Knowledge gets the biggest pay premium
October 05, 1999
The wage premium for knowledge is higher than other factors. On average, wages go up about 10-15 percent as knowledge requirements go up one level and all other factors of the job are fixed.
The premiums for working more independently (less supervision and less reliance on detailed guidance) are on the order of 7-10 percent per level. There are less substantial premiums for the factors of complexity, scope, and effect of the work and for supervisory duties. There are only negligible premiums for measures of personal interaction on the job and for the physical aspects of the job.
In sum, the duties most highly valued by the marketplace are generally cognitive or supervisory in nature. Job attributes relating to interpersonal relationships do not seem to affect wages, nor do the attributes of physically demanding or dangerous jobs.
These results are based on analysis of data from the National Compensation Survey. The chart shows the largest wage differential between jobs at the lowest level of the job attribute and jobs at higher levels of the attribute. For more information see Chapter 2 of the Report (PDF 1,037K).
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Knowledge gets the biggest pay premium on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/oct/wk1/art02.htm (visited August 18, 2017).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Women in the workforce before, during, and after the Great Recession
A look at trends and projections in the labor force participation of women from the 1950s to 2024.
Employer-sponsored healthcare coverage across wage groups
A look at the relationship between employee wages and access to, participation in, and costs of employer-sponsored medical, dental, and vision care benefit plans.
Sports and Exercise
A look at participation and time spent in sports and exercise activities.
Women at Work
A look at women's labor force participation and earnings, how women spend their time and money, the nature of fatal work injuries, and labor force projections for the future.