Press Center / Press Releases / 2017-05-31


Wage growth falls to nearly flat in Houston (0.4%) and Philadelphia (0.5%); San Francisco only metro to see pay growth accelerate (2.3%) compared to last month

MILL VALLEY, CALIF. (MAY 31, 2017) – According to job site Glassdoor, the annual median base pay in the United States grew 2.1 percent year over year (YOY) in May 2017 to $51,159. The Glassdoor Local Pay Reports show pay growth decelerated slightly from 2.4 percent revised pay growth recorded last month, revealing a four-month downward trend since U.S. pay growth peaked at 3.1 percent in January 2017. Recruiters, as well as many health care and retail jobs, experienced faster-than-average wage growth across the U.S. and in each metro covered by the reports. The Glassdoor Local Pay Reports provide a unique view into the country’s wage picture with salary estimates for 60 job titles across multiple industries and year-over-year pay growth trends in the United States. The reports include details on 10 major metros: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

In nine out of the 10 metros tracked by Glassdoor Local Pay Reports, the pace of pay growth in May slowed compared to April. Only San Francisco saw the rate of pay growth rise, up from 2.2 percent YOY growth in April to 2.3 percent growth in May.

“The U.S. continues to experience a slight softening in wage growth during the first half of the year. However, 2.1 percent is still decent growth and is higher than what we saw in 2015 and 2016. It remains above the rate of inflation, which indicates that on the whole, workers are getting ahead. The job market continues to be fast-growing, and we are seeing big wage gains for many jobs, especially in the retail and health care industries,” said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist of Glassdoor.

Recruiters and Retail Jobs See Fastest Pay Gains

As the U.S. economy hits full employment, recruiters saw the biggest YOY pay gains this month at 7.4 percent growth to a median base pay of $51,216, indicating that companies are relying more on passive candidates to fill jobs, putting recruiters in high demand.

“Great recruiters know how to find and entice the right candidates for open positions, it is something of an art. Having an eye for screening candidates and good judgment about who will or will not work for a position is becoming an increasingly valuable skill in a tight labor market,” says Chamberlain.

Traditional retail jobs are also seeing fast pay gains that are well above the national average, with store manager pay up 4.9 percent to $48,364 and cashier pay up 4.6 percent to $27,492. Despite weakening among large box department stores, the retail labor market overall appears strong and growing. Warehouse associate, a critical job for the growing online retail industry, saw a whopping 6.7 percent rise in wages to $40,882.

Above Average Wage Growth in Health Care and Higher Education

Registered nurses (RNs) saw 4.5 percent wage growth in May to a median base salary of $66,305. Demand is high for skilled nurses, and the shortage of RNs across the U.S. is being reflected in these big pay gains. Several other jobs in the health care industry experienced above-average wage growth, including pharmacy technician (up 4.3 percent YOY to $30,369) and medical technologist (up 3.0 percent YOY to $53,313).

Among high-paying jobs, professor pay continues to rise quickly, up 4.4 percent YOY to $90,274. “This partly reflects how many STEM professors are being poached away to work outside of academia in machine learning, data science and technology,” said Chamberlain. “In some cases, universities are having to boost pay and make counter offers to keep them.”

Jobs with Biggest Pay Gains – U.S.
Rank Job Title % Wage Growth YOY (May 2016-May 2017) Median Base Pay (May 2017)
1 Recruiter 7.4% $51,216
2 Customer Service Manager 7.1% $54,552
3 Restaurant Cook 7.0% $29,097
4 Warehouse Associate 6.7% $40,882
5 Bank Teller 6.1% $28,744
6 Store Manager 4.9% $48,848
7 Maintenance Worker 5.7% $43,175
8 Cashier 4.6% $27,492
9 Sales Representative 4.6% $47,629
10 Registered Nurse 4.5% $66,305

The weakest U.S. pay growth was for 
design engineers, a common manufacturing job, which experienced a pay decline of 2.7 percent YOY, to $69,337, a possible result of the country producing more services than products and rising automation. Java developer salaries also fell in May with negative growth of 1.9 percent YOY. This follows several months of slow or negative YOY growth for this job title.

For a list of jobs with the biggest declines, visit the Glassdoor Economic Research blog.  

Pay Growth in Houston and Philadelphia Falls Nearly Flat

In Houston and Philadelphia wage growth was nearly flat this month, and in Washington, D.C., pay growth lagged far behind the U.S. average. Houston median base pay rose by just 0.4 percent YOY to $54,182. Philadelphia median base pay rose by 0.5 percent YOY to $53,818 in May, compared to 1.4 percent in the previous month.

Wage Growth by U.S. Metro
Rank Metro % Wage Growth YOY (May 2016-May 2017) Median Base Pay
  United States 2.1% $51,159
1 Los Angeles 2.6% $59,371
2 San Francisco 2.3% $67,352
3 New York City 2.3% $60,639
4 Seattle 2.0% $59,246
5 Boston 2.0% $58,387
6 Chicago 1.9% $55,470
7 Atlanta 1.7% $52,524
8 Washington, D.C. 1.2% $58,375
9 Philadelphia 0.5% $53,818
10 Houston 0.4% $54,182

more on jobs with the highest and lowest pay, visit the Glassdoor Economic Research blog.  

The full data sets for the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports can be found on the Glassdoor Economic Research site, along with report methodology and Frequently Asked Questions.

To read more trends and insights from Chamberlain on this month’s report or his predictions regarding the May Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Situation Report, visit the Glassdoor Economic Research blog.

Any individual can also keep tabs on their personal worth in their local job market through Know Your Worth™ by Glassdoor. Visit Glassdoor or download the Glassdoor Job Search apps for iPhone or Android.

To speak with Dr. Chamberlain regarding the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports or his predictions for this month’s jobs report:


About Glassdoor

Glassdoor is one of the largest and fastest growing job sites in the world today. Set apart by the tens of millions of reviews and insights provided by employees and candidates, Glassdoor combines all the jobs with this valuable data to make it easy for people to find a job that is uniquely right for them. As a result, Glassdoor helps employers hire truly informed candidates at scale through effective recruiting solutions like job advertising and employer branding products. Launched in 2008, Glassdoor now has reviews and insights for approximately 700,000 companies in more than 190 countries. For labor market trends and analysis, visit Glassdoor Economic Research. For company news and career advice and tips, visit the Glassdoor Blog and for employer-related news and insights to help employers hire, visit the Glassdoor for Employers Blog. Visit or download our apps on iOS and Android platforms.

Glassdoor® is a registered trademark of Glassdoor, Inc.

Know Your Worth™, Salary Explorer™ and the Glassdoor logo are trademarks of Glassdoor, Inc.

Media Contact:
MaryJo Fitzgerald or Laura Lowery,