Local Pay Reports: San Francisco and Seattle Top U.S. Pay Growth in October

October 31, 2017

The latest edition of the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports revealed continued steady but slow pay growth in October, with median base pay for full-time workers up 1.6 percent from a year ago to $51,220 per year. That pace of pay growth is up slightly from last month’s revised 1.4 percent pace, but is still well below the 3.5 percent pace we recorded in January 2017.

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

Pay Gains by Metro

Among the ten metros we track, the fastest pay growth in October was in two of the nation’s hottest tech hubs: San Francisco and Seattle. Median pay rose 2.1 percent year-over-year in San Francisco to $68,023 per year. In Seattle, pay was also up 2.1 percent from a year ago to $60,333 per year. They were followed by Los Angeles, where median pay rose by 2.0 percent to $59,478 per year.

The nation’s slowest pay growth in October was recorded in Houston, which continues to recover from the devastation and flooding following Hurricane Harvey in September. Median base pay in Houston was flat compared to a year ago in October, at $54,136 per year. They were followed by Philadelphia where median pay was up just 0.4 percent from a year ago, to $54,142 per year.

October 2017 estimates for median base pay for all ten metros we track in our Local Pay Reports are available here.

Area Median Base Pay YoY %
National $51,220 1.6%
San Francisco $68,023 2.1%
Seattle $60,333 2.1%
Los Angeles $59,478 2.0%
Boston $58,504 1.7%
Chicago $55,659 1.7%
New York City $60,294 1.4%
Atlanta $52,710 1.3%
Washington DC $58,676 1.1%
Philadelphia $54,142 0.4%
Houston $54,136 0.0%

Jobs with the Fastest Pay Growth

Among the nearly 85 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 October:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Barista $24,500 5.3%
Insurance Agent $42,729 5.3%
Recruiter $51,075 5.3%
Restaurant Cook $28,398 4.8%
Bank Teller $28,837 4.4%
Warehouse Associate $42,893 4.3%
Truck Driver $52,629 4.1%
Construction Laborer $39,678 4.0%
Store Manager $48,616 4.0%
Sales Representative $46,531 3.9%

There are several themes that connect jobs with the fastest pay growth in October:

  • As Amazon and Walmart expand their online retail presence, jobs for warehouse associates continue to see rapid pay rises, up 4.3 percent YoY in October. This boom has also helped fuel rising demand for truck drivers. These workers serve as the logistical foundation for today’s online retail giants, and experienced pay gains of 4.1 percent YoY in October.
  • Insurance agents had rapid pay growth of 5.3 percent YoY in October. This is closely related to the nation’s booming healthcare sector, as growing demand for long-term care and life insurance products are simply the other side of the coin of today’s booming demand for healthcare among aging Baby Boomers. Experts specializing in these sophisticated insurance products are in demand, and BLS projects faster-than-average job growth for these roles.
  • Several lower-paying roles in food services are seeing strong pay gains, partly due to rising state and local minimum wages and partly due to a tight low-skilled labor market that has employers struggling to fill these roles. Pay for baristas was up 5.3 percent YoY in October, while pay for restaurant cooks was up 4.8 percent YoY.
  • In today’s robust labor market, employers are struggling to fill many top roles, putting talented recruiters in high demand. Pay for recruiters has consistently outpaced national wage growth over the past year, and was up 5.3 percent YoY in October to $51,075 per year.
  • Business development managers narrowly missed our top-ten list above, but saw robust 3.8 percent year-over-year pay growth in October. For many of today’s small, niche tech companies, business development managers are the front-line of the march toward profitability, forming valuable business partnerships and drawing new revenue streams into growing companies. In today’s fragmented tech world, these hybrid sales-strategy-technical roles are in high demand.

Lowest Pay-Growth Jobs

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

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Maintenance Worker $40,501 -0.6%
Attorney $93,364 -0.2%
Maintenance Technician $44,220 -0.2%
Quality Engineer $71,367 -0.2%
Marketing Manager $65,936 -0.1%
Consultant $74,822 0.0%
Programmer Analyst $65,682 0.2%
Java Developer $74,387 0.3%
Customer Service Manager $53,100 0.4%
Loan Officer $45,108 0.4%

Some themes in jobs with the slowest pay growth today:

  • Maintenance workers and maintenance technicians are both experiencing slight pay declines from a year ago, reflecting the impact of outsourcing of facilities work by many employers and technological improvements that are helping reduce the need for hand-on maintenance work in many workplaces.
  • While pay is rising steadily for many tech roles, shifts in demand for tech skills are weakening the labor market for some workers. Java developers who were in high demand in the 2000s are today facing a weaker job market due to industry shifts toward newer programming platforms. As a result, pay growth has been consistently slow for java developers over the past year.
  • Quality engineer is a cornerstone role at many manufacturers, assuring high-quality product delivery. However, these roles are facing a relatively weak labor market today, with median base pay down -0.2 percent from a year ago — partly reflecting the nation’s beleaguered manufacturing sector.

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 October Local Pay Reports:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Pharmacist $127,477 0.5%
Solutions Architect $102,003 2.1%
Data Scientist $96,441 0.9%
Tax Manager $93,557 1.2%
Attorney $93,364 -0.2%
Product Manager $89,959 1.1%
Professor $88,257 1.7%
Software Engineer $85,149 2.0%
Systems Engineer $79,104 1.5%
Process Engineer $77,100 1.5%

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

Lowest Paying Jobs

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

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Barista $24,500 5.3%
Cashier $27,549 3.7%
Restaurant Cook $28,398 4.8%
Certified Nursing Assistant $28,617 2.3%
Bank Teller $28,837 4.4%
Retail Key Holder $29,038 1.1%
Pharmacy Technician $30,099 2.5%
Research Assistant $30,772 1.5%
Server $32,785 1.6%
Bartender $32,911 1.2%

You can view the full list of highest and lowest paying jobs as of October 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 49,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate steady at 4.2 percent in October. 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.