Local Pay Reports: Median Base Pay Tops $51,490 Per Year

Dr. Andrew Chamberlain

October 3, 2017

The latest edition of the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports revealed that pay growth for American workers was slow but steady in September, with median base pay rising 1.8 percent from a year ago to $51,491 per year, according to salaries on Glassdoor. The good news is that September’s 1.8 percent pace of wage growth is up slightly from the revised 1.6 percent pace last month. Unfortunately, that pace is still down sharply from the healthy 3.5 percent pace we recorded in January 2017. At today’s sluggish rate of wage growth, it will take America roughly 40 years to double the nation’s median base pay. Let’s take a closer look at what happened with U.S. salaries in September on Glassdoor.

Pay Gains by Metro

Among the ten metros we track, the fastest pay growth in September was in Boston, with median pay rising 2.1 percent from a year ago to $58,887 per year. They are followed by Los Angeles (up 2.1 percent to $59,753 per year), New York City (up 2.0 percent to $60,821 per year), and Seattle (up 1.9 percent to $60,426 per year). The slowest pace of pay growth in September was in Houston, up just 0.7 percent to $54,677 per year. Weak oil prices in recent years have helped depress the Houston economy -- a trend even further compounded by recent tragic flooding in that city -- pulling wage growth downward. Chicago and Philadelphia also recorded below average wage growth in September: Chicago pay was up just 0.9 percent to $55,528 per year, while Philadelphia pay was up 1.1 percent to $54,453 per year. Local Pay Reports for all ten metros we track for September 2017 are available here. Among the nearly 85 job titles we track each month, here are the top ten jobs with the fastest growth in median base pay for full-time workers from one year ago in September:
  • Among tech jobs, roles with a combination of both “hard” programming skills and “soft” personal and creativity skills are seeing fast pay growth today. Those include solutions architects and web designers, each with pay up 3.7 percent and 3.4 percent YoY in September, respectively.There are several themes that connect jobs with the fastest pay growth in September:
  • With booming online retail and healthy consumer spending, wage growth for truck drivers continues to outpace the national average, rising by 5.0 percent YoY in September.
  • Among professional service jobs, business development managers enjoyed strong pay gains of 3.6 percent YoY in September. As a growing number of smaller tech companies rely on business development professionals to help form business partnerships and monetize data and tech innovations, these roles are in high demand today.
  • Healthcare is booming today, thanks to a growing number of aging Baby Boomers looking to improve their quality of life during their Golden Years. Wages for several healthcare jobs are rising faster than the national average, including pharmacy techs who enjoyed 3.4 percent YoY pay gains in September.

Lowest Pay-Growth Jobs

Here are the ten jobs with the lowest wage growth in September, compared to one year ago:
Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Attorney $93,920 -1.9%
Web Developer $64,150 -0.9%
Java Developer $75,124 -0.1%
Consultant $74,058 0.0%
Programmer Analyst $65,359 0.1%
Marketing Manager $67,739 0.2%
Project Manager $73,106 0.2%
Bartender $32,688 0.3%
Process Engineer $76,545 0.3%
Pharmacist $127,506 0.4%

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 September Local Pay Reports:
Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Pharmacist $127,506 0.4%
Solutions Architect $102,184 3.7%
Data Scientist $95,624 0.6%
Tax Manager $94,180 1.7%
Attorney $93,920 -1.9%
Product Manager $91,035 1.2%
Professor $87,244 2.6%
Software Engineer $85,806 2.7%
Systems Engineer $78,514 1.8%
UX Designer $77,994 1.2%
Once again, three fields dominated the highest paying jobs in September: 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 September Local Pay Reports.

Lowest Paying Jobs

Finally, here is a list of the ten lowest paying jobs in the September Local Pay Reports:
Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Barista $24,305 5.6%
Cashier $27,417 3.1%
Restaurant Cook $28,456 4.3%
Bank Teller $28,633 4.3%
Certified Nursing Assistant $28,678 2.0%
Retail Key Holder $28,796 1.8%
Research Assistant $30,493 1.3%
Pharmacy Technician $30,688 3.4%
Bartender $32,688 0.3%
Server $33,223 2.4%
You can view the full list of highest and lowest paying jobs as of September 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. 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.

Newsletter Signup

Sign up to receive updates from the Economic Research Team.