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Thread: Lowest salaries for planning jobs that you've seen

  1. #176
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I like this thread. If you don't then you can go to the Highest Paid Planning Thread. It is funny/sad that there are places who feel that they can just throw out a figure and expect to get some level of quality.

    I think it is fair to put those places on notice that some of us would not waste the paper for a resume to send to them. Is it stupid? Selfish maybe? Sure. But so is asking for a masters degree and two years experience for a job that pays under what my UPS man makes (I love UPS, just a fact they are overpaid...). I think that the longer we accept that these jobs are Okay for our profession, the longer they will exist. If no AICP planner accepted jobs below a certain rate, then the rate would raise or they would take less experience, less knowledgeable, and less qualified people. Many communities would do this. But you would also be able to see the difference of hiring a qualified person, who is paid correctly, and works hard for a community.

    I said all that to say that I like this thread, and vote to keep it open and have the sad salaries, which makes communities who post them look bad, coming.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  2. #177
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yeah.....

    I agree, we need to keep this train wreck in motion
    Skilled Adoxographer

  3. #178
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    But so is asking for a masters degree and two years experience for a job that pays under what my UPS man makes (I love UPS, just a fact they are overpaid...).
    A list of America's lowest paying jobs was recently published on the Huffington Post. When you see planning jobs that are just a few thousand dollars above an unskilled farm labor job ($19,780/year average), something is very, very wrong.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  4. #179
         
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    I like this thread.

  5. #180
    Cyburbian LTKS's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    I agree, we need to keep this train wreck in motion
    Well put....train wreck is the perfect description.

    I like this thread more than I thought. I guess because it makes me feel better for not getting a raise in the past 2 years, compliments of the awesome economy right now. At least I'm not getting paid $28,000 to live in the middle of nowhere. Yay!

  6. #181
    But so is asking for a masters degree and two years experience for a job that pays under what my UPS man makes (I love UPS, just a fact they are overpaid...).
    I don't how you can say UPS delivery men, as employees of a private company, are overpaid. My first real job was as a delivery driver and it was hard, and oftentimes quite stressful, work. Perhaps it's just rare to see a blue-collar living wage job in this country? Are white collar jobs automatically more deserving of higher wages, or jobs which require a lot of education? There are many reasons why a given profession requires a certain amount of education, and often it has nothing to do with inflating wages, but the inflation of education itself. Besides, a delivery driver will make roughly the same for 10 years or more, with few wage-increasing advancements. White collar professional jobs that require a masters usually have a higher range than that.

    A list of America's lowest paying jobs was recently published on the Huffington Post. When you see planning jobs that are just a few thousand dollars above an unskilled farm labor job ($19,780/year average), something is very, very wrong.
    Well, it makes me think if a lot of this education is really worth it. We are in a profession that typically requires 18 years of education, but with jobs like these, it would hardly be worth it. Good thing these are the bottom of the barrel. On another note, and in the vein above, I think it's disingenuous to compare wages for white collar versus blue collar jobs, as if white collar jobs should always pay more. What really benefits society most? Bureaucrats pushing papers around at a desk? Or an ag worker in the field? Society may pay the latter less, but is he performing a less important function? I don't think so. That is back-breaking work, and they should be paid more, if the economics of farming actually supported it.

  7. #182
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    I don't how you can say UPS delivery men, as employees of a private company, are overpaid. Are white collar jobs automatically more deserving of higher wages, or jobs which require a lot of education? There are many reasons why a given profession requires a certain amount of education, and often it has nothing to do with inflating wages, but the inflation of education itself. Besides, a delivery driver will make roughly the same for 10 years or more, with few wage-increasing advancements.
    I don't buy the argument that just because someone works for a private company that they can't be overpaid. I don't understand the belief that somehow only government employees can be overpaid?

    I would argue that private companies are much worse at compensation issues than government.

    And yes, most white collar jobs should pay more. Although I completely respect my UPS guy (he is great... on time, no broken packages, etc.) he is not exactly doing rocket science (he makes over $75k). Doing a job that requires multi-tasking, higher level of reason, and decisions that have consequences, should get paid more.

    I believe that some govt jobs are inflated... I do not agree that bus drivers in my community should be paid over $90k a year for driving a bus. Or that some Feds make $100k for jobs that are probably worth 3/4th of that.

    But my point was that the planning field needs to continue to act like they deserve a higher pay and not accept lower paying jobs. Until we are willing to do this, jobs that ask for lots of education, lots of experience, and $25k will continue to exist. The UPS guy part was just an example
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  8. #183
    Cyburbian
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    Looking over the past 10 years, I think plenty of public sector planning jobs are overpaid on average. Although most entry-level jobs are still slightly underpaid, and this recession has (1) lowered starting salaries at all levels and (2) limited the number of available planning jobs.

    This is my second job in a row working on the dark side (going on 5 years total) but most of my planning internships were public sector. Yes, I am fully aware of all the headaches that my public sector counterparts have to put up with: the uneducated planning commissions, the relentless residents, the demanding developers, etc. However, those are all part of being a planner.

    Public sector planners do not have to worry about due dilligence, marketing, and profit margins in the same way as private sector planners do (and I will admit that there are plenty of planning consultants at all levels who don't know a damn about business). As a consultant, it's not enough to just come to work and do planning, especially if you have a shrewd business acumen. It's also about making calculated strategic moves: how will this contract improve my chances of landing a contract somewhere else? What is my competition up to? How do I increase productivity while minimizing overhead? Many of these factors have nothing to do with being a planner. This is not taught in schools and some planning consultants work their entire careers without digging into these probing questions, but then I'm not surprised why they aren't running their own firms either.

    Some of my colleagues in the public sector would gasp knowing that once in a while I might work a 17-18 hour day without a break on a hard deadline. Obviously I try to minimize/prevent those days from occuring but they do happen now and then.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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  9. #184
    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    I don't buy the argument that just because someone works for a private company that they can't be overpaid. I don't understand the belief that somehow only government employees can be overpaid?
    Did I make that statement? No, I didn't, and it has nothing to do with our argument. Good red herring there, but now you smell of fish.

    I would argue that private companies are much worse at compensation issues than government.

    And yes, most white collar jobs should pay more. Although I completely respect my UPS guy (he is great... on time, no broken packages, etc.) he is not exactly doing rocket science (he makes over $75k). Doing a job that requires multi-tasking, higher level of reason, and decisions that have consequences, should get paid more.
    If you don't think his job requires multi-tasking, "higher level of reasoning," and decisions that have consequences, you have obviously never had a high-stress delivery job, and speak from ignorance, because you're completely wrong. There is a lot more to it than driving around handing things to people. Again, the assumption that UPS drivers are overpaid is false. Also, your contention that white collar jobs should inherently pay more is astoundingly elitist and just plain ignorant. What is it about sitting at a desk that automatically deserves higher wages than working in other positions and wearing a uniform rather than a suit? Do you think that, just be virtue of you sitting in classrooms for 4 years after high school, you deserve to be valued more than a mechanic, a delivery driver, a farmer?

    I believe that some govt jobs are inflated... I do not agree that bus drivers in my community should be paid over $90k a year for driving a bus. Or that some Feds make $100k for jobs that are probably worth 3/4th of that.
    Driving a bus is an extremely stressful job. However, who the heck is making 90k a year? City bus drivers in my town make about $10/hour.

    But my point was that the planning field needs to continue to act like they deserve a higher pay and not accept lower paying jobs. Until we are willing to do this, jobs that ask for lots of education, lots of experience, and $25k will continue to exist. The UPS guy part was just an example
    It's not just a matter of acting like we deserve higher pay. What this thread shows is that planners' pay ranges vary greatly by region and locality. Some areas most certainly overpay their planners. Yes, pay is crap in Appalachia, but so is the pay for every other job there, too. Probably ninety percent of it is supply and demand, despite what you think you should be paid because you sat in class, crossed all your 'tees' and dotted all your 'eyes,' with the promise of a safe, fat middle-class life, reassured with the notion that no matter what, you wouldn't have to do any real work.
    Last edited by chocolatechip; 19 May 2010 at 12:38 PM.

  10. #185
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Although I don't like to argue over nothing, I will respond...

    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Did I make that statement? No, I didn't, and it has nothing to do with our argument. Good red herring there, but now you smell of fish.
    I didn't say that you did... I was just making the point that I was arguing originally. It had nothing to do with you. I just used your post to start my discussion.



    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    If you don't think his job requires multi-tasking, "higher level of reasoning," and decisions that have consequences, you have obviously never had a high-stress delivery job, and speak from ignorance, because you're completely wrong.
    Oddly enough I haven't been a delivery man. My brother on the other hand is. So no I am not ignorant of the situation. Again I respect what they do, just believe that they are overpaid.

    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Also, your contention that white collar jobs should inherently pay more is astoundingly elitist and just plain ignorant.
    Really? Why is it elitist? I said nothing of being a better person, or having more value that someone who delivers packages? I did not degrade the person or the position. I simply stated that many are overpaid. No less, no more. If that makes me elitist than boy we are in for a long conversation.


    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Do you think that, just be virtue of you sitting in classrooms for 4 years after high school, you deserve to be valued more than a mechanic, a delivery driver, a farmer?
    Again never said anything about the person or their "value". My father is a farmer, so I have been brought up to understand that hard work pays. But was he proud that I didn't become a farmer... your darn right he was. Because he worked hard to help me receive more education than he did and allow me to do better for myself. I am somewhat confused as to why you seem to take such offense to this, as I was not attacking you, or your point of view, just making a general comment about the topic.



    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Driving a bus is an extremely stressful job. However, who the heck is making 90k a year? City bus drivers in my town make about $10/hour.
    Do you know this from fact? I doubt it. Our local transit agency is paying on average over $65k per driver. Older drivers who work overtime are making over $90k. Not all, but some. To me this is crazy. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe we could lower the bus fee and help a couple more people out if the drivers weren't making so much bank.



    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Probably ninety percent of it is supply and demand, despite what you think you should be paid because you sat in class, crossed all your 'tees' and dotted all your 'eyes,' with the promise of a safe, fat middle-class life, reassured with the notion that no matter what, you wouldn't have to do any real work.
    This is where I just have to giggle a little bit. Really? You are making some crazy assumptions, and I will just let them go. Can we get back to the thread now?
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  11. #186
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    All those blue collar, unskilled positions mentioned are generally unionized. Due to the fact that CTA revenue is directly tied to tax revenue and of course revenue is down the CTA had to make some cuts. Did they lower pay? Of course not. Instead they cut service frequencies and some express routes.

  12. #187
    Cyburbian kltoomians's avatar
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    Low wages have consequences

    Retaining employees is tricky without a competitive wage. It takes a good 4-6 months to learn the local jurisdiction’s code...and up to 2yrs to learn all the nuances and how they relate to state laws, etc...not to mention you have to learn different practical logistics of the office...which files go where, what gets logged, who gets a notice, etc (especially in a smaller office). You need people to stick around and pass down all of that knowledge. If public entities or private companies keep losing employees because they are not paying a competitive wage, I can't imagine things improving or progressing.

    We're struggling here as a department because of the high rate of turnover in every rank...we've lost a lot of institutional knowledge because people have gone on to better paying positions elsewhere. Instead of improving code and processes with minimal staff, we’re just trying to stay afloat by processing development proposals.
    "I'm a boomerang, doesn't matter how you throw me
    I turn around and I'm back in the game
    Even better than the old me"

  13. #188
    You are making some crazy assumptions, and I will just let them go. Can we get back to the thread now?
    Sure champ.

  14. #189
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Driving a bus is an extremely stressful job. However, who the heck is making 90k a year? City bus drivers in my town make about $10/hour.
    Like I said before, in the Great Lakes region, blue collar workers in local, county and state government earn much higher salaries compared to their peers elsewhere, thanks in part to unionization and a culture that traditionally places a high value on "big shoulders".
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  15. #190
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    Shocked at some of the Low Salaries offered in Planning

    I currently work as a Business Analyst/Project Manager for a Software Development Co. My experience is more on the business side than IT, but my salary is decent for the Tampa bay area (no healthcare or retirement plan matching) and i have the flexibility of working from home. However, I have decided to persue a Masters Degree in Urban Planning. My undergrad is in Urban Studies and i have always wanted to do planning work, BUT I am a bit discouraged by the salaries and find it difficult to imagine spending more money on a graduate degree only to come out making significantly less than i do now. This is particularly important because i have a family to support.

    I love the planning field and have an intense interest in urban planning, but this thred has seriously made me rethink persuing that field at this time.

  16. #191
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Jacindad2 View post
    I currently work as a Business Analyst/Project Manager for a Software Development Co. My experience is more on the business side than IT, but my salary is decent for the Tampa bay area (no healthcare or retirement plan matching) and i have the flexibility of working from home. However, I have decided to persue a Masters Degree in Urban Planning. My undergrad is in Urban Studies and i have always wanted to do planning work, BUT I am a bit discouraged by the salaries and find it difficult to imagine spending more money on a graduate degree only to come out making significantly less than i do now. This is particularly important because i have a family to support.

    I love the planning field and have an intense interest in urban planning, but this thred has seriously made me rethink persuing that field at this time.
    No reason to spend money to make less money. If you have job security and you enjoy your job (somewhat) stay doing what you are doing.

  17. #192
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Like I said before, in the Great Lakes region, blue collar workers in local, county and state government earn much higher salaries compared to their peers elsewhere, thanks in part to unionization and a culture that traditionally places a high value on "big shoulders".
    Fun little union story: The local transit authority wanted to install new GPS on all busses so passengers could get stop arrival times on their smart phones. However there was much fuss about doing so and it hasn't happened. Was it too expensive? Nope, the driver's union opposed it. Unreasonable oversight was the reported reason.

  18. #193
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    I think this is a MUCH-NEEDED forum. As many other posters have stated - we, as a brotherhood and sisterhood of planners, have an obligation to point out thee worst offenders of horrendous pay practices!

    If you wish to post on this thread and bleet about what a self-made person you are and how you never had to take out student loans and nobody put a gun to our heads to take out students loans (which, for the vast majority of students, it was/is either student loans or no college whatsoever!) and all that rot, then please take it elsewhere........

  19. #194
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    But the sad thing is: some are still willing to take on these jobs, which is why employers are able to exploit on the current economical crisis.

  20. #195
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Jacindad2 View post
    BUT I am a bit discouraged by the salaries and find it difficult to imagine spending more money on a graduate degree only to come out making significantly less than i do now. This is particularly important because i have a family to support.

    I love the planning field and have an intense interest in urban planning, but this thred has seriously made me rethink persuing that field at this time.
    I'm currently switching from a stable (and very high-paying job) to pursue a masters in urban planning. It took a lot of soul-searching to determine if pursuing something that I'm passionate about outweighs the low salaries, mediocre job prospects, and huge tuition payments. In the end, for me I decided it was worth it. If I were you I'd do two things: 1) learn as much as you possibly can about a career in urban planning (talk to as many planners as you can to see what it's really like) to determine if it's something you'll truly have passion for as a career. (as an aside -- personally, I've found people outside the cyburbia community have been quite a bit more positive of life as a planner.) If it is, then 2) do some soul searching to see if quitting your decent-paying, stable job is worth the gamble. Once you get all the facts, only you can decide if it's worth going back to school.

  21. #196
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Granville, Ohio: Planning and Zoning Assistant.

    Up to $15 per hour for a 35 hour/week position that requires a planning degree. Annually, the salary tops out at $27,300.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  22. #197
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Granville, Ohio: Planning and Zoning Assistant.

    Up to $15 per hour for a 35 hour/week position that requires a planning degree. Annually, the salary tops out at $27,300.
    This is the best part of that announcement...
    The applicant must also be able to attend approximately three (3) night meetings per month.
    For comp time at $23 an hour or at the $15 an hour since you aren't working a full 40? Ugh.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  23. #198
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    This is the best part of that announcement...

    For comp time at $23 an hour or at the $15 an hour since you aren't working a full 40? Ugh.
    Everyone who attends meetings where I work is salaried for this reason.

  24. #199
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    Everyone who attends meetings where I work is salaried for this reason.
    Ditto at my place of employment.

  25. #200

    Old Thread, New Post, $39.5k

    I was recently visiting my parents in a rural mid-atlantic county and the local newspaper, which I call the "Mulletville Gazette" had an article about how the county has had a planning position open for 2 years which as gone unfilled.

    It was either planning director or principal planner, I can't remember, and they wanted a master's, experience, and an AICP for $39,500. The article noted that the APA salary survey showed that only 4% of planners in that range of experience made that amount or less.

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