What do baristas and bartenders make in Washington? Not much, but it’s rising

WASHINGTON — A report from Glassdoor ranking the nation’s largest cities for pay and for wage growth puts the D.C. region near the top for median pay, but near the bottom for the pace of wage growth.

The Washington area had a median base pay of $60,535 a year as of September, the fourth-highest among the nation’s 10 largest cities. The year-over-year growth in wages as of last month was just 1.9 percent, the second-worst among the 10 biggest cities.

Glassdoor’s report is based on millions of anonymous salary reports shared by its users, with year-over-year estimates for salary growth based on a three-month moving average. It is also not adjusted for inflation, which means wage growth in the Washington area is trailing the increase in the annual cost of living.

There are still plenty of jobs to be had in the Washington region, with more than 233,000 current job openings, 37.9 percent more than a year ago.

The biggest wage growth professions by job title in the D.C.-area are also some of the lowest paying professions, led by Bank Teller, with a median base pay in September of $34,424, up 6.8 percent from a year ago.

The lowest-paid profession in Washington in terms of median base pay is the barista, at $27,126. But that is also 4.8 percent more than a year ago.

Bartenders are making an average of 5.9 percent more than they were a year ago, with a median income of $39,860.

Restaurant cooks are making 5.2 percent more now then a year ago, averaging $32,350 a year.

Attorneys, pharmacists and IT professionals are making the most in the Washington region, according to data collected by Glassdoor.

The median base pay for a lawyer in Washington in September was $136,312, up 4.3 percent from a year ago.

Pharmacists pull down a median base pay of $123,020, up 0.9 percent.

A Technology Solutions Architect makes a median salary of $116,953, though that is unchanged from a year ago.

The best year-over-year wage growth among big cities is in San Francisco, at 3.9 percent, or more than double what it is in the Washington region.

Wage growth gains in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago also lead.

Only Houston has a smaller year-over-year wage growth than the Washington region does, at an average of just 1.7 percent.

Glassdoor has posted a full list of median pay and wage growth by profession in the Washington area online. It also lists the same data for the nine other largest cities and national averages.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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