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These jobs saw the biggest pay hikes across the U.S. in 2023

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The ferocious inflation that slammed Americans during the pandemic was partially offset by the strongest pay gains in years. Even as people paid more for everything from groceries to rent, real weekly earnings for the typical U.S. worker rose 1.7% between 2019 and 2023, government labor data shows.

Driven by a resilient labor market, some jobs saw particularly strong wage increases over the last year, according to a recent survey from compensation data firm Payscale. Here are the 10 jobs with the hottest wage growth in 2023 compared with the prior year, along with median pay. The analysis is based on responses from more than 3,500 workers across 15 job titles.

Assistant manager, customer service

Customer service representative gesturing on video call through laptop in office
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Assistant managers in customer service roles enjoyed the biggest median wage boosts last year, according to Payscale. The driver: Persistent labor shortages, coupled with the usual high rate of turnover in these notoriously stressful positions, forced employers to up wage to retain workers. 

2023 wage growth: 24%

Median pay: $44,200


Smiling barber in discussion with client while cutting hair in barber shop
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Many hairstylists were laid off during the pandemic. But demand for salon services surged after the disease started to recede, boosting demand for workers.

2023 wage growth: 22%

Median pay: $34,300

Master plumber

Plumbers working on pipes in abandoned basement
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So-called master plumbers — who are often more experienced and may have more expertise than a typical journeyman plumber — enjoyed fast wage growth in 2023 as many Americans shelved their pandemic-era DIY projects, Payscale said. Meanwhile, spending on home improvement and maintenance projects has been on the rise in recent years, the firm's analysis shows. 

2023 wage growth: 21%

Median pay: $82,700

Automotive body repairer

Repairing Car Body
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Car technicians got a big pay bump this year as many workers retired or left the field in search of better money, according to the report. Demand for workers in the field is also high as many Americans hold on to older cars, which require special care, amid the soaring cost of new vehicles.

2023 wage growth: 21%

Median pay: $52,100

Job coach

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Wages for career coaches, a relatively new field, jumped last year as Americans' concerns about changes in the labor market, including the potential impact of AI, drove demand for their services. According to Payscale, job coaches help clients zero in on their strengths and work them to identify the best opportunities. 

2023 wage growth: 21%

Median pay: $46,600

Audio/visual technician

T-shirt marked staff
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Audio/visual technicians raked in more money in 2023 as skilled workers remained in short supply following mass layoffs during the pandemic and a continuing recovery in the events industry, according to Payscale. Another factor is the growing popularity of podcasting and video blogging, which has driven demand for AV technicians.

2023 wage growth: 20%

Median pay: $57,100


Gamer and animator designer with moment of thinking-stock photo
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Animators saw their wages shoot up last year as workers with their talents remain in short supply, Payscale said. The main reasons a good animator is hard to find: Training and development opportunities in the field are limited, while animators often get promoted quickly, leaving many entry-level roles vacant.

2023 wage growth: 19%

Median pay: $71,400

Fitness coach

Woman on extension bench in industrial gym
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The scourge of COVID-19 encouraged many Americans take their health more seriously, while some people simply want to shed those pandemic-era pounds. Both factors help increase demand for fitness professionals and led to hefty pay gains in 2023.

2023 wage growth: 19%

Median pay: $51,100


Roofer are installing asphalt shingles or roof.
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Roofers are padding their pockets as employers try to make what is a physically demanding job, and where one where benefits have generally been an afterthought, more attractive, according to Payscale. An increase in extreme weather due to climate change also means more work for roofers as homeowners make repairs.

2023 wage growth: 19%

Median pay: $51,700

General manager

Mature man manager in blue shirt with tablet in a warehouse.
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A shortage of people with wide-ranging management skills, including hiring, managing budgets and generally overseeing a business, goes back decades, and that talent gap persists, according to Payscale. Meanwhile, gaining that experience takes time, often requiring years with the same employer to acquire skills specific to that industry and individual business. The result? General managers remained a hot item last year.

2023 wage growth: 18%

Median pay: $70,700

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