2018 Regional Salary Trends In The United States

Opportunity analyzed the data of more than 1 million combined job seekers and hiring managers within our business network to better understand salary expectations in each region across the United States.


This analysis is a follow up to our recent post titled, "Q4 2017 Regional U.S. Employment Trends: Supply vs. Demand." Here we take a closer look at the discrepancies between what job seekers expect to earn versus the reality of what hiring managers are willing to pay - based on geography.  Our analysis breaks down the salary trends of the four regions across the United States (South, Midwest, Northeast and West) based on five salary range categories (1).  Our research uses a subset of recent data from the Opportunity business network of over 2,000,000 professionals worldwide.  The subset includes a recent sampling of job seekers and hiring managers in the United States who created profiles and posted job openings in Q4 2017.

First we examine the salary expectations of job seekers in each region followed by the salary preferences of hiring managers.  Second, we take a closer look at the discrepancies between the two and what we can conclude from this if anything. Lastly, we compare our Q4 2017 results to last years Q4 2016 results to see the YOY change in each region.  Included in both tables (below) we also examine the overall salary expectations and preferences among job seekers and hiring managers nationally.

What We Found

Job Seeker Salary Expectations in Q4 2017

  $25-$40K $40-$75K $75-$100K $100-$150K $150-$200K $200K+
National 10% 26% 24% 23% 11% 6%
Northeast 9% 25% 21% 23% 13% 9%
Midwest 13% 30% 23% 21% 8% 4%
South 14% 29% 23% 21% 9% 4%
West 8% 23% 25% 24% 13% 7%

Salaries Offered By Hiring Managers in Q4 2017

  $25-$40K $40-$75K $75-$100K $100-$150K $150-$200K $200K+
National 18% 24% 27% 19% 6% 5%
Northeast 10% 17% 26% 28% 4% 11%
Midwest 19% 28% 33% 12% 4% 2%
South 28% 23% 18% 13% 10% 3%
West 17% 24% 25% 18% 7% 5%

Not surprisingly, job seekers nationally feel they are worth more than what hiring managers are willing to pay.  The discrepency is particularly noticeable within the six figure income ranges.  Conversely, there are more hiring managers willing to pay the lowest salary range ($25k - $40k) than there are job seekers willing to work for those amounts.  A sweet spot for workers nationally is the $75k - $100k range where there are a higher percentage of hiring managers willing to pay that amount versus the percentage of workers seeking that amount.

Regionally, a few statistics that stand out include:  1). A large discrepency within the South and West where hiring managers have a high percentage of low-end salary positions available vs. the number of job seekers willing to work for those amounts ($25k - $40k).  2). The Northeast has the highest percentage of hiring managers offering six-figure positions (43%) which mirrored exactly the percentage of job seekers having those expectations (43%). 3). Six figure income expectations for job seekers in the West (44%) far exceeds what is actually being offered by $25-$40khiring managers within the region (30%). 4). The economies (cost of living) of both the Northeast and West demand that hiring managers offer (and job seekers request) a higher salary than $25-$40k. Both regions have the lowest percentage of job seekers willing to earn $25-$40k, and the least number of hiring managers posting jobs within this pay range.


Comparing 2016 to 2017

Job Seeker Salary Expectations Q4 2016 vs. Q4 2017 (% YOY change)

  $25-$40K $40-$75K $75-$100K $100-$150K $150-$200K $200K+
Northeast +5% - (2%) +1% - (1%)
Midwest +7% +1% (3%) (3%) (1%) (1%)
South +8% (1%) (3%) (3%) (1%) (1%)
West +3% (1%) - (2%) - (1%)

Salaries Offered by Hiring Managers in Q4 2016 vs. Q4 2017 (% YOY change)

  $25-$40K $40-$75K $75-$100K $100-$150K $150-$200K $200K+
Northeast +2% (14%) +4% (3%) +2% +5%
Midwest (1%) (9%) +8% (5%) +4% +2%
South +8% (20%) +1% (3%) +8% +2%
West +1% (2%) (1%) (1%) (1%) -

What We Found

We looked at how salary expectations have shifted over the past year by comparing our Q4 2016 results to the Q4 2017 results.  As you can see, there are a few interesting trends among both what job seekers expect to earn and what hiring managers (companies) are willing to offer.  1). Although job seeker salary expectations typically outpace what hiring managers are willing to offer, a higher percentage of job seekers across all four regions seemed to have resigned themselves to earning the lowest salary range ($25k-$40k).  Among all salary ranges, this lower end salary was the only range to show a net increase across all four regions.  2). All four regions show significant changes in the $40k-$75k range. This change appears to have impacted the salary ranges at both extremes (more lower end salaries offered AND more higher end salaries offered) - suggesting perhaps a loss in the availability of many middle class jobs at these levels and a re-llocation of these monies to less higher paying jobs.

(1) Salary Range Categories:  $25,000 - $40,000;  $40,000 - $75,000;  $75,000 - $100,000;  $100,000 - $150,000;  $150,000 - $200,000,  $200,000+

Datasource: Opportunity

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