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Podcast Specials

Payday: Exploring compensation and pay in America

David Brancaccio Aug 31, 2012
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How much do you make? If your co-worker, friend or a family member asked you that question, how would you react?

That’s a question we’re exploring in this special podcast. Pay is as taboo a subject as you can get in the U.S. Many people will talk about their sex lives before they talk about their paycheck. Take a listen to explore why what we get paid for is such a mystery in America, and how compensation might be changing.

If there is one group of people who are not supposed to keep their compensation a secret, it’s the company boss. And now Congress is demanding some companies go further and compare CEO pay to what everyone else makes at a company. Which brings us to the question: Why do CEOs make so much more money than middle managers?

Take a second to think about what you make. Have you ever wondered why you get paid what you get paid? There is often a hidden system at work shaping your compensation that could stand in the way of your next raise if you don’t know how to play it.

From the very top of the pay scale to the bottom — 1 in 20 workers in America get paid the minimum wage. It’s a good idea to have a minimum wage, though, right? Not necessarily. What are the pros and cons of having a minimum wage? Marketplace’s Krissy Clark gathered together two economists to hash it out.

And finally, a dinner party, where friends got ‘naked’ about their paychecks and finances. My kind of gathering.

Tell us more about your thoughts on the taboos of pay and the minimum wage, and look into the future of your career with our job forecasting tool Future-Jobs-O-Matic.

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Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.

When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.