Should You Look for a Salary or Hourly Job?

For many people, moving from hourly pay to salary feels like a step up. Even if you are doing the exact same job for what ends up being the exact same take-home pay at the end of the week, being salaried can feel like a promotion. But is it? Is it really?

Should You Look for a Salary or Hourly Job?


Like two peas in a pod! Image Courtesy of: Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Salary: Pros and Cons

The biggest perk to being on salary is knowing exactly how much money you are going to be making every week. You’ll take home the same amount no matter how many hours you work. Your pay won’t get docked if you get sent home because there isn’t anything for you to do or because the company is having budget issues. You can plan and set up a budget.

People who are on salary are also typically given more responsibilities than someone who is being paid by the hour. This is because they can put in the extra hours when they are needed without it costing the company anything (and because they’re awesome and deserve the extra responsibility, of course). It’s great to be able to concentrate on a project and not worry about getting in trouble if you stay late to get it done.

At the same time, when you are on salary, you don’t bring home any extra pay if you do stay late. You also are rarely eligible for overtime pay if you work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. This means that even if you work 50, 60, or even more hours, you’ll still take home your same salary. This can be problematic.

What is your time worth? Image Courtesy of: Graur Razvan Ionut/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Hourly: Pros and Cons

When you work for an hourly rate, you are eligible for overtime pay, and that pay can add up quickly. You’ll know you’re getting paid for every minute you spend on the job. This can help you feel better when you do get asked to stay late or to cover someone’s shift.

Of course, hourly employees are the first to get sent home or even let go if the company goes through budget issues. It can also be frustrating to have to drop a project while you are in the middle of it and have to pick it up the next day (or maybe even in a few days) because your boss doesn’t want to pay you any overtime or for any more hours.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both types of employment. Don’t let anybody tell you hourly employees aren’t as important or relevant to the work force as salaried employees. Often it simply comes down to the small business payroll situation of the company and what sort of payment schedule the employer wants, and nothing more.

What would you rather be? Hourly or Salary?

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Erin Steiner

Erin Steiner is a freelance writer and blogger from Portland, Oregon. She writes about a variety of topics.


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