Recently, The Boston Business Journal reported that, Gilbert & O'Bryan LLP, a Boston law firm, posted a job on Boston College's career website for an associate position. It's a full time job with benefits and a full case load from the beginning. Entry level attorneys at many law firms make over $100,000 each year, but this job didn't come with that kind of salary. The starting salary for this position is only $10,000. This salary works out to $4.80 per hour, which is far less than the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and half the salary of a retail sales representative. This one job listing doesn't appear to be the trend since the average salary for an attorney still remains nearly $113,000 with only 10% earning less than $54,000, but some careers have seen a drop in salary. Before changing careers, think twice about these jobs.
Before the housing collapse, selling real estate was easier than today. The housing market is trying to rebound, but that is hardly encouraging news to Realtors who have seen paychecks 35% lower than they once had. Even worse, selling a home is a lot more work for much less pay. According to the National Association of Realtors, Realtors now earn an average of $34,100.
The days of doctors earning big salaries are quickly coming to an end. As insurance companies become harder to work with and the government slashes Medicare payments, doctors are finding it increasingly difficult to justify the high cost of education and the expenses of running an office. According to The New York Post, one projection shows Medicare payouts dropping as much as 17% over the next three years. As the population continues to age, doctors will find themselves with an increasing amount of Medicare patients.
Teacher salaries have always been a heated political debate, but as state budgets tighten, teachers are finding freezing salaries and less attractive benefits packages. A Brookings Institute study found that teachers earn an average of 19% less than non-teachers, up from 7% in the 1970s. A National Education Association study found that teachers in 15 states are making less than they were a decade ago, taking inflation into account.
Increasing government regulations have made investment banking a dying field. According to Bloomberg, some banks are closing their trading divisions all together. Citigroup recently announced 1,200 layoffs in its trading division as well as up to a 70% decrease in bonuses. Morgan Stanley announced that it was cutting salaries for senior bankers by up to 30%.
The Bottom Line
Experts argue that cutting salaries may decrease interest in these fields, leaving a critical shortage of workers for these careers. With the American population aging, a steady supply of doctors is essential to meeting the medical needs of the baby boomers. Some politicians argue that in order to improve the American education, the teaching profession has to be attractive to the brightest and most talented college students. Regardless, economists believe that career demand is a function of supply and demand. As jobs become harder to fill, salaries and benefits packages will become more attractive.