In today's post, I start a new series, which will appear on this blog whenever I find some interesting data. This series is called Data Sniping. Data Sniping posts share interesting data with the readers, while pondering the implications in the data. After all, what's theorizing worth without some data?
This post presents some data on the salaries of employees who work for Cook County (Chicago). I found the data on the Windy Citizen about a month ago; Cook County Commisioner, Tony Peraica made the data available here. The present data are for 2007 salaries: even though it isn't what people get paid today, it's still interesting. The data have names, date of hire, job title and annual salary for over 25,000 Cook County employees.
As that's a lot of data, I decided to focus this first segment of Data Sniping on the salaries of Cook County administrative assistants. I do not mean to pick on administrative assistants. Administrative assistant is just a common occupation. Therefore, it's relatively easy to compare salaries to other industries, and to relate to our own experience.
Cook County employs five different levels of Administrative Assistant, which the data set creatively calls Admin Assistant I through Admin Assistant V.
How much does the county spend on administrative assistants? In 2007, Cook County employed 1,751 administrative assistants, who were paid a total of $85,148,617 in salary. That's an average salary of $48,628. The median salary is $48,910.
Compared to other employers, administrative assistants who work for Cook County do quite well. According to PayScale.com, an executive secretary or administrative assistant who has worked for at least 20 years can, on average, expect a salary of $42,680. An administrative assistant who has 5 to 9 years of experience can expect $36,716. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics data gives similar numbers to PayScale.com (a median salary of $40,030)
From the data, there seems to be a significant pay bump to working for Cook County. Maybe it is a cost of living adjustment. Maybe they're extra special administrative assistants, with loads of other duties. Or, maybe that's what we get for paying taxes.
For now, I leave it to the readers. What do you think? Why do Cook County Administrative Assistants get paid so much? Is it too much? Not enough?