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Seattle is experiencing a boom, driven in part by high-wage jobs in the tech sector. Shutterstock.

Seattle’s thriving tech industry is driving a population boom, attracting large numbers of transplants to its fast-growing job market. A new report from PayScale isn’t likely to pump the brakes anytime soon.

The Seattle-based compensation data firm released its index of annual wage growth in the U.S. and its hometown outranked all other metros.


According to PayScale, Seattle experienced 3.6 percent wage growth between Q1 of 2015 and 2016. Over the past quarter, wages increased by 1.8 percent. The growth can be attributed to high-paying STEM jobs. Other metro areas with thriving tech industries, like Minneapolis and San Francisco, also experienced strong wage increases.

Quarterly Compensation Trends for Seattle Metro Area

The PayScale Index uses 2006 average total cash compensation as a baseline.
Seattle Metro Area
National (US)


“Wage growth in these metros may be driven by an increase in the number of data-focused positions — such as data scientists, data mining engineers or business intelligence analysts — which have experienced very strong wage growth over the last few quarters,” said a PayScale spokesperson.

Seattle’s strong wage growth shouldn’t come as a shock, considering the region’s economy and job market. Seattle has been implementing a $15 minimum wage over the past year. Tech and healthcare — two booming industries in the area — dominated Glassdoor’s list of the highest paying jobs of 2016. Competition in the tech job market is always hot, even more so in Seattle. Companies headquartered here (Amazon, Tableau) add jobs at a neck-breaking rate while other tech titans (Facebook, Uber) operate engineering centers hoping to mine the region’s tech talent. With so many companies vying for skilled STEM workers and an increased minimum wage for blue-collar work, Seattle’s ranking is no surprise.

Real wages (which PayScale calculates by analyzing wage growth and the average change in the price of goods and services) still haven’t completely bounced back from the recession. According to PayScale, real wages are down 6.5 percent since 2006. Still, the number signals an improvement. Real wages reached a low of over 8 percent over the past three years.

PayScales complete annual compensation index is available here. 

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