When paying an hourly wage, the employer pays the employee for each hour the employee works for him or is “on the clock.” This is different from paying a person by commission, whereby the worker receives pay after completing some task, or a salary, which is a set amount of payment for a period, regardless of how much time the employee actually works during the period.
If you are trying to determine if your salary is comparable to what others in your profession are earning, knowing what the average hourly wage earned is in your field can tell you. This figure can also assist an employer in determining what he needs to offer an employee. The amount is the average each employer in a specific group earns, not necessarily the actual amount he earns.
Average Hourly Wage
Averaging any set of numbers involves adding up the numbers, and then dividing the sum total by the number of people in the group. For example, when averaging the hourly wage of three friends, begin by adding up their hourly wages. If Sam earns $10 an hour, Sue earns $9 an hour and Sally earns $11 an hour, the sum total of the hourly wages for the three friends is $30. To arrive at their average hourly wage, divide $30 by three. The average hourly wage earned for the group is $10.
When discussing the average hourly wage earned, first identify the group to which it applies. It might be the hourly wage earned by one employee for a time period, whereby you total the wages he earned over a specific period before averaging, or the average hourly wages of a specific group of employees.
A common term when discussing occupational employment statistics is “mean wage.” Mean wage is an average wage. When calculating the mean wage for an occupation, the sum wages of the employees are divided by the number of employees in the group.
When discussing occupational employment statistics the term “median wage” is sometimes confused with average wage. Yet, it is not the same thing. To determine median wage, divide the group in half. The half of the group making the lowest wages, earn below median wage, while the half earning the most, earns above median wage. For example, if there are six employees in the group, with hourly wages of $8, $9, $10, $20 and $30, those earning under $10 are earning below median wage for the group, while those making $10 or more are making above median wage.
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