What Are You Worth?

In a family’s pecking order, firstborns tend to make more money than their siblings—in fact, research shows a 1% drop in income for every step down you are in birth order (Time, “The Power of Birth Order,” Oct. 29, 2007).

While we didn’t ask respondents to disclose their family history in this year’s Quality Progress salary survey, we did ask just about everything else. I feel confident that this salary survey will give you specific insight into the job titles, skills and educational background that will help you carve out your desired career path.

The comprehensive results begin on p. 25, with additional online-only sections for download at www.asq.org/data/subscriptions/qp/??2007/1207/ survey/index.html.

After collecting this data for 20-plus years, we are in the unique position of being able to make inferences and predictions related to quality career trends. To help with the analysis, we called on regular Career Corner columnist Hank Lindborg.

Lindborg begins (p. 21) by explaining how to best use the results to assess your own salary and workplace standing. He then points to some noteworthy trends he uncovered while poring over the data:

  1. Not surprisingly, education has become an even more highly prized commodity. Those with bachelor’s degrees now comprise 80% of respondents—a 20% increase from a decade ago.
  2. Be aware that accelerated rates of retirement among Baby Boomers will create advancement opportunities for the younger, less experienced quality professionals—if they’re prepared.
  3. Six Sigma has become an ingrained and recognized job classification. Master Black Belts now rank among the highest paid job titles, alongside vice presidents and directors.

If the data solidifies your resolve to make a career change—perhaps you’re underpaid, underutilized or unchallenged—search for your next position on ASQ’s popular Career Center website, http://careers.asq.org/search.cfm. The tools, resources and job postings available have helped many professionals just like you find rewarding—and lucrative—careers.

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