Not just child's pay
Standard starting salary for those who cater to the needs of the next generation of Gothamites is $400 a week, with a premium, as high as $100 a week, for additional kids -- especially twins. While the vast majority of the city's nannies work off the books, some sign on with agencies serving the city's high-end professionals. They can earn $800 to $1,000 weekly, topping out at $2,000 for surrogate parents who cover 24-7 for, say, actors and actresses who travel a lot. Applicants for top spots must know New York City (toddlers need tour guides, too) and have at least two years of experience in "a valid home, similar to the one they'll work in," says George Handin, the owner of the International Agency. "There's nothing wrong with Jackson Heights or Astoria," says Handin, "but a nanny is more likely to get placed in Manhattan if she has references from Little Neck or Douglaston." Thanks to young moneyed Manhattanites, nanny salaries have doubled since the eighties. "In a select crowd of multimillionaires and billionaires, there are bidding wars for nannies."
The hosts with the most
"It's not a thankless job," says Harald G. Mootz, president of the New York City Association of Hotel Concierges and assistant chef concierge at the Plaza Athénée. "To be able to pull off certain things -- like getting a corner table for somebody -- they come back and they've got that twinkle in their eye; what you did made their stay a little bit better." For one regular guest from the Virgin Islands, Mootz micromanaged the delivery of caviar from a Manhattan purveyor to the client in his Caribbean home in time for dinner that night. "I just consider it part of the job." Junior concierges at a four- or five-star hotel make roughly $30,000; assistant chef concierges get about $35,000, plus possible commissions (from Greyline, for instance), which can jack wages up to $10,000 extra a year, not to mention tips from grateful guests. Chef concierges, the highest position, top out at $50,000. Members of the prestigious Les Clefs d'Or ("The Golden Keys"), an international association of concierges who have logged at least five years in the industry, can earn even more, sometimes as much as $80,000.
Wheeling the wheeler-dealers
A real or perceived need? Who knows. But security-minded moguls like Ron Perelman, who like their chauffeurs locked and loaded, are willing to pay up to $100,000 to put the likes of an ex-CIA or FBI agent behind the wheel. Private chauffeurs without the firepower survive on just $30,000 to $50,000. Livery drivers, the guys who take you home from the office late at night, can take in $30,000 a year if they own the car -- which most do -- after they pay expenses. But there are exceptions. Says Louis Gargiulo, general manager of Allstate Car & Limo: "I've heard of people working ten to twelve hours a day, six or seven days a week," to pull in $60,000 to $70,000.
Cabbies, too, tend to make $100 a day over expenses. Those who own the cab and medallion have the luxury of working the most profitable hours -- morning and afternoon rushes. But their counterparts who lease have to work the standard six twelve-hour shifts a week to make the same $30,000.
Where sucking-up is a given
In the hours before curtains go up on (and off) Broadway, you can find actors all over town rehearsing their lines (and humming show tunes) while vacuuming, dusting, and polishing floors. Jim Ireland, owner of White Glove Elite, a cleaning service, employs many off-hour thespians to scour upscale abodes. While the going rate for the average house cleaner is $9 per hour, folks employed by high-end referral services like White Glove can take home up to $15 per hour (the client pays $17). Not bad for extra cash -- since it's a referral service, taxes are up to the client and the cleaner -- but can a career dust-buster support a family? Ireland assures that working eight-hour days, six days a week, can yield $31,000.
Dicing for dollars
If you're considering trading your office togs for a toque, consider this: Line cooks, those folks slaving over the stove, make at least $10 an hour. Work your way up to sous chef or pastry chef and you could pull down $45,000 to $100,000 -- if you can sauté well enough to impress the brigade at Daniel. According to our sources, chefs at Danny Meyer's ever-popular nightspots make $100,000 to $125,000, but with perks and bonuses that figure can more than double.
If you can't stand the heat in the kitchen, there's still money to be made out front. Seasoned restaurant folks say a good waiter can make an honest $50,000 at a significant name restaurant and as much as $75,000 in the city's busiest and best places. Sommeliers, who push the high-margin product, can make $65,000 to $80,000 -- but if they move a lot of big-ticket wines that number can go higher. And a general manager, who runs the place, should expect to report at least $100,000 on her 1099.
Money talks, everybody walks
Greed -- good, bad, or indifferent -- is the norm on Wall Street. It's impossible to imagine the financial world without it. So even rookies make salaries that in other businesses take years to achieve -- and move up swiftly from there. Not that everyone becomes a Master of the Universe. Wall Street is divided into the buy side and the sell side. Sell-side firms (for instance, Merrill Lynch) make most of their money on fees from underwriting companies and selling stock and investment ideas. Buy-side firms are primarily involved in managing people's money (Fidelity, for example). Broadly speaking, sell-siders make more money.
The classic Wall Street entry point is the junior analyst position, which functions as a kind of just-out-of-college apprenticeship. Junior analysts spend two years as grist for the money mills, then return to campus for an M.B.A. The pay is in the $40,000s, but with a second-year bonus it averages out to $150,000 for two years' work.
After business school, prepare to make some real money. Second-year associates can earn $250,000; by the fifth year, you might make $750,000 -- plenty for that starter home in Greenwich. By the time you're a managing director, you could be in an oceanfront mansion with a $10 million paycheck.
At the top of the investment-banking heap are the mergers-and-acquisitions specialists. Last year, even these elite ranks were fending off raids from dot-coms. But the collapse of Internet compensation probably won't affect M&A salaries. "The volume of mergers and IPOs this year is ahead of the pace for '99," says Scott Dinhofer of the Concorde Group, a recruiter who specializes in M&A. "So this year's numbers should be up at least another 10 to 20 percent."
In the nineties, equity analysts joined M&A directors onstage as the rock stars of the financial world. There are two types of equity analysts: the buy-side kind, who study companies to find value, and the sell-side kind, who flog companies that their bank has underwritten in order to create value. The latter make a lot more money -- star analysts like Mary Meeker earn upwards of $15 million.
Portfolio managers aren't as glamorous -- or as highly paid. Starting salaries average $80,000 with a $10,000 or $15,000 bonus -- and even great portfolio managers, if they don't change gears, tend to top out at $700,000.
Traders run the gamut from the old-style, hairy-chested, towel-snapping, alpha-male cardiac cases to the egghead gnomes of Long-Term Capital who almost brought down the world financial system. Stereotypes aside, it's a high-anxiety job, with concomitant high burnout rate. The entry points vary: Some sign on with a small shop and start off as a runner. Others apply for one of the coveted training programs run by firms like Merrill or Goldman. Base salaries start at $50,000 and go up to $200,000, depending on the firm or fund and the accounts and experience of the trader. Traders get a percentage of the profits they make trading other people's money, often 18 to 25 percent. "Good equity traders can make between $1 million and $2 million," says Michael Flood, a partner at Boyden. And their bosses make even more. Those handling trading management make at least $4 million and as much as $6.5 million. At that rate, who wouldn't want to burn out young -- and enjoy a very long retirement?
What's love got to do with it?
Perhaps it's only on The West Wing that women work their way through law school turning tricks. But here in New York, escorts can snag $100 to $1,000 an hour -- or more -- depending on how they look and how good they are. And who's the judge? "They are," says one industry insider. "There's no Better Business Bureau on them." Sure, the going rate for straight sex with a call girl -- not a prostitute on the street -- is $100, but a woman who develops a specialty will watch rates soar. S&M starts at $175 an hour for mild role-playing and bondage, jumps to $250 an hour for flogging and spanking, and tops out at $500 for the real kinky stuff that involves bodily fluids. (In all cases, the john picks up the tab for the room -- or dungeon space.)
Public appearances cost more than just doing the deed. "If you just want to have her in bed at night and not worry about showing her off," says our insider, "it's $150 to $200. If you want someone you can take to the cocktail meeting with your boss and then take her home and fuck her brains out, it's $500."
What a hooker can make in a year is a function of the rate she can command and the amount she wants to work. "Some prostitutes work weekends; the ambitious ones work four nights a week for two or three hours a night. Depending on how skilled, well-known, and ambitious they are, they could take down $50,000 to $200,000 or $300,000," says the insider.
The sex industry may be booming, but in New York, lap dancing is in decline. "Topless dancers work mainly on tips," says our informant. "In New York City, they aren't making money anymore. It's not popular anymore. Dancers who work four nights a week who have a good personality, a nice body and face, will make $30,000 a year at a very good club. If they make less than $100 a night average in tips on top of the thirty grand, they're in the wrong club -- or business."
Do-gooders do okay
The nonprofit world seems to be responding to competition from the business world's biting at its employees' well-worn heels. According to a survey performed by Ernst & Young, the talent at nonprofits in the metro New York area saw an average salary increase of 7.1 percent between 1998 and 1999. Foundations took the lead, paying their top executives an average of $224,000. CEO salaries for the whole sector averaged around $163,000 -- half of what their profit-minded colleagues made. Deputy executives averaged $118,000; top financial officers, $96,000; head communications employees, $90,000; top-level administrators, $70,000. Human-resources department heads beat them out by an average of about $2,000, but they had to fend off minions of good-hearted applicants, so the money was well earned.
Your pay performance is site-specific
Suffice it to say that the so-called upside to working in the Internet sector isn't what it used to be. "The employee pool is getting as good as venture capitalists are in asking questions about a company's ability to succeed," Andrew Rasiej, president and CEO of Digital Club Network, a live-music Internet channel, says with a laugh. "I just came out of an interview, and the person said to me, 'What I want to know is, How is this company financed?' "
On the tech side, you can start at anywhere from $40,000 to $75,000 as a software engineer or programmer, but you'll need to know the more complicated coding languages. Manage a team of engineers and you'll earn anywhere from $65,000 to more than $110,000. Specialize your coding skills and headhunters will beat a path to your door -- security specialists and database programmers are making upwards of $150,000. Technical architects create the blueprint for the site, making $125,000 to $200,000 for fusing old and new technology. As the chief technical officer of the company, you can make anywhere from $150,000 to seven figures, depending on the size of your company (or its burn rate).
After Nasdaq's April meltdown, stock options lost their luster, so Internet companies have increasingly reverted to the traditional pay structures of the business world. "Stocks will continue to be used as a performance incentive, but they are not necessarily an inducement to employment," says Rasiej. "Cash is king now."