Benefits and Compensation, Recruiting

Wage Growth Remains Stagnant

According to job site Glassdoor, the annual median base pay in the United States grew 1.1 percent year over year (YOY) in December 2017 to $51,210. Glassdoor Local Pay Reports show pay growth ticked up slightly from a revised 1.0 percent growth last month. Pay growth peaked in January 2017 at a revised 3.5 percent.

Sources: belterz & Blueberries / iStock / Getty

Glassdoor Local Pay Reports provide a monthly view into the country’s wage picture with salary estimates for nearly 85 job titles 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.
“U.S. wage growth remains weak as we close out the year, having experienced a sharp decline from a peak of 3.5 percent in January 2017 to this month’s [December’s] 1.1 percent. This stagnation is part of the continued recovery after the large dip in pay growth in May, June, and July of 2017, likely due to the changing composition of the U.S. workforce. As the economy improved, many sidelined workers rejoined the labor market at below-average wages to get their foot in the door with employers. This impacted overall U.S. pay and is likely the reason for the dip and slower recovery,” said Andrew Chamberlain, PhD, chief economist of Glassdoor.

Higher Earnings

However, even though many industries are experiencing slow growth or declines in wages, health care remains strong with many positions seeing pay increases. Medical technologist saw the biggest median base pay increase overall, up 6.2 percent to $55,670, while emergency medical technician also saw big gains (up 3.8 percent to $35,259). Other health care positions, including certified nursing assistant (up 2.1 percent to $28,719); licensed practical nurse (up 2.0 percent to $41,676); pharmacist (up 2.0 percent to $128,215); and pharmacy technician (up 2.0 percent to $30,329) all bucked the U.S. trend with pay growth at 2.0 percent or above.
“While many positions are seeing stark declines in wages, healthcare jobs continue to record positive pay growth. These highly specialized roles remain in demand as our population ages, which means workers in a variety of healthcare fields will have the upper hand in wage discussions. Given the ongoing healthcare debate in Washington, we anticipate this trend to continue well into the new year,” said Chamberlain.
E-commerce positions saw gains at three times the national average, including warehouse associates (up 4.1 percent to $42,361), truck drivers (up 3.4 percent to $53,043), and delivery driver (up 3.3 percent to $38,142). Brick-and-mortar positions also saw positive gains throughout December, including cashiers (up 3.6 percent to $27,692) and buyers (up 2.2 percent to $56,774).
Overall, technology industry wages are slowing, and YOY pay growth is 0.5 percent, down from 3.0 percent in December 2016. However, some positions are seeing gains, like technical support (up 3.5 percent to $45,526) and web developer (up 2.4 percent to $64,050).

By Location

Among the 10 metros Glassdoor tracks, wage growth was strongest YOY in San Francisco (up 2.0 percent to $68,078), and Boston (up 1.8 percent to $58,544). Houston experienced the weakest pay growth YOY (down -0.3 percent to $54,292).