men Women
Under $50,000 25% 18% 32%
$50,000-69,999 30% 29% 31%
$70,000-99,999 23% 24% 22%
$100,000-149,999 15% 18% 11%
$150,000-199,999 4% 5% 2%
$200,000 or more 4% 5% 2%

Other parts of the survey dealt with raises and salary transparency. Most respondents (56 percent) say they have never asked for a raise. More than half of the people who have asked for raises have reported receiving them. One interesting note, is that women are less likely to ask for raises than men.

Salary transparency is when a company discloses the pay of all employees. This hot topic has been debated at many companies, but only 29 percent of them actually participate in salary transparency. Most companies that have transparent salaries are IT and sales companies, as well as companies who employ fewer than 20 people.

Feelings on salary transparency are mixed, 47 percent of respondents feel transparency positively impacts the workplace, where as 53 percent say it negatively impacts the workplace. Companies who are in favor of transparency say that it ensures pay equality and it can dispel wrong assumptions. Those who are against it say that it can cause jealousy and morale issues, it violates worker privacy, and it can lead to equal pay litigation. Two-thirds of employees say they would not like it if their company disclosed their salary information.

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