How Much Are Dads Worth in 2012?

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: July 3, 2012

Welcome to Our Annual Father's Day Survey

Much is made of Mother's Day because it has become a full-blown Hallmark holiday over the years. But once all the hype and hoopla is over, there's this vague feeling that you're leaving something out. That something is dads -- and Salary.com hasn't forgotten.

Our annual Father's Day Survey is back this year as we celebrate dads and all the work they do for their families. Every year Salary.com surveys thousands of dads to find out how much time they spend on household and childcare duties. Then, using our extensive salary data containing information on more than 4,100 different jobs, we determine what the "Top 10 Dad Jobs" are, apply our salary information to them, and come up with a "Dad Salary" that shows what stay-at-home and working dads would earn if they were actually paid for their fatherly duties.

This year's results were interesting on a number of levels.

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

Dads Are More Involved Than Ever

Traditionally, moms have cornered the market on parenting while dads are often thought of as workaholic breadwinners who only return home to dole out discipline. But, according to the nearly 2,000 fathers we surveyed, times have changed.

For starters, the number of dads who visited our Dad Salary Wizard increased by 71 percent compared to last year. Furthermore, the number of men who reported being full-time stay-at-home dads jumped 46 percent over 2011. Regardless of whether that's a nod to rampant layoffs and the recent economic recession, or more fathers making the conscious decision to stay home and raise children, it's clear men are more involved than ever before on the homefront.

Both stay-at-home and working dads enjoyed salary increases compared to last year. Stay-at-home fathers saw a 3 percent increase in their Dad Salary, even though they spent the same number of hours on their dad duties compared to last year. The biggest change was working fathers, who enjoyed a 9 percent bump in pay and worked an average of 1.4 hours a week more than last year. And that's in addition to the 40+ hours a week working fathers spend at the office working their paying jobs.

But whether dads stay at home with the kids full-time or split time between home and the office, here are 10 most common "dad jobs" in 2012 (salary data used is from April 2012)

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

10. Laundry Machine Operator

Annual salary: $20,500
Hourly pay: $9.86
Stay-at-home dads: 3.1 hours a week
Working dads: 1.4 hours a week

Forget the dopey, stereotypical males you see on TV who wash colors and whites together to turn all of junior's clothes red as mom comes home shaking her head with a smirk while fixing everything. Today's dads not only know how to work the washer and dryer, they've convinced major brands like Tide and Clorox that dads have an increasing amount of purchasing power because they are involved in more and more basic household buying decisions. 

Although the laundry basket seems to be bottomless when you have kids, today's dads are no longer letting the dirty clothes pile grow to gargantuan proportions. Whether they stay at home or work, they're pitching in on laundry duty no matter what.

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

9. Groundskeeper

Annual salary: $26,600
Hourly pay: $12.79
Stay-at-home dads: 3.6 hours a week
Working dads: 2.9 hours a week

This one comes as no surprise since working outside is a well-established dad pasttime.

And yes, there might be some truth to the rumor that dads like mowing the lawn because it allows them to buy a riding mower which leads to delusions of grandeur involving their ability as a NASCAR driver. But the main reason this job made the Dads Top 10 is because groundskeeping is important to their families.

Not only does this job involve mowing the lawn, raking up leaves and gardening, but a groundskeeper is generally responsible for other things like snow removal. Keeping stairs and walkways free of debris isn't just an issue of aesthetics, it's something that prevents injuries and literally keeps their family members safe. Which is why dads consistently brave the hot sun and icy winter conditions to make sure their spouses and children are taken care of.

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

8. Psychologist

Annual salary: $76,700
Hourly pay: $36.88
Stay-at-home dads: 3.6 hours a week
Working dads: 2.2 hours a week

Even though a lot of dads probably feel like they could use a pyschologist at times, the dads we surveyed spend healthy portions of every week listening to, and helping, their children.

Men in general are often lampooned for their lack of communication skills and inability to express themselves emotionally. But modern dads are more attuned to the emotional well-being of their children like never before. Whether it's navigating the choppy waters of middle school bullies, being reassured their kids' acne really isn't that bad, or consoling them after a particularly tough loss in sports, more and more dads are now the go-to parent when kids need a sympathetic ear.

Just remember dads, even when your kids pretend they're not listening to your advice, they usually are.

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

7. Chief Executive Officer

Annual salary: $171,800
Hourly pay: $55.06
Stay-at-home dads: 4.3 hours a week
Working dads: 3.7 hours a week

If there's one thing we learned about dads, they're high level thinkers.

While mothers reported working more hours than fathers in almost every category, the one marked difference is CEO. Stay-at-home dads spend 1.2 hours a week more on their household CEO duties than stay-at-home moms, and even working dads report spending more hours per week as a CEO than full-time moms -- 3.7 hours compared to mom's 3.2.

CEOs are the head honchos who map out a course and make sure everyone is working towards it. In the familial sense, this year's crop of dads are spending more and more time examining the big picture and making sure their family's long-term sustainability and well-being are in good shape.

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

6. Facilities Manager

Annual salary: $66,300
Hourly pay: $31.88
Stay-at-home dads: 4.6 hours a week
Working dads: 3.5 hours a week

Ah dads -- perhaps best known as "Mr. Fix-It."

According to our job description, a Facilities Manager "ensures optimal functioning of building systems including mechanical, electrical, fire/life safety. May manage a staff of employees in the maintenance of building and grounds." Dads everywhere often take it upon themselves to be captains of weekend do-it-yourself projects around the house. That "staff of employees" usually translates into "children engaging in forced labor," but without the hard work of dads constantly fixing things up around the house, said house would be rough shape.

Thankfully, the job description also states "May oversee contractors for facility renovation projects," for all those times dads bite off more than they can chew and have to call in a professional. Even though they TOTALLY could've done it themselves!

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

5. Van Driver

Annual salary: $28,800
Hourly pay: $13.85
Stay-at-home dads: 5.3 hours a week
Working dads: 3.2 hours a week

Out of all 10 Top Dad Jobs, the biggest jump in time spent by dads was in this category.

It shouldn't be surprising to parents -- especially those with multiple kids -- that van driver appears on this list. Gone are the days of unorganized, unscheduled play. Kids these days have organized sports league as young as 3 years old, which means 5 a.m. hockey rink times, early morning Saturday tee-ball, basketball practice twice a week and soccer on Sundays. If you have more than one kid, that means your weekends are probably busier and more crammed full of events than the President.

Dads these days have moved off the sideline and into the game to make sure kids are getting to where they need to be on time. Even if that means being seen in a minivan.

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

4. Maintenance Worker

Annual salary: $28,900
Hourly pay: $13.89
Stay-at-home dads: 5.5 hours a week
Working dads: 4.2 hours a week

While moms still perform the majority of housekeeping duties, our survey shows dads are the primary maintenance workers.

Whether it's plumbing, carpentry, painting, wallpapering, electrical work or doing upkeep and small car repairs, dads are still the go-to guys when it comes to making sure everything is operating properly around the house. While TV shows and movies often show dads as inept laughingstocks regarding home repairs, the truth is families save a lot of money by having dads as the first line of defense against household repairs.

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

3. Cook

Annual salary: $27,300
Hourly pay: $13.13
Stay-at-home dads: 5.7 hours a week
Working dads: 2.2 hours a week

Although the Cook job is still high up on the list, both stay-at-home and working dads reported cooking less this year than last -- SAHDs spent 6.2 hours on cooking while working dads clocked 2.7 weekly hours in 2011.

But despite the drop, it's clear moms aren't the only ones whipping up culinary masterpieces for the family on a daily basis. Some of the best chefs in the world are men, and our survey proves dads are no strangers when it comes to the kitchen. Whether they're baking up a scrumptious dessert or grilling up the delicious salted meat of your choosing, more and more dads are cooking and -- more importantly -- taking time to plan out nutritious meals for the family.

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

2. Computer Operator

Annual salary: $32,100
Hourly pay: $15.43
Stay-at-home dads: 7.9 hours a week
Working dads: 6.2 hours a week

Another big mover on the Top 10 Dad Job list is computer operator.

This was the number one weekly task among working dads, and came in second by stay-at-home fathers. It seems dads are the ones who come to the rescue and troubleshoot problems when kids or spouses click on something they're not supposed to, or when there's a computer virus to be dealt with. From setting up home networks to getting the wireless printer to work properly, dads spend a large amount of time monitoring the technological well-being of their families, which is more important than ever in this the Age of the Internet.

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

1. Daycare Center Teacher

Annual salary: $26,900
Hourly pay: $12.93
Stay-at-home dads: 9.3 hours a week
Working dads: 2.5 hours a week

As usual, the #1 job on the Dad Job List is Daycare Center Teacher.

After all, stay-at-home dads spend the bulk of their days planning out a curriculum and serving as the most important teacher their kids will ever have. Depending on the age of their kids, dads are either scheduling playdates, coordinating playground trips, working on letters and numbers or facilitating arts and crafts. Although they still get some unfortunate looks from those who still haven't adjusted to the rising number of involved dads in today's society, both stay-at-home and working dads are ingratiating themselves into the trenches of parenthood -- and doing a heckuva job.

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

So How Much Are Dads Worth?

So with all these jobs dads perform, how much are they worth if they were paid for their dad duties?

Stay-at-home dads report performing 52.9 hours of work on a weekly basis, consisting of a 40-hour regular work week and 12.9 hours of overtime. That's good for a total Dad Salary of $61,814 a year. Working dads would earn $36,757 a year for 32 hours of dad duties. But keep in mind, that's on top of the 43.2 hours working dads spend at their paying jobs, where they earn an average of $70,000 a year to provide for their families.

But that's a far cry from our six-figure Mom Paychecks, which feature some head-scratching differences in time spent on parenting compared to dads. This year, stay-at-home moms said they spend an average of 94.7 hours a week on household and childcare duties -- more than 40 hours more than their stay-at-home dad counterparts. In fact, working mothers say they spend more time on parenting (57.9 hours a week) than full-time stay-at-home fathers (52.9 hours a week). 

Why the massive discrepancy? Some dads have some theories, and they'll be sharing their thoughts soon when dad bloggers from The Good Men Project partner with us to bring you first-hand dad testimonials over the course of the next few weeks. So stay tuned.

And a Happy Father's Day to everyone from Salary.com!

Use our Dad Salary Wizard to customize your dad's salary & print out a check.

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