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CXO Tech & Work

AI and automation begin to kill wages for many US jobs

Job growth in the US remains stagnant, and has slowed for the tech industry, according to Glassdoor.

Top IT jobs and hiring trends for 2018 listed in Tech Pro Research survey
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Annual median base pay in the US grew 1.1% year over year in December 2017, to $51,210. -- Glassdoor
  • Tech industry wages are slowing down, with year over year pay growth at 0.5%, down from 3% in December 2016. -- Glassdoor

Wages across all US industries are growing only slightly, and those in the tech industry appear to be slowing down, according to a new report from job site Glassdoor--suggesting that the tech job bubble may be starting to decline.

Annual median base pay in the US grew 1.1% year over year (YOY) in December 2017, to $51,210--down from 3.5% in January 2017.

"This stagnation is part of the continued recovery after the large dip in pay growth in May, June and July of 2017, likely due to the changing composition of the U.S. workforce," Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, said in a press release. "As the economy improved, many sidelined workers rejoined the labor market at below-average wages to get their foot in the door with employers. This impacted overall U.S. pay and is likely the reason for the dip and slower recovery."

SEE: Job description: Data scientist (Tech Pro Research)

The tech sector in particular is seeing mixed wage growth and slowdowns, according to the report: YOY pay growth was just 0.5% in December 2017, down from 3% the year before.

Certain positions are seeing gains, the report noted, including technical support specialists (up 3.5%, to $45,526) and web developers (up 2.4%, to $64,050). But others, including Java developers (down 2.5%, to $73,029), continue to decline.

Even demand for data scientists--ranked by Glassdoor as the best job in America for the past two years--is beginning to level off: Median base pay levels for data scientists ($95,713) and data analysts ($58,855) increased just 1.1% in December 2017, matching the US average overall, the report said. However, it should be noted that many of these tech salaries are still above the national average.

Meanwhile, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is beginning to have consequences for employees, as automation begins to replace some roles and impact the wages of others. That means some traditional roles and their wages are on the decline, including loan officers (down 6.1%, to $42,983), machine operators (down 1.9%, to $38,460), and office managers (down 1.1% to $44,958).

"Apps, automated processes and new software are beginning to replace many of the responsibilities traditionally done by people -- like AI meeting schedulers and automated credit approval processes, and this is starting to impact wages for these roles," Chamberlain said in the release. "On the flip side, the interest in data science has led to an influx of new workers in this field, dampening the rapid pay gains for data roles we have seen in recent years."

It's not all bad news: Topping the list of jobs across industries with the fastest rate of pay growth are medical technologists (up 6.2%, to $55,670), restaurant cook (up 4.8%, to $28,563), paralegal (up 4.8%, to $48,900), warehouse associate (up 4.1%, to $42,361), and design engineer (up 4%, to $72,514).

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