Looking for wage growth? Then consider these jobs

It’s Labor Day, you’re probably attending a family function, and maybe part of you is also thinking about your job - and greener pastures. There’s a reason why many people may be pondering a job or career change: Wage growth has been disappointing for many Americans, and last week’s payroll report didn’t dispel the gloom.

Average hourly earnings rose 2.4 percent from a year earlier, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. That’s below the 3 percent to 4 percent that would be expected in a strong economy, according to Glassdoor economist Andrew Chamberlain. Wage growth usually has reached at least 3 percent after previous recessions.

Despite this recovery’s less-than-spectacular wage growth, some occupations and industries are witnessing above average earnings growth. These tend to be jobs that are in fast-growing industries that can’t find enough workers to fill their openings, which leads to wages growing at a faster clip than on average.

“If I had to give any piece of advice to young people looking for a field to get into solely based on wage growth, health care has to be the industry to look at,” Chamberlain said.

The health care industry is hiring across many skill levels, from physicians who undergo years of rigorous training and earn commensurate high salaries, to lower-paid and lower-skilled roles like phlebotomists, who aren’t required to have a college degree, although they undergo some training and on-the-job experience.

Certified nursing assistants witnessed wage growth of 11 percent in the past year, according to Glassdoor’s analysis. Emergency medical technicians benefited from wage growth of 6.8 percent, it found.

Financial and tech jobs are among those seeing higher-than-average wage growth. Annual pay for financial advisers climbed 7.8 percent, while solutions architects posted wage gains of 6.5 percent.

Not surprisingly, these industries are also experiencing payroll gains, with professional and technical services adding about 20,000 jobs and health care adding 14,000, the BLS said Friday. On the flip side, jobs that are suffering from wage contraction are often in industries that are shrinking (such as media), at risk for automation, or aren’t showing productivity gains, Chamberlain added.

The national average for wage growth may not accurately represent what individual workers are experiencing, because it lumps together all workers, not only across industries but age groups. Baby boomers who are at their peak earning years are now retiring and are being replaced by lower-paid younger workers, Chamberlain said.

“If you look at other data sources that look at the same workers one year apart, which are following the same workers over time, you see a higher wage growth” of about 3.5 percent, he said.