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PayScale Index Shows Wages Remained Stagnant in Q2 with No Relief in Sight

Wage growth was meager or in decline for most jobs, across most industries and in most cities for Q2 while real wages were down more than 8 percent since 2006

Seattle, WA – July 8, 2015 – Today, PayScale, Inc., the leader in cloud compensation data and software for businesses and individuals, released the Q2 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 national wages for Q2 dropped 0.5 percent while the average 12-month increase in U.S. wages across all industries was only 0.3 percent. Unlike last quarter, annual wage growth was nonexistent or down, ranging from nearly 2.0 percent (i.e. installation, maintenance and repair jobs) to nearly -2.0 percent (i.e. the utilities industry). The PayScale Index predicts wage growth will remain low in Q3, forecasting only 0.2 percent for the quarter and 0.4 percent annual wage growth. In addition, the Index shows real wages are down more than 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.

“Unlike previous quarters where we observed some bright spots in wage growth for a subset of industries, metros or jobs, wages in Q2 2015 were  stagnant, if not down, across the board,” said Katie Bardaro, Lead Economist at PayScale. “Even more sobering is the finding that real wages are down more than 8 percent in comparison to 2006 levels. This means today’s worker is able to buy less goods and services with their paycheck due to a combination of lackluster wage growth and increasing inflation. And, unfortunately, our wage growth forecast doesn’t offer much optimism for the immediate future.”  

Key findings in the Q2 2015 PayScale Index

  • STEM-focused jobs continued to experience a slowdown:
    • Wages for previously ‘hot-performing’ STEM jobs fell for the second quarter in a row with quarterly wage growth down for positions in IT (-0.4 percent), engineering (-0.1 percent) and science and biotech (-1.1 percent).
    • However, IT and engineering jobs are still near the top of the list for wage growth since 2006 at 10.3 and 10.8 percent respectively, due to remarkable growth for several years prior.
  • Industry Highlights:
    • Wages for the mining, oil and gas exploration industry largely recovered from their dip in Q1. Annual wages for this industry fell 1.3 percent in Q1, but then grew 1.1 percent in Q2. Meanwhile, wages in Houston – a city dominated by the oil industry – dipped 0.9 percent in Q2, reflecting volatility resulting from low oil prices.
    • The arts, entertainment and recreation industry experienced the largest annual wage growth in Q2 at 1.5 percent. Wages in this industry are largely tied to consumer demand.
    • The construction industry experienced the second highest annual wage growth at 1.4 percent. Meanwhile, the related real estate industry saw annual wages increase 1.2 percent.
    • Wages in the retail industry still appear to be reeling from early decreases in retail spending. Wages for this industry fell 0.6 percent in Q2 and only slightly rose by 0.2 percent for the year.
  • U.S. Metro Wage Growth was tepid, at best, across all major cities:
    • The top three U.S. metro areas experiencing the most annual wage growth in Q2 are:
      • Tampa (1.5 percent)
      • Seattle, WA (1.0 percent)
      • Minneapolis, MN (0.6 percent)
    • The three U.S. metros experiencing the largest drop in annual wage growth are:
      • New York, NY (-0.6 percent)
      • Washington, DC and Boston, MA (-0.2 percent)
  • Canadian Metro Wage Growth:
    • Only two metro areas in Canada showed quarterly wage growth in Q2:  Ottawa at 0.8 percent and Vancouver at 0.1 percent.
    • Wage growth in Canadian oil cities suffered from low oil prices in a similar fashion as Houston, TX. Wages in Edmonton, AB were down 0.1 percent and dipped 0.7 percent in Calgary, AB.
    • However, Edmonton still dominates Canadian metropolitan areas for most growth since 2006 at 23.4 percent.
  • United Kingdom:
    • Wages in the U.K. declined 0.3 percent in Q2 with annual wage growth up a paltry 0.1 percent. As of Q2, U.K. wages grew by 7.9 percent since 2006, falling behind Canada (10.6 percent) and just ahead of the U.S. (7.8 percent).

To view the entire interactive Q2 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 Q3 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 3,000 customers including Bloomberg BNA, Cummins, Warby Parker, Clemson University and Signature HealthCARE. For more information, please visit: or follow PayScale on Twitter:

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