The Ultimate Boston Salary Guide: Who Makes What Where (& Why)

From a fledgling scientist’s $29,000 to an über-landlord’s $42 million (and maybe, if you’re lucky, a few of your coworkers’)—Boston paychecks, laid bare.

A chat with a stranger usually follows a familiar script: You trade names, you ask where the other lives, you ask what the other does for a living. Pause for a second there. Not what you do for work, but for a living. Because for most people—and there are 548,831 of us employed in this city—the bulk of our waking hours are spent on the job, and that makes our jobs one of our defining characteristics. They tell a story about who we are, about the choices we’ve made. They help us understand each other.

The conversation never continues on, though, to the question that really fills in the blanks about the respondent: “How much do you get paid?” It’s politeness, mainly, that prevents its raising. But there’s also an element of self-interest, of wanting to avoid the private discomfort that creeps in anytime you meet someone hauling in a lot more, or less. Fortunately, public records don’t bother with such considerations of tact. Neither, frankly, did our reporters when they went out to gather the information on the following pages. Should anything you learn herein provide you with ammunition the next time you ask for a raise, make you reevaluate why you slave away for your take-home—or give you cause to secretly gloat the next time you learn a new acquaintance’s occupation—it’d be nice if you remembered who gave you the scoop. This, as the saying goes, was a dirty job, and we worry about what it’ll make you think of us. But we also knew that somebody had to do it.

It Pays to Be Wanted
Breaking down the going rate for good help in the city’s 10 most in-demand occupations.
By Dan Morrell

Dear Diary: Today, I Worked
What people in three quintessentially Boston jobs do during a typical day at the office. And why (according to Harvard labor economist Edward Glaeser) they earn what they do.

1. The Metro Hawker

2. The Investment Banker
3. The Grad Student Researcher

One Building, Countless Paychecks
The complex remuneration ecosystem of the city’s office park in the sky.

What a Way to Make a Living
Getting paid 55 grand a year or less, and loving (almost) every minute of it, in five of the Hub’s sweetest gigs.
By Jason Schwartz

The Salary Ticker
A paycheck sampler, in five parts.