TIME

Why Bad Bank Service Means You Could Pay More

We want more attention, they want more money

In the wake of the financial crisis, the Feds put the kibosh on a whole slew of bank tactics pertaining to overdraft fees, interchange fees (which they charge merchants when you use a debit card and which stores say get passed along in the form of higher prices) and credit card interest rate hikes. To cope, banks closed branches, invested in technology so they could replace costly branches and tellers with computers, and started trying to coax their more affluent customers into shifting their borrowing and investing activities from other institutions.

At the time, these actions made sense. Banking industry trade publications and white papers were full of buzzword-y terms like the “360-degree customer view,” which encouraged banks to think of a checking account as the financial services equivalent of the $1.99 chicken breasts at the supermarket: A loss leader that could reel in customers who would then stick around and buy more profitable items (like, say, a home equity loan or brokerage account). And banks poured money into their online offerings, mobile apps and upgraded ATMs that — the thinking went — could deliver customer service at the fraction of the cost of a teller depositing money or checking a balance for a customer.

But it didn’t turn out like that, according to a new study from consulting firm Capgemini and banking trade association Efma. The World Retail Banking Report shows that positive customer experiences fell among North American bank customers. “Return on investments in the front- office and digital channels are struggling to keep up with evolving customer expectations,” the report says.

The advancements in technology just built up people’s expectations — especially for tech-savvy younger customers. “Across all regions, Gen Y customers registered lower customer experience levels than customers of other ages, reflecting the high expectations Gen Ys have of banks’ digital capabilities,” the report says. The fact that young adults are less satisfied than customers in other age brackets shows that banks aren’t keeping up with the technological times, and less than half of American Gen Y bank customers say they plan to stay with their current bank over the next six months.

And yet, customers’ embrace and expectation of digital banking didn’t put the kind of corresponding dent in branch usage banks were seeking. In fact, the number of people using bank branches in North America actually went up — hardly the kind of digital revolution banks were seeking. Seems we’d still rather deal with a human being for most kinds of banking activities because we don’t think the digital service is up to snuff. “Customers still perceived the branch to be offering better service than what could be found on the digital channels,” the report says.

Banks’ cost-cutting moves in the service arena did some serious damage to customer satisfaction, dampening customers’ inclination to deepen their relationship with their banks or recommend the institutions to others, another key component of banks’ post-reform moneymaking strategy. “Alarmingly for the banks, there was a significant increase in the percentage of customers who were unlikely to buy additional products or refer someone to their banks,” the report says. In North America, that figure jumped by more than 20 percentage points in just a year.

The report blames this on growing competition to banks from other products and services like Apple Pay, LendingTree and Starbucks’ prepaid payment platform.

What could this mean for customers? If you said, “more fees,” you just might be on the right track. According to research company Moebs $ervices, financial institutions have collectively lost roughly $5 billion a year in overdraft fee revenue alone (although, if this sounds like a lot, keep in mind that they still made roughly $32 billion off these fees in the year that ended September 30, 2014, compared to around $37 billion just before the new laws kicked in.)

Moebs also says bank and credit union net operating income as a percentage of assets fell by nearly 7% last year from the year prior, driven by a drop in revenue from fees. “Financial institutions need to assess why fee revenue is falling and develop additional sources of fee revenue to get net operating Income back on track,” Moebs economist and CEO Michael Moebs wrote earlier this month.

And that technology we’ve grown to depend on might be the way to accomplish this. One recent study finds that a quarter of bank customers say they’d pay $3 a month just to use their bank’s mobile app, a figure that goes up to about a third for customers under the age of 35.

“Customers are willing to pay for services such as credit monitoring, person-to-person transactions, personal couponing, identity theft protection, and related other services,” a recent banking trade publication article notes, saying that if banks get on the ball, they could more than make up their losses from that declining overdraft revenue — probably not what all those already-frustrated customers wanted to hear.

TIME

This Is the Silver Bullet to Reducing Workplace Stress

It’s something almost everyone can do

Ever get so stressed you want to tell your boss to go take a hike? Maybe you’d be better off if you took that advice yourself.

New research finds that a half-hour walk at lunchtime promotes increased relaxation and reduced stress among office workers. “Walking… seems to have both energizing and relaxing properties in the workplace,” writes lead author Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, an associate professor in the Psychology and Speech Pathology School at Curtin University in Australia.

In an experiment with 75 university administrative staff members that asked participants for frequent, real-time feedback over the 10-week course of the study, subjects reported being more relaxed, more enthusiastic and less nervous on afternoons following the lunchtime walks they took three times a week.

“On days in which participants walked during lunchtimes, they experienced significantly greater levels of enthusiasm and relaxation at work during the afternoon compared with afternoons when they had not walked at
lunchtime,” Thøgersen-Ntoumani writes. This combination, she finds, gave the employees more motivation and made them feel like they were doing a better job at work.

The new study does come with some caveats: Among the subjects (more than 90% of the whom were women), some seemed to experience more fatigue after walks on days that were dark or cold, and the walking was conducted in groups, leaving open the possibility that the social interaction could help boost people’s moods as well as the physical activity.

But these findings are worth taking seriously because they build on a body of earlier research that say exercise can effectively reduce stress, including workplace stress. For instance, British researchers found that people who exercised before work or at lunchtime reported enhanced performance on the job, being better able to manage their workload and time management. They also said they were more motivated and better able to deal with stressful situations that arose.

An online Harvard Business Review article last year offers some clues as to what’s behind this. People who exercise feel more capable of tackling tasks or challenges — and feeling like you’ve got a handle on whatever the boss or a client throws at you can go a long way towards lowering your stress.

One of the biggest obstacles to exercise is a lack of time, but you don’t need an hour — or even a half-hour — to benefit: “The link between exercise and mood is pretty strong,” psychology professor Michael Otto tells the American Psychology Association’s Monitor on Psychology. “Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect.”

And you don’t need to be a gym rat to begin with: The subjects in Thøgersen-Ntoumani’s study were all sedentary, defined as getting less than 150 minutes of physical activity a week, and they benefitted from those midday strolls. “The increase in sedentary jobs requires innovative solutions to help get employees more physically active at work,” she writes. “The lunchtime walking program tested as part of this study… indicated that it was effective” at targeting sedentary employees, she concludes.

TIME

These Are America’s Secret Money Habits

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You'll be surprised at how we really see ourselves

Young adults spend less on groceries, but eat out more. New Yorkers are suckers for a fancy brand name, Bostonians love giving gifts and Floridians want to get money advice from Warren Buffett.

These are some of the finds in the new TD Bank Saving and Spending Survey, which uncovers some good news as well as some red flags about how Americans manage their money today.

Respondents under the age of 35 have the most financial confidence of any age bracket. They’re less likely to use the words “conservative” or “cautious” to describe their approach to saving, and they’re a full 10 percentage points more likely when compared to the overall pool of respondents to say they’re “very confident” that they’ll be able to save enough for retirement.

This apparent contradiction is because young adults are at very different points in their lives, says Nandita Bakhshi, TD Banks’ head of consumer bank. “Some are just graduating from college while others are married and starting a family. This mixed group lends itself to mixed answers.”

Bakhshi adds that because many of them are landing their first “real” post-college jobs, they’re seeing their financial circumstances shift rapidly. “Many of them… finally have extra income they can use to splurge on items they want,” she says, and they also have the ability to save a meaningful amount for the first time in their adult lives. “Seeing their savings grow, even if it is a small amount, is a big accomplishment and gives them a sense of pride and confidence,” she says.

Other recent research yields similar findings. The Bank of America/USA Today Better Money Habits Millennial Report finds that more than two-thirds of young adults have savings or save regularly each month; more than three-quarters of those who have savings goals say they meet them.

But when people were asked where they tend to overspend, millennial respondents to the TD Bank survey are most likely to say they spend too much in all categories, and more likely to say they wish they could save more.

In particular, they stand out for splurging on restaurants, even though they spend less on groceries than other age groups.

Bakhshi says this is a combination of millennials being unable to resist an option that offers greater convenience, and this demographic’s preference for doing things in groups. “Dining out is also considered to be a social event that many millennials look forward to [even if] it may stretch their budget a bit,” she says.

Both surveys find that parents and friends are a big influence on how young people manage their money. The Bank of America/USA Today survey finds that almost two-thirds of young adults say they get financial guidance from their parents, and nearly 30% get financial information from their friends.

The TD Bank survey found that a little more than half of young adults get financial advice from their parents, just over the average for respondents of all ages, but 14% say they turn to their friends — a considerably higher figure than the 8% of all respondents who say the same.

There are other differences that break down by geography rather than age. TD Bank finds that Florida residents, for instance, are much more likely to say that their ideal person to talk about financial strategy with is famous investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.

“Florida has a high population of retirees [who]may no longer have that support system” of friends and family for financial advice, Bakhshi says.

Bostonians are the only group of respondents who say they overspend on gifts for other people, but that generosity has limits: This is also the category more Bostonians say they’d cut back on if they hit a financial tight spot.

New York City residents report higher spending on purchases like restaurant meals and tickets to sporting events, and overspending on more categories like high-end brands and coffee, than people who live in other places do.

“In many urban areas, such as New York, consumers have easy access to many things such as dining out, entertainment and clothing,” Bakhshi says. “It is hard to walk down the street without passing any of these places.”

TIME

Here’s What a Ticket Does to Your Car Insurance Rate

Car driving through intersection with photo enforced camera radar.
Theo Fitzhugh—Alamy New technology aims to help drivers avoid getting speeding tickets from one of these roadside cameras.

Demographic differences play a big role

Getting a traffic ticket is bad enough, but what’s even worse is getting stuck with higher insurance premiums as a result. Whether or not a ticket will mean those costly extra charges, though, depends on a few things — and they’re factors that are largely out of your control.

In a new survey, InsuranceQuotes.com digs into the demographics of who pays higher insurance premiums after getting a ticket, and it finds that not all drivers are created equal.

First, the good news: Just under one in five drivers will be stuck paying higher premiums after getting a ticket, compared to nearly a third just two years ago.

When it comes to avoiding a premium hike after the fact, being older helps. InsuranceQuotes finds that drivers under the age of 50 are three times likelier to pay higher rates after a ticket than those 50 years old and older. Part of this could be due to how often insurance companies take a peek at your driving record: Younger drivers — who have a reputation for riskier driving — are checked more frequently than older drivers.

But drivers under the age of 30 are actually less likely to get tickets in the first place than those between the ages of 30 and 49, the survey finds.

Wealthier drivers are also more likely to get ticketed. Those with incomes of $75,000 or higher were the most likely income bracket to be ticketed — although they’re less likely that the poorest drivers to see a subsequent rise in their insurance rates.

While 21% of the wealthiest drivers paid higher premiums after a ticket, 24% of those earning under $30,000 a year had to pay higher rates. Drivers who earn between $30,000 to just under $50,000 fare the worst: 27% of those who got tickets saw higher rates.

In terms of income brackets, the sweet spot seems to be the upper-middle income bracket, as just 7% of those who earn between $50,000 and just under $75,000 paid higher premiums after a ticket.

Also, racking up more than one moving violation also increases the likelihood of having to pay more for insurance. While the most common citation, by far, is speeding, other common infractions include driving without a license, not using a seat belt, running a red light or stop sign, or using a cell phone while driving. InsuranceQuotes finds that, among drivers who have been ticketed over the past five years, just over 10% accrued four or more tickets.

TIME

This Is the Retirement Regret Nobody Talks About

This is a big myth about retirement nobody talks about

There is ample evidence that baby boomers are working longer than any generation before them, pushing the “traditional” retirement age of 55 into the 60s, and with many — for personal or financial reasons — working right up to Social Security’s full retirement age of 67 and beyond.

People are living longer, and many older investors suffered losses when the stock market fell in the Great Recession. Today’s workplaces have been adjusting to accommodate for a growing number of older workers, and this trend towards putting off retirement is hailed as a generally positive shift in boomers’ approach to their golden years.

There’s just one thing: A lot of them regret it afterwards.

A new survey of retirees between the ages of 62 and 70 with $100,000 or more in investable assets conducted on behalf of New York Life found that nearly half of respondents wished they had retired earlier. More than half who were 60 or older when they retired regretted waiting so long.

On average, respondents wished they’d retired a full four years earlier than they actually did.

Three out of 10 retirees who had accumulated between $100,000 and $249,999 wished they’d retired sooner. About a quarter of those with between $250,000 and $1 million said the same, and even 20% of millionaires regretted not bowing out of the corporate rat race sooner.

“Investable assets and retirement age impact desire to retire sooner,” says David Cruz, a senior managing director at New York Life.

A lot of workers have been pushing themselves to work later in life, but hindsight makes them second-guess their decisions.

“As people age, they realize that during the time right before they retired they still had as much energy” as they did during their years in the professional world, Cruz says. Then as they age, it dawns on them that they were wasting the potentially best years of their retirement in the office. “They realize that having flexibility during those earliest potential retirement years can be priceless,” he says.

It’s a classic case of not knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone — and it’s something that’s conspicuously absent in most of the conversations we have today about what makes for a satisfying retirement.

“We think that as people age and slow down, they realize how much they would have enjoyed additional years of flexibility when they were younger and more energetic,” Cruz says. “Most people spend a lifetime accumulating retirement assets but don’t know how to turn those assets into a fulfilling retirement.”

TIME

Here’s Why Tuesday Is the Best Day for Job-Seekers

And find out which three hours are your golden window of opportunity

If you’re looking for a new job, you might just find yourself saying, T.G.I.T — thank goodness it’s Tuesday. A new study of more than 270,000 job listings by the site SmartRecruiters.com finds that Tuesday is the most popular day of the week for companies to post jobs, and it’s also the day when companies extend the most job offers to prospective employees.

“Mondays are busy and tend to get away from people before they have a chance to extend offers,” says SmartRecruiters founder and CEO Jerome Ternynck. “By Tuesday things are back to normal and they can focus on extending job offers.” Tuesday also is the most popular day to apply for a job, which means you’ll have more competition, but it still pays to jump on a promising ad as soon as you see it, since almost 60% of applicants submit applications within the first week of a job being posted.

“As a job candidate, take the weekend to get your ducks in a row, update your resume, get your references lined up and watch the job boards for new postings during the beginning of the week, specifically on Tuesdays,” the company advises in a blog post about the findings on its site.

The most popular time of day for companies to post jobs is 11 a.m. “Most hiring managers and recruiters come in and need to take time to catch up or get their days started,” Ternynck says. “By 11 a.m., they’re caught up and can post jobs and they can still catch the group of candidates that might be searching during their lunch break.”

Ambitious candidates who want to get a jump on the competition should hit those job boards before lunch, though. The data shows that 2 p.m. is the most popular time of day for people to apply for jobs, leaving a three-hour window of opportunity for the people who want to get their foot (or resume, as the case may be) in the door first.

After Tuesday, the second-most-popular day for job offers is Thursday. Ternynck explains why this is the case, saying, “I find that employers are eager to make offers before the weekend starts and people are thinking more about weekend plans,” he says. Thursdays also give the job-seeker a weekend to think about the offer before accepting it.

Almost 60% of jobs are posted between Monday and Wednesday, SmartRecruiters finds. In particular, if you’re looking for an office job or corporate position, concentrate your job search to the workweek. “Corporate-type jobs are not as common and typically don’t have the success on weekends that they do earlier in the week,” Ternynck says. If you’re looking for an entry-level or hourly job, though, the weekend might hold some potential for you. “In my experience, the types of jobs being posted and applied for on the weekends are typically hourly positions and hospitality-type positions,” he says.

TIME

Secrets to Answering the World’s Hardest Interview Questions

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Here's what the interviewer really wants to know

Interview questions that throw candidates for a loop like, “Why are manholes round?” have become the stuff of job-hunting legend, with stories from super-competitive tech companies like Google bringing the brainteaser question into the mainstream. Today, a much wider variety of companies use oddball or offbeat questions to try to find out something about a candidate — but if you’re sitting across the desk from a hiring manager, it can be hard to figure out why they’re actually asking about manholes, golf balls or some other puzzling riddle.

CareerBuilder asked hiring managers to spill the craziest question they’ve ever asked in an interview, they asked them to explain what they’re really interested in finding out. Here’s your peek behind the crazy-interview-question curtain— insight that just might be enough to get you hired.

“Define ‘Jell-O’ without using any form of the word ‘gelatin.’” Rather than being about jiggly desserts, this question gives the interviewer a window into your creative problem-solving skills.

“How would you wrangle a herd of cats?” Obviously, cats aren’t cattle. What an interviewer wants to hear when they ask a question like this is what kind of strategic thinking you use to organize and lead.

“Do you believe in life on other planets?” This isn’t the time to talk about your vast knowledge of Star Trek trivia. In this case, an interview is curious to find out whether or not you have an open-minded, “anything is possible” attitude.

“If you didn’t have to work, what would you do?” Please don’t say “sleep in” here. This reveals to an interviewer what really motivates you and what you’re passionate about outside of your 9-5 existence.

“If you were CEO at your last company, what would you change?” This one can seem tricky, because you don’t want to come off sounding like you’re bad-mouthing an employer. The aim of this question is most likely to ascertain how well you can take a step back and look objectively at situations or challenges, and what tactics you would use to improve or solve them.

“If you were a share of stock, why should a company buy you?” This one isn’t really a trick question so much as another way to ask, “Why should we hire you?”

“What superpower would you like to have?” How you answer this one gives the hiring manager a peek into how you view your own strengths, and your weaknesses.

“If you could be a Disney character, which one would you be and why?” This is another one that tips your hand a bit and tells the interviewer how you see yourself. It’s also not a bad way to assess a job-seeker’s sense of humor.

“If you were stranded on an island, which two items would you like to have with you?” Your answer here tells the hiring manager how you prioritize resources and what strategies you use to cope with limited resources.

“If you were trapped in a blender, what would you do to get out?” This question is a multi-tasker. It shows the interviewer how you think on your feet, and demonstrates your creativity as well as your problem-solving skills.

TIME

There’s Scientific Proof the All-Day McMuffin Is a Brilliant Idea

McDonald's
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images A sign stands outside of a McDonald's restaurant on Feb. 9, 2009 in San Francisco, Calif.

People really like the concept

McDonald’s recent announcement that it will begin serving breakfast all day in some stores as a test gave the burger giant a big boost in hungry customers’ minds, a new survey shows.

Fans of the Egg McMuffin and McGriddles were happy when the news broke last week that the fast food purveyor will start serving breakfast all day in some San Diego-area restaurants. According to YouGov BrandIndex, “42% of frequent breakfast eaters… would consider purchasing from McDonald’s the next time they are looking to eat.” That’s higher than Wendy’s, Burger King or Taco Bell.

“McDonald’s has also seen the biggest improvement on customer satisfaction among frequent breakfast diners,” YouGov says. And McDonald’s “buzz score,” which measures consumer perception of what they’ve heard about the brand in the past two weeks, is the highest it’s been since the beginning of the year among adults who eat fast food breakfasts at least once a month. The score ranges from -100 to 100, with zero as a neutral perception. At the beginning of the year, McDonald’s scored a 1. As of yesterday, that number had shot up to 11, passing Burger King’s score of 9 and Taco Bell’s score of 7 (which the research company notes is likely disappointing given how heavily the brand is promoting its breakfast waffle taco).

Other market research also shows that diners are ready to scarf McMuffins all day long. Market research company Technomic found that roughly half of consumers surveyed enjoy eating breakfast food outside of morning hours. “Demand is apparently robust for all-day breakfast… all-day breakfast could be a much-needed win,” the company said in a blog post Monday. And market research firm Mintel found that sales of breakfast meat and eggs went up by 300% between 2010 and 2013, while breakfast sales at fast food and so-called “fast casual” restaurant chains went up by 5% in 2013 alone.

Wall Street likes the idea, too — not because analysts necessarily crave the chain’s hash browns, but because rivals like Taco Bell have noticed that breakfast is a bright spot in an otherwise lukewarm fast-food market, and have been ramping up their breakfast efforts accordingly. “The customer demand is there” Janney Capital Markets analyst Mark Kalinowski wrote in a note to investors.

TIME

Why More Access to Credit Is Not a Good Thing

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It's basically like getting the keys to a race car we don't know how to drive

According to a recent survey from the New York Fed, Americans today feel pretty good about their ability to get credit. The percentage of people applying for credit cards ticked up over the last quarter, and it’s up about three percentage points since October 2013, while the percentages of rejected credit card applications and involuntary account closures have fallen. The percentage of people rejected when they ask for a credit limit increase has fallen even more sharply; as of last quarter, more than 75% of people who asked for increases got them.

And we think the good times are going to keep rolling. The same Fed survey found that more people expect to ask for credit limit increases — and get them — over the next 12 months. Abut 12% of survey respondents expect to apply for credit cards in the next year, a jump of about four percentage points over the previous quarter.

This would be all well and good, except for one tiny detail: We really have no idea what we’re doing when it comes to credit, and being clueless can cost us big bucks.

The 2015 Chase Slate Credit Survey finds that about 40% of us have never checked our credit scores, and people in this camp have a fuzzy grasp of what a “good” credit score entails. People who have never checked their credit think, on average, a score of 668 is good (it’s really not terrific).

Even among the people who have checked, they think a score of 719 is good — which is better, but still not where you need to be if you want to get the best rates. With a score like that, you’ll probably be able to get credit, but you might pay more, and these survey results indicate that many of us might not even realize we could be doing better and saving money in the process.

Chase also shows that we’re overconfident about our credit smarts in other ways. While almost 90% of people who say they’re in a “poor financial situation” have a good handle on what constitutes a good credit score, only about 80% of those who think they’re in good shape, credit-wise, know what that really means.

A survey by credit bureau TransUnion finds a similar knowledge gap: More than two in five of the people in its survey who checked their credit in the last month think your income is included in a credit report, and almost half of those who have checked their score in the last year think getting a raise automatically boosts your score. (Neither is true.)

And while we’ve got great intentions, we don’t always follow through: Although two-thirds of respondents to the Chase survey say they want to improve their credit over the next year, only about a third of respondents say they have a plan to do so, and more than one in five say they’ve never lifted a finger to improve their credit. More worrisome: A majority of people surveyed don’t even know paying bills on time is the top factor that contributes to your credit score.

Sometimes, this lack of knowledge can prevent us from educating ourselves further: 20% of respondents in TransUnion’s survey who checked their score in the last year think doing so lowered their score, which could keep them from checking it more frequently. In reality, checking your own score doesn’t hurt it; it’s only when a lender makes an inquiry that your score takes a small hit.

So, while lenders are happy to keep giving America credit and borrowers are eager to take it, many of us are doing so without even a basic grasp of how the system works. This isn’t blissful ignorance; this is potentially expensive ignorance, and the worst part is many people don’t know how or why to improve their credit.

 

TIME Careers & Workplace

There’s Actually a Secret to Getting a Raise—And This Is It

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And, no, it's not switch careers

It’s no surprise that working in a big city like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles means you might earn more, but as it turns out, where you live can affect how much you earn pretty much anywhere in the country. In other words, if you’re not happy with what you make, think about switching cities rather than careers.

TheLadders.com crunched the numbers to see just how big of a difference location can make in your earnings potential. It identified 21 jobs with salary gaps of 98% or higher as well as the highest- and lowest-paying average salaries by city.

The top-paying location for nine of the 21 jobs is San Francisco, and three others are in two more California cities, Monterey and Sacramento. “San Francisco’s booming technology sector has created an unmet demand for particular skill sets, forcing companies to compete for these scarce talent resource and pushing up top tier salaries,” says Shankar Mishra, vice president of data science at TheLadders.

San Francisco is also a notoriously expensive place to live, of course. Longtime residents have protested what they see as an intrusion by big tech companies like Google pushing rents higher and clogging the streets with private shuttle buses for employees.

Many of the jobs with the biggest gaps are in marketing or communications, but almost every field turns up somewhere on the list, from tech to law to financial services to healthcare. In fact, a technology job tops the list. Information security officer jobs have the biggest gap identified by TheLadders at 139%. Workers in Boston make an average of $113,000, but people doing the same kind of job in Miami only pull down an average of $47,000.

In terms of dollars, the job with the biggest gap — a whopping $91,000 — is an enterprise account manager. People with this job make an average of $168,000 in Baltimore, but earn a comparatively paltry $77,000 in Milwaukee. (It’s kind of a vague title, but generally, it refers to a professional who sells and manages telecommunications or technology services to corporate clients.)

Once again, resurgent tech boom is a driving force behind this trend, Mishra says. “Big players in the technology industry are influencing the top end of salaries quite a bit, and the impacts aren’t just on tech-specific roles, but for other functions too,” he says.

For instance, this is why so many jobs in marketing and communications show up with big variations in pay and command much higher salaries in cities with strong high-tech sectors like San Francisco and the Silicon Valley area.

“Demand for most of the top-paying jobs in this field is being driven by the technology sector,” Mishra says. “To contrast, demand for these kinds of jobs is much lower in cities like Little Rock or Charleston,” he says. Those two Southern cities had the lowest average salaries for director of marketing and director of communications positions, respectively.

Two legal jobs — associate general counsel and associate attorney — made the list, and the results are similar. These positions pull down top salaries in the nation’s capital, while the lowest pay for both is in Louisville.

“The excess of lawyers combined with a lack of demand in Louisville has suppress their median salaries,” Mishra says. “The presence of the federal government in D.C. generates enough demand to keep pushing the top end of salaries in this field even higher.”

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