Local wages see huge gains

It pays to live in Western Washington, literally. While it’s expensive to live in Seattle or on the Eastside, increasing wages have served to take some of the pressure off. Last year, Washington state saw the average annual wage grow by 7.5% to $82,508—the second-largest increase on record.

Wages across all industries experienced growth in 2021, but the greatest growth occurred in sectors with a high volume of low-wage workers. These include leisure and hospitality, which saw wage growth of 14.2%; transportation and warehousing, with wage increases of 7.6%; and retail, with increases of 6.5%.

Statewide, the average weekly wage rose from $1,475 in 2020 to $1,586 last year.

Part of the increase in wages may also be due to high competition for skilled employees in the tech sector. With remote and flexible work arrangements becoming the norm for many tech companies—especially startups—employees now find themselves being courted by employers from across the country. According to a recent study, about 62% of new hires now occur in states other than a startup’s designated headquarters.

With Silicon Valley and San Francisco still the primary location for many tech startups, out-of-state tech workers considering employment with Bay Area companies expect compensation on par with Bay Area workers. Perhaps because our region’s startups are competing for these same employees, the average Seattle-area startup compensation now equals that of Silicon Valley.

The prevalence of high-tech companies across the West Coast has contributed to a perceived “megalopolis,” blurring the lines between compensation standards for Seattle and Silicon Valley alike. If this trend continues, there may be a ripple effect on other industries as well, further raising wages for local workers in non-tech industries.

 Information for this article was found on GeekWire.

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