Would a six-figure salary define you as successful? How much do you need to earn to consider yourself as a success? The vast majority of U.S. workers – 75 percent – don't feel that they need to earn six figures to be successful, according to a new CareerBuilder study.
Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they would feel successful earning between $50,000 and $70,000 while 23 percent reported they would feel successful earning less than $50,000. One in ten said they need to pull in $150,000 or more. The CareerBuilder study, conducted earlier this year, polled 5,700 workers across industries.
Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of U.S. workers reported they currently earn their desired salary or are close to it (45 percent). Nearly one-third (32 percent) said they are not anywhere near their target pay level.
"While compensation is definitely important, workers don't necessarily equate success with hefty incomes," said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources for CareerBuilder in a statement. "Often you'll see intangibles such as the ability to make a difference, a sense of accomplishment and work/life balance eclipses the size of a paycheck in what matters most to workers."
Men were nearly twice as likely as women to say that they would need to earn six figures to be successful (32 percent compared to 17 percent). Tellingly, men were more than twice as likely as women to actually earn $100,000 or more.
Less than half (47 percent) of households with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million consider themselves wealthy, according to a first quarter wealth level study conducted by Millionaire Corner. Seventy-six percent of these households report that salary, bonuses, commissions and other compensation accounts for the largest portion of these households’ earnings.
The struggling job market, though, has played havoc with salaries. Forty-nine percent of workers reported that they have not had a merit increase in two years, while 25 percent said they had not received one since before the economic collapse in 2008.The definition of success in relation to salary varied among industries, CareerBuilder found. Workers in information technology (48 percent), sales (38 percent) and financial services (37 percent) were the most likely to report they would need to earn six figures to feel successful. Workers in retail (36 percent), hospitality (33 percent) and manufacturing (22 percent) were the most likely to report they would feel successful earning less than $50,000.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.