New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics lets us see the average pay for every major occupational group and also the distribution of pay at each level for these groups. It's pretty cool:
There are no huge shockers here, but a couple of interesting things. One is that even though "sales and related" positions is a pretty low-paying field, the top 10 percent of salespeople get paid like the top 10 percent of a considerably more upscale profession. My guess is that if the data got more granular and showed you the top 1 percent of salespeople, you'd see that pattern continue. That's what commissions will get you.
The flip side of that is computer and mathematical occupations, which are way up by the top but seem to have a relatively low-paid top 10 percent. Anyone who reports on the business world at all has heard about the "war for talent" that's allegedly happening in Silicon Valley, but you don't really see superstar salaries getting paid in this field. That's possibly because it's all going into stock options instead of wages, but maybe higher cash payouts are something companies waging this war should consider.WATCH: '11 fascinating bills from other currencies'