Local Pay Reports: Pay Rises for E-Commerce Jobs in December

The latest edition of the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports revealed continued slow U.S. pay growth in December. Median base pay for full-time workers rose 1.1 percent from a year ago in December to $51,210 per year. That pace is up slightly from the revised 1.0 percent pace of November, but is down sharply from the 3.5 percent pace recorded in January 2017.

Let’s take a closer look at what happened with U.S. salaries in December on Glassdoor.

Pay Gains by Metro

Among the ten metros we track, the fastest pay growth in December was in the booming tech hub of San Francisco, where median base pay rose 2.0 percent to $68,078 per year. This was followed by Boston (up 1.8 percent to $58,544 per year) and Seattle (up 1.6 percent to $60,339 per year).

The weakest pay growth among metros was once again in Houston, where median base pay was down slightly from a year ago (down -0.3 percent to $54,292 per year). This was followed by Philadelphia (up 0.4 percent to $54,132 per year) and Chicago (up 0.6 percent to $55,486 per year).

Median base pay for all ten metros we track in our Local Pay Reports for December 2017 are available here.

Area Median Base Pay YoY %
National $51,210 1.1%
San Francisco $68,078 2.0%
Boston $58,544 1.8%
Seattle $60,339 1.6%
Los Angeles $59,655 1.5%
Washington DC $59,014 1.5%
New York City $60,487 1.3%
Atlanta $52,842 1.0%
Chicago $55,486 0.6%
Philadelphia $54,132 0.4%
Houston $54,292 -0.3%

Jobs with the Fastest Pay Growth

Among the 84 job titles we track each month, here are the ten jobs with the fastest growth in median base pay for full-time workers from one year ago in December:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Medical Technologist $55,670 6.2%
Restaurant Cook $28,563 4.8%
Paralegal $48,900 4.8%
Warehouse Associate $42,361 4.1%
Design Engineer $72,514 4.0%
Emergency Medical Technician $35,259 3.8%
Cashier $27,692 3.6%
Bank Teller $28,792 3.5%
Technical Support $45,526 3.5%
Truck Driver $53,043 3.4%

Several themes connect jobs with the fastest pay growth in December:

  • Jobs in healthcare are bucking the national trend toward slow wage growth. The fastest pay growth in our December report was medical technologist with a scorching 6.2 percent year-over-year rise in median base pay. Similarly, emergency medical technician, certified nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, pharmacist, and pharmacy technician all experienced year-over-year pay growth of 2.0 percent or above in December — well above the overall 1.1 percent pace nationally.
  • As we roll through the holiday season, e-commerce jobs continue to post strong pay gains. Delivery driver, warehouse associate, and truck driver all reported year-over-year pay gains of between 3.3 percent and 4.1 percent — roughly three times the overall U.S. average pay growth. Since January 2014, truck driver pay is up a whopping 9.7 percent, while warehouse associate pay is up 7.3 percent (see figure below). These are huge pay gains in an era of sluggish wage growth — and we expect this trend to continue in 2018.

  • Pay is lagging for jobs where automation and AI are taking hold. Loan officer is a job that’s increasingly being done by software and automation, and pay was down -6.1 percent year-over-year in December for these jobs. Similarly, pay for office manager was down -1.1 percent, while administrative assistant pay was up just 0.9 percent — both roles facing competition from workplace automation. Finally, pay for machine operator was down -1.9 percent from a year ago in December, likely reflecting rising automation in today’s lean manufacturing facilities.
  • The red hot market for data scientists may be leveling off. Median base pay for data scientists and data analysts was up 1.1 percent year-over-year in December, the same as the overall U.S. average. Although great data scientists are still in high demand, there has been a rapid influx of young workers aiming to enter this lucrative field. Data science bootcamps and online courses have opened the floodgates for new entrants, and that may be dampening average pay gains as we enter 2018.

Lowest Pay-Growth Jobs

Here are the ten jobs with the lowest wage growth in December, compared to one year ago:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Bartender $30,604 -6.6%
Loan Officer $42,983 -6.1%
Java Developer $73,029 -2.5%
Machine Operator $38,460 -1.9%
Civil Engineer $66,008 -1.5%
Maintenance Worker $39,451 -1.4%
Solutions Architect $102,330 -1.2%
Office Manager $44,958 -1.1%
UX Designer $74,198 -1.1%
Tax Manager $94,463 -0.7%

Is Tech Pay Slowing?

One surprising trend we’re seeing is a slowdown of pay growth for tech-related jobs. Our Local Pay Reports track 12 of the most common tech job titles in America — that is, these are the twelve tech jobs with the most salary reports on Glassdoor, including software engineer, data scientist, web developer and more.

Back in December 2016, average pay for these twelve tech jobs was rising at a healthy pace of 3.0 percent year-over-year. Since then, tech pay growth has slowed to just 0.5 percent from a year ago in December.

What’s behind this apparent slowdown in tech pay? Partly it reflects the diversity of labor market conditions for tech jobs today. Jobs like software engineer have consistently experienced strong pay growth above the U.S. average in 2017 (pay was up 1.6 percent to $85,651 per year in December). By contrast, pay for java developers has consistently been flat or negative in 2017 (pay was down -2.5 percent to $73,029 per year), reflecting fast-changing demand for skills in tech.

Taken together, average pay across all of the tech jobs we track has not outpaced the U.S. average in 2017.  

Highest Paying Jobs

Jobs with the highest pay growth aren’t always the ones with the highest earning potential. Here are the jobs with the highest U.S. median base pay from our December Local Pay Reports:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Pharmacist $128,215 2.0%
Solutions Architect $102,330 -1.2%
Data Scientist $95,713 1.1%
Tax Manager $94,463 -0.7%
Attorney $92,853 0.9%
Product Manager $90,609 0.0%
Professor $87,491 -0.3%
Software Engineer $85,651 1.6%
Systems Engineer $79,140 1.4%
Process Engineer $77,367 1.9%

Once again, three fields dominated the highest paying jobs in December: Healthcare, tech, and professional services. Pharmacist, solutions architect, data scientist and tax manager topped our list as the jobs with highest U.S. median base pay in the December Local Pay Reports.

Lowest Paying Jobs

Finally, here is a list of the ten lowest paying jobs in the December Local Pay Reports:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Barista $24,722 3.3%
Cashier $27,692 3.6%
Restaurant Cook $28,563 4.8%
Certified Nursing Assistant $28,719 2.1%
Bank Teller $28,792 3.5%
Retail Key Holder $28,813 0.3%
Pharmacy Technician $30,329 2.0%
Research Assistant $30,346 0.2%
Bartender $30,604 -6.6%
Server $33,032 2.7%

You can view the full list of highest and lowest paying jobs as of December 2017 here.

Read more about this month’s report in our press release.

How Does it Work?

Like the Know Your Worth tool by Glassdoor, Local Pay Reports incorporate millions of salaries directly collected from U.S. workers by Glassdoor and apply a proprietary machine-learning algorithm to estimate near-real-time trends in local pay for ten U.S. metros and the nation as a whole.

The Local Pay Reports estimate year-over-year growth in median base salaries by job title for nearly 85 jobs across more than 15 job categories including healthcare, technology, retail and more. The reports also estimate median base pay by industry and employer size, and provide a monthly trend of metro-level median base pay for each local market over the past four years.

Our Local Pay Reports fill an important gap in our knowledge about wage growth at the local level for specific jobs. Official BLS “Occupational Employment Statistics” are updated only once per year, and use broad occupational groupings that can be confusing for job seekers. Local Pay Reports are released monthly—using the latest data from Glassdoor—and show pay for actual job titles that are easy for non-economists to understand.

Read more in our full methodology and FAQs.

Monthly Jobs Report Expectations

The latest jobs report from the federal government is due out on Friday. This month, we expect to see +191,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate down to 4.0 percent in December. See our full analysis for more commentary and predictions here.

To learn more or subscribe to the monthly email alerts, visit: https://www.glassdoor.com/research/. The Glassdoor Local Pay Reports can be found here: https://www.glassdoor.com/research/local-pay-reports/.
Press inquiries: To speak with Dr. Andrew Chamberlain about this month’s report, email pr@glassdoor.com. Follow him on Twitter: @adchamberlain.