Thinking of leaving Salt Lake for another job? Whoa, hold up. Consider this– SLC Economic Development Workforce Development Manager Jake Maxwell offers the latest blog on wages and purchase power in Salt Lake City. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback.
We hear a great deal of discussion about how Salt Lake City may not be keeping up on the wage front compared to other places in the nation, or to the nation as a whole. This may be temporarily true (barely), but the mistake that is made is to assume this has always been so and is a systemic problem that needs to be fixed. If we look at the last 13 years, even (and especially) pre-recession and through the recession, we can see Salt Lake City has not done a bad job at all matching and exceeding the nations average wage as seen below. This is due, in part, to a robust and diverse economy.
Is there more that can be done? Sure! And we are certainly working on this. But take a Software Developer, for example, who wants to move to Silicon Valley for a first job. Yes, the total compensation might be luring, but the purchasing power is much different than Salt Lake City, even with housing prices on the climb here. The table below, released in a report by the Utah Department of Workforce Services illustrates what wages actually might look like in various “tech cities”, once adjusted for cost of living.
Purchasing power in Salt Lake City is respectable compared to other cities, and attractive when it comes to certain industries like tech. Consider our cost of living index, which is 104. An amount below 100 means Salt Lake City is cheaper than the US average. A cost of living index above 100 means Salt Lake City, Utah is more expensive. Compare our 104 to San Francisco/San Jose (272), Seattle (176), New York City (180), Austin (117), and Raleigh (102). It is no surprise that Salt Lake City consistently ranks as one of the top places to live in the U.S.
Salt Lake City offers a very competitive package to the high quality talent we train and hope to retain here. We can always do more with equal gender pay and decreasing underemployment, particularly for college graduates, but if you want a good paying job right now in Salt Lake City, we likely know some employers ready to have that conversation.
Our hope is that our top talent is making fully informed decisions before leaving such a great economy that can no doubt allow for them to thrive.