Should Santa Earn a 6-Figure Salary in This Economy?

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Marijus Auruskevicius /

If Santa earned a salary, it would rank his job among the best-paying gigs in the nation this year.

That’s because the value of Mr. Claus’ many tasks amounts to a salary of $146,308.51 for 2016, according to the latest annual Santa Index compiled by That reflects a 2.2 percent pay bump from last year.

The Santa Index is based on a list of tasks that are then matched up to occupation and wage data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

For example, the task that accounted for most of Santa’s salary this year — $121,779.84 — was running his workshop.

The index matched that task up to the BLS occupation title of industrial engineer, which came with an average hourly wage of $41.82 this year. then figured Santa spent eight hours per day running his workshop, 364 days per year, earning him that $121,779.84.

The task that accounted for the second-largest portion of Santa’s salary this year was labor negotiations with elves.

That task corresponds to the BLS occupation title of labor relations specialist, which came with an average hourly wage of $29.30. figured Santa spent a half-hour negotiating every day of the year, earning him $5,347.25.

Not everyone believes Santa is so deserving, though.

The latest annual Santa survey found that 8 percent of people believe he should not get any salary, primarily because St. Nick does what he does out of the goodness of his heart.

As for the rest of us, we have widely varying opinions on how much Santa deserves:

  • More than $300,001: 18 percent of people say Santa should earn a salary in this range
  • $200,001 to $300,000: 4 percent
  • $150,001 to $200,000: 7 percent
  • $100,001 to $150,000: 13 percent
  • $75,001 to $100,000: 14 percent
  • $50,001 to $75,000: 17 percent
  • $25,001 to $50,000: 12 percent
  • Less than $25,000: 7 percent

One thing’s for sure, though: If Santa did earn that $146,308.51, it would make his job the No. 8 best-paying job in the U.S. this year. Specifically, he’d rank between dentist ($155,267) and orthodontist ($131,214), according to a CareerCast analysis released last month.

If you’re still trying to complete your own Santa-like tasks, check out “Still Shopping for Gifts? 10 Last-Minute Money-Saving Tips.”

What salary do you think Santa Claus deserves? Let us know why by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.