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PayScale Index Shows Inconsistent Wage Growth for US Talent Market in Q3

Overall Wage Growth Remains Sluggish Despite Low Unemployment; Quarterly Wage Growth Experiences a Modest Increase in Canada and the U.K

Seattle, WA – October 7, 2015 – Today, PayScale, Inc., the leader in cloud compensation data and software for businesses and individuals, released the Q3 2015 PayScale Index which tracks quarterly and annual trends in compensation and also provides a U.S. national wage forecast for the coming quarter. The Index shows the average 12 month increase in U.S. wages across all industries was 1.0 percent. Overall, national annual wage growth experienced some ups and downs ranging from a gain of more than 2 percent to a loss of nearly 2 percent in certain industries and metro regions. The PayScale Index forecasts wage growth in Q4 will stay relatively flat, with just a slight uptick of 0.1 percent or 0.6 percent annually. In addition, the Index shows real wages are down 8 percent since 2006, a measure calculated by analyzing nominal wage growth and the average change in price of a fixed basket of goods and services.

“While there were a few bright spots in the economy in the last quarter, U.S. wages remain sluggish overall,” said Katie Bardaro, Vice President of Data and Lead Economist at PayScale. “Again in Q3, real wages were down 8 percent in comparison to 2006 levels, reflecting the reality that wage growth has not kept pace with inflation. This scenario is expected to continue, as the Index forecasts only tepid annual wage growth of 0.6 percent next quarter.”  

Key findings in the Q3 2015 PayScale Index

  • STEM-focused jobs rebounded somewhat in Q3:
    • Although wages for IT jobs fell in the first two quarters of 2015, they picked up a bit in Q3, growing 0.6 percent for the quarter and 0.5 percent annually.
    • Engineering jobs also experienced an uptick this quarter, as wages grew 0.9 percent for the quarter and 0.8 percent for the year.
    • Likewise, Science and Biotech jobs also experienced wage growth in Q3; 0.8 percent for the quarter and 0.9 percent for the year.
  • Wages continued to recover in the Construction and Real Estate industry:
    • Both the construction and real estate industry were hit hard during the recession years, but began to experience significant wage growth in 2014.
    • Annual wages for workers in the construction industry and real estate industry grew 1.7 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
  • Wages for Mining, Oil and Gas Exploration industry continued to decline:
    • Annual wage growth for this industry fell another 1.6 percent in Q3, causing wages to decline more than 3 percent below their peak in at the end of 2014 when the barrel price of oil was more than double what it is today.
    • Similarly, annual wages in Houston, a metro dominated by the oil industry, also took a dip of 0.1 percent this quarter.
  • Highlights for U.S. Metro wage growth include:
    • The top five U.S. metro areas experiencing the most annual wage growth in Q3 were:
      • Baltimore, MD (2.4 percent)
      • Minneapolis, MN (2.4 percent)
      • Philadelphia, PA (2.1 percent)
      • Chicago, IL (1.6 percent)
      • San Francisco, CA (1.5 percent)
    • The three U.S. metros experiencing the largest drop in annual wage growth were:
      • San Diego, CA (-0.7 percent)
      • Washington, DC, MA (-0.2 percent)
      • Houston, TX (-0.1 percent)
  • Summary of Canadian wage growth:
    • Most Q3 Index measures show positive wage growth in Canada, as the country experienced 1.2 percent annual wage growth nationally.
    • The top three Canadian metro areas experiencing the most annual wage growth in Q3 were:
      • Vancouver, BC (2.2 percent)
      • Ottawa, ON (1.8 percent)
      • Toronto, ON (1.4 percent)
    • Wage growth in the Canadian oil city of Edmonton, AB continued to suffer from low oil prices in a similar fashion as Houston, TX. Wages in Edmonton, AB were down 1.8 percent for the quarter. However, Edmonton still dominates Canadian metropolitan areas for most growth since 2006 at 21.1 percent.
  • Summary of United Kingdom wage growth:
    • Wage growth in the U.K. recovered from the slight decline in Q2 2015 with quarterly wage growth of 0.9 percent and annual wage growth of 1.0 percent.
    • As of Q3 2015, wages in the U.K. grew by 9.0 percent since 2006, falling behind Canada (11.4 percent), but ahead of the U.S. (8.8 percent).

To view the entire interactive Q3 2015 PayScale Index which reflects wage trends across various industries, job categories, company sizes and major metros, please visit:

About The PayScale Index:

The PayScale Index follows changes in total cash compensation for full-time, private industry employees in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The PayScale Index also includes:

  • A forecast of the National U.S. PayScale Index for Q4 2015
  • A PayScale Real Wage Index, which tracks changes in wages adjusted for inflation since 2006

For more information on The PayScale Index, please visit the methodology and FAQ pages.

About PayScale:

Cloud software, crowdsourced data and unique algorithms power the world’s largest real-time database of rich salary profiles giving PayScale the unique ability to provide employees and employers alike immediate visibility into the right pay for any position. PayScale’s cloud compensation software is used by more than 3,500 customers including Bloomberg BNA, Cummins, Warby Parker, Clemson University and Signature HealthCARE. For more information, please visit: or follow PayScale on Twitter: