Seattle Area Wages Grow 4.8% in 2012 for Nation's Strongest Increase

 
 

Seattle topped the nation in wage growth, tying Houston, but beating Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Wages in Seattle in the fourth quarter of 2012 were up 4.8 percent from the same period in 2011, compared to just 1.6 percent in Washington D.C., another area where the economy has been relatively strong. Wage growth was 3.9 percent in San Francisco and 3.3 percent in Los Angeles.

Here's the press release from Payscale:

Seattle – January 9, 2013 - PayScale, Inc. today announced The PayScale Index for Q4 2012, which tracks quarterly trends in compensation.

Even with the uncertainty brought about by the federal government’s budgetary issues, Q4 2012 proved to be yet another strong quarter for wage growth. Wages for most cities, industries, job categories and company sizes tracked by The PayScale Index are the highest they’ve been since 2006 and every measure of The PayScale Index experienced an annual growth in wages.

“While the headlines oftentimes go to the large-sized companies, The PayScale Index for the second consecutive quarter showed wage growth for small companies outpacing medium and large companies,” said Katie Bardaro, lead economist, PayScale. “Wages in Q4 2012 grew by 2.2 percent for small companies compared to only 1 percent for medium companies and 0.9 percent for large companies.  This strong quarterly growth pushed small companies to almost 5 percent year-over-year wage growth, compared to only 2.7 percent for medium companies and 3.3 percent for large companies.”

MetroRank By Pop(2009) Metropolitan Area PayScale Index 2012   Change
2011-2012
15  Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 111.6   4.8%
Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land, TX 113.1   4.8%
14  Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 105.0   4.5%
10  Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 109.5   4.5%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 109.1   4.3%
13  San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 108.3   3.9%
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI 108.0   3.8%
16  Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 108.3   3.7%
  United States 108.6   3.5%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 107.9   3.3%
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 109.1   3.2%
12  Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 108.3   3.2%
19  Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 107.1   3.2%
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 108.0   3.1%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 106.7   3.0%
17  San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 107.5   2.7%
20  Baltimore-Towson, MD 107.9   2.6%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia Metropolitan Area 106.2   2.4%
11  Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 104.9   1.9%
18  St. Louis, MO-IL 107.3   1.9%
8   Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 108.3   1.6%

Q4 2012 PayScale Index highlights include:

 

·      Media & Publishing Jobs overthrew IT Jobs as the job category with the largest annual growth in wages in Q4 2012.

o   With a quarterly wage increase of 2.2 percent in Q4, on top of quarterly wage increases of 1.4 percent in the preceding two quarters, Media & Publishing Jobs experienced annual wage increases of 4.6 percent in Q4 2012, just beating out IT Jobs at 4.4 percent. 

o   After a bumpy ride from 2008 to 2011 that resulted in little to no growth, this job category has been on fire in 2012. 

·      Another winner this quarter is Construction Jobs – not only is new home construction the highest it has been in more than four years, but wage growth is the best it’s been in more than three years: 

o   Annual wage growth for Construction Jobs was tied for third across all job categories for Q4 at 4.2 percent.

   The Construction Industry didn’t perform quite as well relative to other industries, but finally reached wage growth levels higher than its previous peak in Q4 2008. And from Q1 2011 to Q4 2012, wages grew by more than 4 percent.

·      It was a big quarter for Food Service workers as wages in both the job category and industry finally rose above their 2008 peak levels.

o   Food Service and Restaurant Jobs have consistently shown little to no wage growth after a steep drop in late 2008. However, 2012 was a good year for this job category as wages grew each quarter until they finally surpassed their previous peak levels in Q4.

o   Annual wage growth for Food Service and Restaurant Jobs was 3.3 percent in Q4 and annual wage growth for the Food Services and Accommodation Industry was 3 percent – the highest either have been since being tracked by The PayScale Index.

Adds Bardaro:  “There is still no stopping the pay increases for jobs related to energy or technology, particularly highly skilled ones, as they experienced annual wage growth north of 3 percent and, in some cases, north of 5 percent.”

 

About The PayScale Index

The PayScale Index follows changes in total cash compensation for full-time, private industry employees in the United States and Canada. In addition to a US national index and a Canadian national index, it includes separate indices for the following:

·      15 private industries in the U.S. as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

·      20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget (based on the July 1, 2009 population estimates by the United States Census Bureau).

·      Three company sizes in the U.S.: small (under 100 employees), medium (between 100 and 1,500 employees) and large (greater than 1,500 employees).

·      19 U.S. job categories, as defined, in part, by the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system.

·      Six largest Canadian metropolitan areas, as defined by the Standard Geographical Classification (based on the July 1, 2010 population estimates by the Canadian Census). 

The PayScale Index utilizes a unique approach to trend measurement. Unlike indices such as the Consumer Price Index, which measures the prices of certain goods and services (periodically updated to reflect changes in buying habits of Americans), The PayScale Index uses data on all private-sector, full-time employees working in a given time period.

 

PayScale has performed a detailed analysis of how various compensable factors, like work experience, education, employment setting and job responsibilities affect pay. This analysis is based on PayScale's extensive data of more than 40 million employee profiles, accounting for 250 compensable factors for more than 12,000 unique job titles, which show how the pay of actual workers varies with each of these factors.

 

CEO Adviser: Paving the Way to Digital

CEO Adviser: Paving the Way to Digital

How the Northwest’s leading asphalt company is embracing technology.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

“What’s the ROI on software?”

This is the question facing many leaders of traditional mid-market companies. For a well-established family-run business, there is often the temptation to invest in assets that can generate revenue faster in the short term instead of technology upgrades that don’t deliver immediate profit.

When I first met Mike Lee, president of Lakeside Industries, he asked an interesting question: “Are we doing the right things when it comes to technology?” Lee understood that his 600-person asphalt company in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood had to make technology a strategic objective in order to ensure the future of the business.

Here are a few ways Lee showed leadership in making ones and zeroes important in an industry focused on rock and oil.

Establish crystal clarity about how digital can support the overall vision.

Lee had a compelling “why” and vision for the company in place: to make a lasting impact on our community, our relationships and our people, and to be the low-cost supplier that provides an exceptional customer experience. The core values focused on safety, environmental responsibility, quality and profitability. But there was no solid technology vision to realize it, and IT didn’t have a presence at the business table, so Lee made a point to involve the CFO/acting CIO. The beauty of setting a digital vision is in its simplicity — not looking at every solution available, but only those that can further the company’s reason for being. In Lakeside’s case, how could new technologies bring it closer to its employees, its community and its customers? How could software make it improve efficiency, visibility and environmental commitments? When Lee looked closely at his vision, it became clear that technology could help bolster it, but that it couldn’t happen without tech being elevated.

Identify the gaps that technology can fill. 

“There is more to our business than asphalt and paving,” says Lee. “We have to keep up with plant and equipment management, communications, competitors, security and environmental regulations.” Lee met with his CIO and IT directors to determine how technology was going to add value inside and outside the business. The firm developed a digital roadmap that provided clarity around the technology initiatives people were going to work on; for each, it set accountabilities, timelines and goals. They used this roadmap to manage ongoing progress and to determine whether or not the new “shiny technology objects” matched the vision and strategy. The most important initiative was to replace Lakeside’s aging enterprise resource planning system. This would require modernizing processes and technology infrastructure to support collaboration with business management across the company — a broad impact to the business. Another key initiative was improving how it estimated projects and managed customer relationships. This new system would only be successful with buy-in from the people in the field using the software.

Communicate the importance of technology to the management team.

While its employees are part of a family, Lakeside Industries is also a distributed business run by a group of autonomous regional managers who needed to believe in the vision. Lee presented the specifics of the strategy to all managers: The message was “IT can no longer be just a department.” Business and technology leaders — who rarely interfaced — had the opportunity to discuss and debate what was at stake. Their conclusion? Software isn’t a gutsy gamble or a bold bet — it’s table stakes. The result was a set of guiding principles, alignment and excitement for what’s ahead. For the first time in the company’s history, business and technology people now have harmony around a shared digital vision — working together as one to contribute to healthier profitability and improved customer relations. In the end, Lakeside Industries’ road to the future has been paved with much more than good intentions. 

TIM GOGGIN is president of Sappington, a Seattle consulting firm that advises clients on digital change. Reach him at tim.goggin@sappington.co.