by Sharon Florentine

Salaries for STEM jobs in decline

News Analysis
Apr 29, 20152 mins
CareersIT JobsSalaries

PayScale's Q1 2015 Index shows wages for STEM jobs flat or in decline after almost a decade of growth.

After several years of strong growth, wages across all industries stalled in the first quarter of 2015 and previous top-performing sectors such as the professional, scientific and technical services industries as well as the oil and gas industry have declined, according to cloud compensation data and software provider PayScale’s most recent PayScale Index.

Wages flat or in decline

The PayScale Index shows national wages for Q1 across industries barely increased (0.1 percent) and the average 12-month change in U.S. wages across all industries was a small 1.8 percent. While STEM fields experienced a decline in wages, construction jobs and the real estate industry are now showing signs of recovery, according to the Index.

Finally, the Index shows that overall wage growth across all industries continues to lag, with real wages down almost 7 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, according to analysis released by the company.

“We saw wage growth in certain industries and jobs shift in Q1 as some previous high performers, such as IT and biotech jobs, moved down the Index and others that were lagging, like construction and real estate, showed considerable improvement,” said Katie Bardaro, lead economist at PayScale, in the release. “While there are signs of life with some wage growth in certain pockets, the national average shows wages are still lagging far behind other indicators in our rebounding economy.”

STEM jobs still lead wage growth

Though STEM-focused jobs experienced a slowdown, growing only 1 percent year-over-year, they’re still near the top for wage growth. Since 2006, jobs in STEM fields have experienced growth of around 10 percent, according to the PayScale Index.

Metro areas with a high concentration of STEM workers and employers also experienced wage slowdowns this quarter: San Diego and Seattle, for example, had negative growth over the last quarter (-0.6 percent and -0.1 percent, respectively), while Boston’s growth remained flat and San Francisco had only a slight uptick of 0.5 percent.

For the full report and details on the PayScale Index methodology, visit