The PayScale Index Reports Continued Uptick in Wages in Q2 with Small Businesses Outpacing Big Companies in Salary Increases

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The PayScale Index shows continued wage growth in energy and technology positions with Houston achieving the biggest gains

PayScale, Inc. today announced The PayScale Index for Q2 2012, which tracks quarterly trends in compensation.

Overall, annual wage growth values are the highest they’ve been in more than three years and every measure of The PayScale Index experienced an annual growth in wages. Furthermore, for many measures, the quarterly wage growth in Q2 2012 was the highest it’s been since 2007.

While energy, mining and technology salaries continue to increase, jobs related to the transportation sector, a once-sinking job category, experienced the highest annual wage growth of any job category this quarter (3.8 percent, compared to national growth of 2.3 percent). Wages in the transportation job category dropped significantly from Q4 2008 to Q4 2010, falling more than 6 percent. However, since this low point, wages for transportation jobs have risen almost 5 percent. Furthermore, wages in the transportation industry, overall, have also been strong, with annual growth this quarter of 2.4 percent. This brought transportation industry wages essentially back to their previous peak in Q4 2008.

“Even though energy and technology workers were once again the clear wage winners, this quarter, unlike previous quarters, there were no wage losers. Every measure of The PayScale Index experienced annual growth in wages in Q2, albeit some less than others,” said Katie Bardaro, lead economist, PayScale.

For the first time since 2006, quarterly wage growth for small companies outpaced large companies. Wages in Q2 2012 grew by 1.7 percent for small companies compared to only 0.7 percent for large companies. This strong quarterly growth pushed small companies to the top for annual wage growth by company size (2.7 percent vs. 2 percent for medium companies and 1.8 percent for large companies) However, even with this strong performance, wages for small companies still lag behind large and medium companies when looking at pay growth since 2006.

Adds Bardaro: “The June Jobs Report hinted at stagnation in the labor market as the unemployment rate remained constant from the previous month. However, as a whole, unemployment in Q2 was down from Q1, and this macroeconomic trend was reflected in The PayScale Index. The strength of the wage growth observed in Q2 2012 likely reflected the larger fall in unemployment between Q4 2011 and Q1 2012, as The PayScale Index, like the unemployment rate, is a lagging economic indicator.”

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

  •     15 private industries 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).
  •     3 company sizes: small (under 100 employees), medium (between 100 and 1,500 employees) and large (greater than 1,500 employees).
  •     19 job categories, as defined, in part, by the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system
  •     6 largest Canadian metropolitan areas, as defined by the Standard Geographical Classification (based on July 1, 2010 population estimates given 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 35 million employee profiles, accounting for 250 compensable factors for more than 11,000 unique job titles, which show how the pay of actual workers varies with each of these factors.

About PayScale

Creator of the largest database of individual compensation profiles in the world, PayScale, Inc. provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers through its online tools and software. PayScale’s products are powered by innovative search and query algorithms that dynamically acquire, analyze and aggregate compensation information for millions of individuals in real time. Publisher of the quarterly PayScale Index(tm), PayScale's subscription software products for employers include PayScale MarketRate(tm) and PayScale Insight(tm). Among PayScale's 2,200 corporate customers are organizations small and large across industries including Zappos, Volunteers of America and Manpower. For more information, visit

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