Are you happy with your salary?

How much money does it take in order for a person to feel content, or successful?

Worker income has been notoriously stagnant as the U.S. economy recovers, and a new survey by CareerBuilder finds most workers are not earning their desired salaries.

The national survey polled 3,372 full-time workers, as well as nearly 2,200 hiring managers and human resource officials, across a variety of salary levels, industries and companies.

As you might expect, people with lower incomes were less satisfied with their salaries. 77 percent of those polled who earned less than $50,000 were dissatisfied, as were 61 percent of people earning under $75,000.

At the $75,000 annual salary level and above, however, those numbers change as a majority of the workers in the higher income ranges said they were earning their desired salaries.

"The survey supports past research suggesting that the $75,000 threshold is particularly significant, as this level allows households in most areas of the country to not only get by, but enjoy an ideal lifestyle and a secure future," Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, said in a press statement.

"Interestingly, what workers would ultimately like to earn does not necessarily factor into what they need for a successful career," she said.

Which leads to a second, interesting question: How much money do you need to earn in order to feel successful?

According to CareerBuilder, while the majority of workers in its survey were not satisfied with their earnings, 55 percent said they can feel successful making less than $70,000 a year.

Seventy eight percent, meanwhile, said they don't need to be earning $100,000 or more to be successful -- although men were more likely to need that $100,000-and-up salary bracket (29 percent of those polled) than women (15 percent) to feel they'd achieved success.

"In many cases, success is relative to the type of work individuals do or their current career stage," Haefner noted. "Regardless of income, we found that workers tend to find success near their own salary level or in the range directly above."

  • Bruce Kennedy

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