MONEY Love and Money

This Is the Magic Number That Can Help Couples Avoid Money Fights

hand holding shopping bags
Dra Schwartz—Getty Images

It's $154. Here's why.

Let me hazard a guess that the last money fight you had with your spouse was about somebody’s spending habits.

Am I right?

A recent Money poll suggests that I am. Our survey of some 1,000 baby boomers and millennials found that, while the two generations can be quite different in their approaches to money within relationships, they fight most often about the same thing.

One third of the older generation and 45% of the younger one said the top cause of conflict with their partner is “overspending on frivolous purchases.”

But the survey results also suggest a possible solution.

Respondents were asked what amount they thought they could spend without informing their spouse. And the average for the two generations was exactly the same, down to the dollar: $154. That’s in spite of household income differences of $28,000 between age groups.

Of course, there were some differences between genders, with the median answer for millennial females $131 vs. males in their peer group saying $180, and $162 vs. $143 for boomer females vs. males.

But the number itself isn’t so important as the fact that you’ve agreed on it together.

Financial experts have long championed spending limits, along with his-hers-and-ours accounts, as the keys to resolving the age-old challenge presented when financial opposites attract… and then repel.

Here’s why: By setting a limit above which you need to clear purchases—or by setting up discretionary accounts funded with an agreed-upon sum—the more free-spirited one of you gets to have a bit of longed-for independence. Meanwhile, the more frugal partner can rest assured knowing that the other isn’t going to spend down the retirement accounts.

So talk to your spouse and choose a number that works for both of you. Maybe start the bidding at $150, since that’s a nice round number close to the median.

Below that target, you can both spend as you wish. Above it, a referendum is in order.

Everybody’s happy. Everybody wins. Now you can go back to fighting over more important things, like whose turn it is to take out the trash.

Get more insights from Money’s 2015 Love & Money survey

 

MONEY wage gap

The 25 Careers in Which Women Are Most Underpaid

equal pay day wage gap women
Michael Hanson—Aurora Photos Female farmers, on average, earn just 60% of what their male counterparts do.

Females in financial services suffer some of the biggest pay gaps—but farmers don't have it great either.

On this Equal Pay Day, let’s take a moment to acknowledge where the greatest strides have yet to be made.

While gals make 78¢ to the dollar that guys do on average, the differential in some professions is much greater. Female securities and financial services sales agents, for example, are the most underpaid professionals compared with their male peers, getting a mere 55¢ per $1 of their counterparts’ compensation.

The Census bureau tracks earnings by gender for more than 500 occupational categories; the table below shows 25 fields where, based on 2013 data, the difference in what she makes and what he makes is the biggest.

(You can discover what each of these fields entails by typing in the category listed at O*Net Online, and find your own field’s pay differential via this Census table.)

Nearly half the jobs on this list are in financial fields. It’s also worth noting that 17 out of 25 are majority male in makeup, compared with half of the fields where the pay gap for women is the smallest.

Need a pick-me-up after this list? Check out The 25 Careers with the Smallest Wage Gaps for Women. And read up on how to reduce the pay gap for yourself, no matter where your own field falls.

Occupational Category % Women in Field Median Earnings, Men Median Earnings, Women % Women’s Earnings to Men’s % Margin of Error
1. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents 30% $93,795 $51,284 54.7 5.7
2. Financial specialists, all other 55% $81,859 $48,869 59.7 7.5
3. Morticians, undertakers, and funeral dirs. 20% $51,129 $31,023 60.7 10.5
4. Farmers, ranchers,agricultural mgrs. 11% $41,691 $25,310 60.7 5.0
5. Personal financial advisors 31% $98,126 $60,359 61.5 5.5
6. Financial clerks, all other 61% $67,732 $42,122 62.2 5.8
7. Financial analysts 32% $100,081 $63,424 63.4 7.9
8. Financial managers 54% $90,278 $57,406 63.6 2.0
9. Supervisors housekeeping/janitorial 33% $41,180 $26,860 65.2 2.4
10. Production, planning, and expediting clerks 57% $56,437 $37,246 66.0 1.6
11. Credit counselors and loan officers 54% $69,726 $46,394 66.5 4.2
12. Insurance sales agents 45% $61,639 $41,250 66.9 1.4
13. Photographic process and processing machine workers 45% $31,888 $21,348 66.9 14.0
14. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers 30% $36,494 $24,657 67.6 17.5
15. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers 4% $40,865 $27,657 67.7 3.8
16. Dentists 24% $151,071 $102,460 67.8 9.3
17. Tax preparers 52% $70,641 $47,997 67.9 7.1
18. Artists and related workers 36% $54,669 $37,261 68.2 9.0
19. Photographers 40% $44,513 $30,455 68.4 7.0
20. Welders, solderers, and brazers 5% $39,281 $26,893 68.5 3.6
21. Tax examiners, collectors, and agents 65% $66,754 $45,704 68.5 9.5
22. Economists 29% $120,076 $82,427 68.6 10.1
23. Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks 73% $50,853 $35,037 68.9 10.9
24. Physicians and surgeons 33% $202,533 $140,036 69.1 4.0
25. Cutting workers 20% $31,113 $21,516 69.2 3.5

More from Money.com on equal pay:

The 25 Careers with the Smallest Wage Gaps for Women

5 Ways Women Can Close the Pay Gap for Themselves

The Single Best Thing Women Can Do to Help Themselves in Salary Negotiations

MONEY wage gap

The 25 Careers With the Smallest Wage Gaps for Women

wage gap careers equal pay day
Robert J. Ross—Getty Images On average, female media producers and directors outearn men.

Plus, 9 fields where women actually earn more

Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, intended to raise awareness of the fact that women still earn less than their male counterparts. That’s 22¢ to the dollar less on average, in case you haven’t been paying attention.

This date was not chosen randomly: Equal Pay Day is purposely held in April to illustrate the fact that it takes four months into the year for the average woman to catch up to the average man’s earnings from the last year. And it’s on a Tuesday to show how long into the week it takes to match a man’s previous-week earnings.

Of course, in some fields, getting up to par is quicker than others.

The Census bureau tracks earnings by gender for more than 500 occupational categories; the table below shows 25 fields where, based on 2013 data, the difference in what she makes and what he makes is the smallest. (You can find out what each of these fields entails by typing in the category listed at O*Net Online, and find your own field’s pay differential via this Census table.)

As you’ll see, there are nine fields where the average woman actually outearns her male counterpart, though the margins of error on these are high enough as to possibly undo the findings. Also worth noting: Half of the professions in the top 25 are made up of a majority of women, vs. only six of the bottom 25.

Some have argued that if women simply went into higher paying fields they could eliminate a wage discrepancy, but the data argue against that. After all, physicians and surgeons—who take home very healthy paychecks—suffer among the greatest pay discrepancies, with women in these fields making 69% of what men do.

Instead, Harvard economist Claudia Goldin, author of Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women, attributes a higher salary differential to the fact that some fields disproportionately incentivize people to work long hours and certain hours. That punishes women who take time out from their careers and require some flexibility in their work lives to raise children.

In aggregate, earnings between men and women are not that different until women enter child-bearing years, Goldin says. “But in some occupations, there isn’t a large penalty for time out of the workforce or shorter hours,” she notes.

What often separates those fields, she says, is that another person with a similar title can take over to serve as a perfect substitute. It’s easier for a woman to leave at 5 p.m. to pick up her kids if information systems or a standardization of product makes handing off her duties costless.

Goldin gives the example of a pharmacist (a profession in which women earn a high 93% of what men do). In that role, a computer system provides access to standard data about the customer, so that the customer needn’t always see the same person.

Okay, good to know, but if your field doesn’t allow this flexibility you likely won’t be able to make changes overnight. Nor are you probably interested in changing industries now just to gain the greater equality offered by the jobs below.

So what can you do? Advocating for yourself and asking the right people to advocate for you can help around the edges.

And Goldin suggests that you might work toward getting the men in your company to work less. The less willing they are to put in long hours without phenomenally more money, she notes, the more likely companies will be to put in place systems that allow workers to be more interchangeable.

“Ironically, rather than women leaning in,” she says, “it’s about getting men to start leaning out.”

 

Occupational Category % Women in Field Median Earnings, Men Median Earnings, Women % Women’s Earnings to Men’s % Margin of Error
1. Media producers and directors 37% $62,368 $66,226 106.2 10.3
2. Cleaners of vehicles and equip. 14% $23,605 $24,793 105.0 9.6
3. Wholesale and retail buyers 49% $41,619 $42,990 103.3 5.9
4. Transportation security screeners 36% $40,732 $41,751 102.5 4.4
5. Social and human service assistants 79% $34,967 $35,766 102.3 11.6
6. Special education teachers 85% $46,932 $47,378 101.0 3.5
7. Transportation, storage, and distrib. mgrs. 18% $52,017 $52,259 100.5 5.5
8. Dishwashers 16% $17,302 $17,332 100.2 7.4
9. Counselors 70% $42,299 $42,369 100.2 2.2
10. Industrial truck/tractor operators 7% $31,002 $30,981 99.9 2.9
11. Massage therapists 76% $29,272 $29,240 99.9 11.1
12. Counter and rental clerks 47% $27,449 $27,194 99.1 19.6
13. Biological scientists 48% $57,653 $57,107 99.1 9.8
14. Tellers 89% $25,564 $25,222 98.7 3.0
15. Musicians, singers, and related 20% $42,988 $42,279 98.4 13.7
16. Misc. personal appearance workers 79% $22,047 $21,632 98.1 4.0
17. Meeting and event planners 81% $47,876 $46,973 98.1 12.7
18. Security/surveillance guards 22% $30,546 $29,883 97.8 4.1
19. Computer network architects 8% $96,549 $94,445 97.8 5.7
20. Social workers 80% $42,821 $41,795 97.6 3.9
21. Computer occupations, all other 23% $66,971 $65,329 97.5 5.0
22. Nonfarm animal caretakers 69% $25,025 $24,401 97.5 9.4
23. Dietitians and nutritionists 88% $49,001 $47,717 97.4 7.7
24. Postal service clerks 50% $54,166 $52,574 97.1 1.5
25. Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks 65% $21,995 $21,329 97.0 4.8

More from Money.com on equal pay:

The 25 Careers in Which Women are Most Underpaid Relative to Men

5 Ways Women Can Close the Pay Gap for Themselves

The Single Best Thing Women Can Do to Help Themselves in Salary Negotiations

MONEY Love and Money

This Is the Sexiest Financial Habit

businessman laying on field of money
iStock

A new survey asked people what money management traits they'd find attractive in a mate. Prepare to be surprised by the answer.

Money matters when searching for a mate—and it’s not just how much you have, but how you handle your cash, according to a survey released Wednesday by Ally Bank.

Three quarters of people think it’s important to find a partner with a similar financial philosophy. Okay, that figures. But the survey also revealed which financial habits people found most appealing in a potential mate.

And it turns out that… wait for it… a strong budgeting and saving strategy is the hottest, with 55% of respondents putting it at the top of the list. The older people were, the more fiscal discipline mattered.

Surprised? Budgeting is indeed sexy.

To make yourself more of a catch, check out “How Do I set a Budget I Can Stick To?” in our Money 101 section, or start using Mint.com, which does a lot of the work for you.

Paying off credit card bills in full every month (21%) and bargain hunting (18%) were other attractive attributes. So maybe you’ll fall in love over a Presidents’ Day sale.

And since only 3% were titillated by higher credit limits and liking finer things, consider tacos instead of T-bones on that first date.

Read more Love & Money:
The Most Important Talk You Need to Have Before Marriage
5 Super Easy Online Tools That Can Help Couples Feel More Financially Secure
5 Smart Financial Moves for Unmarried Couples Who Live Together

MONEY salary negotiation

The Single Best Thing Women Can Do to Bust through the Glass Ceiling

female and male coworkers holding up signs, female's reads -50% and male's reads 150%
Sarina Finkelstein (photo illustration)—Getty Images (2)

Talk to a guy before you name your number in salary negotiations.

This is the fifth in a series of six posts on salary negotiation published in partnership with PayScale.com.

The latest Census data shows that women earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by our male counterparts. You’d think we’d be livid.

But in fact, while many of us are angry about this inequity in a general sense, several studies have shown that women are not all that upset about being underpaid on an individual basis. The research shows that women report the same levels of satisfaction with pay as their better-paid male colleagues, even when controlled for occupation and position in the food chain.

Academics call this (frankly depressing) phenomenon “the paradox of the contented female worker.”

Those in the ivory tower have been attempting to explain this since social psychologist Faye Crosby coined the term some 40 years ago. But one recent study of Texas attorneys published in the Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal offers a plausible—and interesting—explanation.

Survey participants tended to base satisfaction with their salaries on the salaries of those people who were similar and proximate, says the study’s author H. Kristl Davison, an assistant professor of management at the University of Mississippi. “So essentially what happens,” she says, “is that women choose other women who are also lower paid as references and then end up with a lower sense of entitlement to more money.”

In other words, we are undervaluing our work because other women are undervaluing their work. And so the vicious underpayment cycle continues…

So how do you break that cycle, at least where your own lovely pocketbook is concerned?

The clearest implication of the study is this: When setting your expectation for pay for a job, don’t base your desired number on anecdotal evidence from your female peers.

Instead, start by gathering data from sites like Payscale to find out the average pay for the field, position, and location, regardless of gender. But—since women’s lower pay will be figured into these averages—also ask higher-level men in your field for their input.

“Asking male mentors can be very advantageous,” says Davison, “because it offers the perspective on what males are paid and because males talk about pay more than women do.”

You could say something like, “Bob, I’m going for this job as associate marketing director at a Fortune 500 company and they’re asking me for my salary requirements. I’m not sure what to say for that size of a company and wondered if you had any thoughts?”

(While mentioning a figure can help anchor the conversation in actual negotiations, avoid doing so here, since what you want is the other person’s uninfluenced opinion.)

And then when the interviewer asks for your salary expectation, you can say, “It’s my understanding from my research that jobs of this level pay in the neighborhood of $96,500,” or “I consulted my former boss Bob Smith, who’s now a V.P. at your competitor Quadroodle, and he told me the going rate is $96,500.”

(Note: Using a specific the number can make you sound more authoritative—so avoid rounding off too much.)

In a world where women all too often punished for being too assertive in salary negotiations, framing your argument around benchmark numbers and using a high-level ally to bolster your case can help you walk away with more money and your likeability in tact.

And that is the ultimate glass-ceiling breakthrough.


More from this series on Money.com:
]

More on salary negotiation from PayScale.com:

MONEY fix my mix

Get Free Help with Your Investing Challenges

Pile of money
B.A.E. Inc.—Alamy

MONEY is looking for people who are willing to share the details of their portfolio in exchange for a free workup with a financial planner.

Has the volatile market caused you to flee stocks for the security of cash and bonds?

Are you close to 100% in stocks but thinking now it might be time to dial back?

Would you like to rework your investments to generate more income from dividends and bonds?

If so, we’d like to help.

For an upcoming issue, MONEY is looking for people who’d be willing to share their portfolio and financial situation in the magazine, in exchange for having a top-shelf financial planner examine their investments from top to bottom and come up with a full and personalized financial plan.

You must be comfortable sharing details of your personal and financial life (including your real names) and being photographed for the story.

If interested, please fill out the form below. Please tell us a little about your investment challenges, and also include a few details about your family’s finances, including income, approximate savings, and debts. All of this information will be kept confidential until we talk and you agree to appear in the story.

Everybody has an investment challenge, so let’s hear yours!

MONEY pay gap

Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella STILL Has It Wrong on Raises for Women

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella
Manish Swarup—AP

The exec has taken back his comments that we should count on karma to boost our salary, but that doesn't mean he gets what it means to be a female at work today.

Easy for a dude to say that women should have “faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.” Especially a dude who makes $7.6 million and sits at the top of one of America’s largest companies.

But Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who made that comment in answer to a question about how women should ask for a salary increase—in front of a room full of women at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing on Thursday—at least seems to have realized the error of his statement.

On his blog last night, he acknowledged:

I answered that question completely wrong. Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap. I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s [Maria Klawe, computer scientist and moderator] advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.

Great that he owned the mistake. But what’s worse, the fact that he didn’t realize that women are paid 22 cents less on the dollar than our male peers—or the fact that he still doesn’t realize it’s not as simple as “just asking” for us?

Yes, We Pay a Penalty for Not Asking

Assuming you care remotely about women’s issues, you’ve seen the research showing that few women negotiate salaries. (By the by, it goes all the way up the ladder. Nadella’s fellow C-suiter GM’s Mary Barra noted at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit that she had never in her career asked for a raise. The emcee then polled the audience on how many of them also had never asked, and “the majority of the conference’s high-powered female attendees raised their hands,” according to Fortune‘s Broadsheet.)

Our reticence has a compounding effect over our careers. By not asking right off the bat, Carnegie Mellon economics professor Linda Babcock has said, we leave lost earnings “anywhere between $1 million and $1.5 million” on the table.

But We Pay a Penalty for Asking, Too

Yet Babcock’s research found that we may be on to something with our sense of caution. Simply stating the case for why we deserve a raise doesn’t tend to get women to the same result as it does men. In fact, it can actually hamper our career progress.

For a study published in 2005, Babcock and Hannah Riley Bowles, a senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, asked participants to watch videos of men and women asking for a raise. The guys and gals in the video used the exact same scripts.

The result? Participants liked the men and agreed to give them the bump in pay, but found the women too aggressive. While they gave her the raise, they did not like her. In particular, male study participants were less willing to want to work with the female negotiator.

We know that being well liked—a quality we women struggle with starting from the first grade-school birthday party we’re not invited to—is also key to getting ahead. So we’re caught between a high heel and a hard place.

Or, as Joan Williams, founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law, put it in The Huffington Post,

If women act too feminine and don’t ask, they end up with lower salaries. If they act too masculine and ask, then people don’t want to work with them. Women walk a tightrope between being too feminine and too masculine. Men don’t, which is one reason why office politics are trickier for women than for men.

So We Have to Give an Oscar-Winning Performance to Get What We Want

The research Babcock and Riley Bowles have done has found that women have to be more, well, “womanly” in their approach in order to get the raises and promotions that they deserve and come out the other side smelling like a rose.

You know—positive, solicitous, and putting others first. Less shark, more 1950s housewife.

Acknowledging herself that these findings are “depressing,” Babcock (along with Riley Bowles) concluded that being collaborative—trying to take the perspective of the company and hiring manager and using “we” statements instead of “I”—tends to be more effective than other approaches. They’ve also emphasized trying to be “authentic” by using language that feels comfortable.

That doesn’t feel the same as “just ask”—it requires us to act a part when what we simply want is for our managers to respect us as workers and people in a gender-neutral way.

We want to be able to walk in and say, “I brought in $2 million in business this year and am underpaid relative to my position,” and be better paid and just as well liked at the end of it.

You know, like a dude.

Related:
5 Ways Women Can Close the Pay Gap for Themselves
When She Makes More: How to Level the Financial Playing Field

MONEY salary

5 Ways Women Can Close the Pay Gap

woman standing at bottom of steps with man standing above her
iStock

New Census data found that women earn 78¢ to every $1 men do. These moves can help you get closer to even on your own paycheck.

If you have two X chromosomes and a job, the latest numbers on the wage gap will likely leave you feeling frustrated: Women make only 78¢ for every dollar a man makes, the Census just reported, marking all of a 1¢ improvement over 2012.

Meanwhile, Republican senators blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act this week, which called for greater salary transparency and would have required employers to be able to prove that wage differences were based on factors other than gender.

Overcoming the barriers to equal pay isn’t proving to be easy. And there are some factors we can’t move the needle on as individuals. For example, childbearing counts against us, in what economists have dubbed the “motherhood penalty.” We pay both a per-child wage penalty and also may be dunned for working fewer hours because of our caregiving responsibility. And then there’s straight-up discrimination, which is very hard to prove despite being so palpable to many of us at certain moments in our careers. (Perhaps this explains why one study found that 41% of the pay gap is unexplained!)

Closing the gap a penny at a time is still progress. But for those of you who don’t want to—or can’t—wait around until 2058 to see equal pay, here are five strategies to at least get you closer to even with your XY counterparts.

1. Negotiate smarter…

Working women have heard it all before: We’re not aggressive enough in asking for higher pay; we are bad at negotiating. But if do negotiate aggressively, well, that gets held against us.

But we’ve got to find a way to make it work for us if we want to get paid a fair wage.

So what can we do? Hannah Riley Bowles, a senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School who has done research on what makes women successful in negotiations, has found that being collaborative—using “we” and trying to take the perspective of the company and hiring manager—tends to be more effective than other approaches.

She also emphasizes authenticity, so try to come up with language that feels comfortable and natural for you to use.

2. …and from the outset.

A 2011 study by Catalyst tracked 3,300 high-performing students in M.B.A. programs as they began their careers, and found that while 47% of women and 52% of men had countered the initial offer made for their current job, only 31% of women vs. 50% of men had countered the offer for the first job they had out of grad school.

While it’s good that women are catching on to the importance of negotiating, we need to encourage them to do it sooner.

“Failing to negotiate your salary from the start is not only an initial mistake; it is one that will continue to follow you and will be compounded over the years, disadvantaging you throughout the remainder of your career. Every raise you get, every bonus you receive and even the number of stock options you are awarded, will be smaller because these amounts are normally determined as a percentage of your artificially low base salary,” wrote Lee Miller, author of A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating on six-figure job-search site TheLadders.

Say you started out $5,000 behind your male peer, making $40,000 vs. his $45,000. If you each got 3% raises for each of the next five years, you’d be making $46,371 vs. his $52,167, expanding the difference to $5,798 and you’d have given up $26,546 in income differential in those years.

The longer this goes on, the harder it is to catch up.

3. Push for promotions early on.

According to Payscale, “women’s pay growth stops outpacing men’s at around age 30, which is when college-educated women typically start having children.” Furthermore, women’s pay peaks at age 39 at $60,000, vs. $95,000 at age 48 for men.

That suggests that a smart move would be to try to move up the ladder before you decide to raise a family.

“How women negotiate their career paths is arguably a more important determinant of lifetime earnings than negotiating a little extra money,” Hannah Riley Bowles told The New York Times recently.

4. Work in a fairer field.

Part of the problem, according to Sarah Jane Glynn, associate director for women’s economic policy at the Center for American Progress, is that a large proportion of women are clustered in a relatively few fields: 44% are in 20 occupations. And typically within those professions, the majority of workers are women. As Glynn has written,

“Female-dominated industries pay lower wages than male-dominated industries requiring similar skill levels, and the effect is stronger in jobs that require higher levels of education.”

So just try for a higher-paying male-dominated field, right? That can help. Harvard labor economist Claudia Goldin found that, for college grads, moving into such a profession would eliminate an average 30% to 35% of the wage gap.

But that’s not always a home run. Goldin found that female aircraft pilots and financial advisors earn less on the dollar compared to male peers than the average worker, at 71% and 73% respectively.

Goldin did find that the pay gap is much smaller than the average in certain fields—including ad sales, dental hygiene, HR, chemistry, pharmacy, and computer programming. But she pegs the slim difference to the fact that these fields allow a specific kind of flexibility that allows one worker to easily sub out for another, if, say, someone has to stay home with a sick kid.

5. Toot your own horn.

That Catalyst study of M.B.A. grads found that, of those women who said they made their achievements known to others in the organization, 30% had greater compensation growth than peers who did not promote themselves.

Some of the qualities found in these folks: “ensuring their manager was aware of their accomplishments, seeking feedback and credit as
appropriate, and asking for a promotion when they felt it was deserved.”

Sounds easy enough on paper, but in real life, this kind of self-promotion isn’t always easy for women.

To make it more palatable, Laura Donovan of Levo League suggests being selective about the moments you do this (e.g. yes to scoring the $1 million client, no to pushing through the report that’s expected of you), choosing the right audience for your message (don’t blast the full staff), and focusing on facts rather than self-congratulation (“I just wanted you to know that we’ve signed the contract with Client Y, for $1 million over two years….”).

Also, focus on the upside: The Catalyst study suggested that self-promotion can help you gain sponsorship from important allies who can help you further advance in your career, and hopefully get you closer to closing the pay gap.

MONEY job search

5 Ways to Speed Up Your Job Search this Fall

Desperate to get out of your current gig? Use this data on the job market to help you find your next move—fast.

Even if you’ve had it up to here with your current job, you probably slowed your search for a new one during June, July, and August.

Between summer Fridays, long weekends, and week-long vacations—your own and those of your bosses—you likely found the situation just a little easier to swallow. Not that you’d have had much choice: In most industries, hiring activity is sluggish in the dog days of summer anyway.

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, though, you might be thinking about buckling down on your hunt for the red-hot opportunity. Good timing. Many fields experience a frenzy of hiring in the fall, as companies rush to use extra funds in personnel budgets by year’s end.

To put your search in overdrive, consider one of the following bold moves. You might be surprised at how soon you’re having that exit interview you’ve long been running through in your head.

1. Use the Most-Desired Keywords

Job listing aggregator Indeed.com reviews millions of online employment ads across thousands of sites to find common keywords. The 10 below are the fastest growing. So if you’ve got any of these skills already under your belt, wear them proudly in your résumé and cover letter as well. (And if you don’t have ’em, ask around to see if it’s worth getting more experience in these areas.)

  1. HTML5
  2. MongoDB
  3. iOS
  4. Android
  5. Mobile App
  6. Puppet
  7. Hadoop
  8. jQuery
  9. PaaS
  10. Social Media

2. Go Where the Jobs Are

Picking up and moving isn’t an option for everyone. But for those who have the flexibility, relocating your career may pay off.

Job listing site CareerBuilder recently assessed total job growth for the 50 biggest U.S. metro areas between 2010 and 2013 versus the growth that would have been expected in the locations based on national trends to come up with what it called the “competitive effect.” Due to specialized industries, these locales had the greatest edge:

CITY # JOBS ADDED, 2010-2013 KEY HIRING INDUSTRIES
1 Houston, TX 250,607 oil and gas, mining, architectural and engineering services, education
2 Dallas, TX 221,161 commerical banking, computer systems, education, hospitals
3 San Francisco, CA 165,768 computer systems, Internet businesses, corporate management
4 Los Angeles, CA 283,664 TV/film, payroll and accounting, medical instruments, missile and aerospace manufacturing
5 Austin, TX 84,774 data processing/hosting, computer systems, scientific/technical consulting, semiconductors
6 Phoenix, AZ 124,501 higher education, commercial banking, professional organizations, semiconductors
7 Miami, FL 134,588 legal services, business support, freight transportation, payroll services, real estate
8 San Jose, CA 90,559 computer systems design, computer/semiconductor manufacturing, software publishing
9 Detroit, MI 125,330 motor vehicle manufacturing, engineering services and temporary help services
10 Riverside, CA 76,646 warehousing and storage, offices of physicians, and heavy and civil engineering

Alternately, you might focus your search on one of these cities, which Indeed.com found to have the greatest number of job listings per capita. You’ll notice a bit of overlap. Also worth noting: San Jose, which makes both lists, is also the only city among the 50 most populous with a ratio of 2 to 1 for job postings per unemployed person, according to Indeed.

METRO AREA JOB POSTINGS
PER 1000 PEOPLE
1 San Jose, CA 123
2 Raleigh, NC 90
3 Washington, D.C. 82
4 Boston, MA 80
5 Hartford, CT 79
6 Baltimore, MD 74
7 Denver, CO 74
8 San Francisco, CA 70
9 Charlotte, NC 70
10 Austin, TX 64

3. Get In on a Growth Industry…

According to Indeed.com, these five fields have experienced the greatest growth in job listings over the past year. The easiest ways to switch to a new field: Look for a role that parallels yours (for example, if you work in marketing at a retail firm, you could look for marketing jobs at a transportation company) and/or focus on your “transferrable” skills. The good news is that growth fields often experience labor shortages, so you have a better chance as someone without industry experience than in other fields.

INDUSTRY GROWTH/
PAST YEAR
GROWTH/
PAST QUARTER
GROWTH/
PAST MONTH
1 Transportation 122% 33% 9%
2 Hospitality 43% 1% -1%
3 Construction 39% 4% 1%
4 Manufacturing 35% 5% 2%
5 Media 24% 5% 2%


4. …Or a Growth Occupation

Similarly, changing your role can help you gain more traction in your search. The “hottest jobs of 2014” list below from CareerBuilder includes roles that grew 7% or more from 2010 to 2013, are projected to increase in 2014, and pay $22 or more per hour.

JOB CATEGORY TOTAL EMPLOYED IN 2013 JOB GROWTH,
2010-2013
MEDIAN HOURLY
EARNINGS
1 Software Developers, Applications and Systems Software 1,042,402 11% $45
2 Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists 438,095 14% $29
3 Training and Development Specialists 231,898 8% $27
4 Financial Analysts 257,159 7% $37
5 Physical Therapists 207,132 7% $38
6 Web Developers 136,921 11% $28
7 Logisticians 127,892 10% $35
8 Database Administrators 119,676 10% $37
9 Meeting, Convention and Event Planners 87,082 14% $23
10 Interpretors and Translators 69,887 14% $22

5. Target Companies that are Hiring

A few weeks ago, Time ran an article from its partner site The Muse on 10 companies that are hiring like crazy right now. These include professional services firm Deloitte and textbook retailer Chegg.com and software company Atlassian.

Besides checking out those companies, you might also look into the following, which CareerBuilder reported were hiring in August.

COMPANY INDUSTRY LOCATIONS
1 ADP Human capital management CA, GA, IL, NJ, NY, TX
2 Advanced Technology
Services
Factory maintenance, industrial
parts, IT services
Nationwide
3 Bloomin Brands Restaurant Nationwide
4 Bohler Engineering Professional engineering services DC, FL, MD, NC, NY, PA,
VA, and New England
5 DialAmerica Call centers CA, FL, IN, NE, PA, SC, TN
6 DLZ Engineering Engineering IL, IN, MI, OH
7 Eagle Transport Corporation Transportation DE, FL, GA, KY, TN, NC,
SC, VA
8 Elderwood Senior care NY, MA, PA, RI
9 Guckenheimer Hospitality/food service CA, MA, MO, WA, TX
10 Healthfirst Health care FL, NY

You might also take a hint from this graphic from aggregator Simply Hired: Concentrate on companies in the Inc 500 list, as this phrase appears in job ads more often—by a wide margin—than Fortune 50, 100, or 500.

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