The post-recession years haven't been kind to many workers, with all but the top-earners suffering from years of wage stagnation.
That trend may be shifting, thanks to a tight labor market that's putting pressure on companies to compete for workers, including in some entry-level fields. Minimum wage hikes in states across the country are also lifting pay for workers who lack college degrees or who may be holding low-skilled jobs right out of college.
The median annual pay for all American workers has increased 2.1 percent in the 12-month period ending May 2017, according to a new study from employment site Glassdoor.com. While that's slightly ahead of the inflation rate, wage gains across the board are still lower than in previous periods of economic expansion, such as the 5 percent growth clocked in 1999.
"Wages are a lagging indicator," said MaryJo Fitzgerald, community expert at Glassdoor. "We're not really sure why wages aren't growing as fast as we would expect, but people should expect to continue to see money in their pockets," meaning wages could rise between 2 percent to 3 percent this year.
She added, "Everyone is hiring. They are competing for talent, whether it's talent with an MBA or a high school diploma."
Even though the job market as a whole is tight, Glassdoor found a few pockets of weakness. Some are in the tech industry, where automation and industrial changes may be lowering demand for workers. Design engineers, for example, saw their pay decline by 2.7 percent to about $69,000 per year, while Java developers' pay slipped 1.9 percent to just above $71,000.
Read on to learn about the nine careers with the highest wage gains during the last 12 months.
9. Sales representative: 4.6 percent
Median annual pay for sales representatives rose 4.6 percent to $47,629, according to Glassdoor's data.
These jobs can be entry-level positions right out of school, although some companies are seeking workers with specific experience and knowledge. Pharmaceutical companies, for instance, may look to hire workers with a bachelor of science degree.
8. Cashier: 4.6 percent
It may seem paradoxical, but the financial problems of malls and mall retailers aren't translating into lower pay for store workers. Because of hiring by online companies like Amazon (AMZN) and growth from mainstays such as Walmart (WMT), store personnel are among the jobs enjoying the highest gains in pay.
Cashiers benefited from a 4.6 percent increase in annual pay through May as median wages rose to $27,492 per year. Minimum wage hikes in some states may be bolstering pay for cashiers and other entry-level jobs because a higher wage floor tends to percolate through to higher pay for other low-wage jobs.
7. Store manager: 4.9 percent
Like cashiers, store managers are also benefiting from demand for retail workers. The typical store manager enjoyed a 4.9 percent wage hike through May, bringing median annual pay to $48,848, Glassdoor found.
6. Maintenance worker: 5.7 percent
Maintenance workers may not need a college degree, but they often need to have a breadth of other skills, including some plumbing or carpentry experience.
The median annual pay for these employees has increased 5.7 percent in the past year, reaching $43,175, according to Glassdoor.
5. Bank teller: 6.1 percent
Bank tellers work with money all day long, but they earn far below the typical median American salary, prompting The Nation magazine to ask whether they're the "fast food workers of Wall Street."
However, the past year has brought some long-overdue pay gains to bank tellers. Annual median wages rose 6.1 percent to $28,744, according to Glassdoor.
4. Warehouse associate: 6.7 percent
Thanks to competition from online retailers, warehouse associates are commanding higher pay. The job typically doesn't require a college degree, but workers need to be able to load and unload packages or operate a forklift.
Warehouse associates benefited from a 6.7 percent median wage increase in the past year, reaching $40,882, Glassdoor found.
3. Restaurant cook: 7 percent
There's a restaurant cook shortage in the U.S., which is leading to higher pay for workers with culinary training.
Restaurant cooks saw their median pay rise 7 percent to $29,097 during the past year, according to Glassdoor.
2. Customer service manager: 7.1 percent
Customer service managers typically have a bachelor's degree in business or marketing and are responsible for overseeing teams of customer reps.
The role has benefited from a 7.1 percent rise in median annual pay, reaching $54,552, Glassdoor noted.
1. Recruiter: 7.4 percent
Given the tight labor market, it may be no surprise that recruiters are enjoying the fastest wage gains. "Recruiters are a key hire" for companies that are looking for workers, Glassdoor's Fitzgerald said.
Median annual pay for recruiters rose 7.4 percent in the 12 months leading up to May, reaching $51,216, Glassdoor found.