San Francisco Employers Offer Generous Salaries

September 11, 2008 ( - A key factor in determining employee pay is the location of the job, a new Mercer study asserted.

A Mercer news release about its 2008 US Geographic Salary Differentials study of more than 200 cities showed that a job commanding a median $30,000 salary nationally can pay as little as $28,117 in Birmingham, Alabama, or as much as $37,023 in San Francisco, California.

Mercer said this represents a pay variation of 30 percentage points – from 6.3% below the national median to 23.4% above. For a job with a median salary of $60,000 nationally, for example, pay varies from a low of $55,509 (-7.5%) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to a high of $70,723 (+17.9 %) in San Jose, California.


class=”NormalIndent2″> Pay variations by geography are even noted at a median of $90,000. Among the cities included in Mercer’s study, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Omaha, Nebraska, represent the lower end of the pay range at $83,670 and $86,980 respectively. Meanwhile, cities such as New York and San Francisco hold the top spots at $104,370 and $103,970, respectively, Mercer said.

class=”NormalIndent2″> “Mercer’s geographic analysis highlights the challenges faced by many large employers with employees in multiple locations throughout the U.S,” the company said in the news release. “Sensitive compensation issues can arise when an employee transfers from a relatively high-salary area to a relatively low-salary area, or vice versa. Good quality information on salary variances helps employers manage these situations equitably and consistently.”

class=”NormalIndent2″> The 2008 US Geographic Salary Differentials study is available for purchase from Mercer by visiting or by calling 800 333 3070.

Table 1: 2008 Geographic Salary Differentials for Select US Cities

(For a job with median national salary of $30,000)

align="center"> City

align="center"> 2008 Area Median ($)

align="center"> % Difference from National Median

San Francisco ,CA

align="center"> 37,023

align="center"> 23.4

New York ,NY

align="center"> 36,013

align="center"> 20.0

San Jose ,CA

align="center"> 36,000

align="center"> 20.0

Washington ,DC

align="center"> 33,180

align="center"> 10.6

Los Angeles, CA

align="center"> 33,160

align="center"> 10.5

Seattle ,WA

align="center"> 33,157

align="center"> 10.5

Boston ,MA

align="center"> 32,843

align="center"> 9.5

Chicago ,IL

align="center"> 32,823

align="center"> 9.4

Denver ,CO

align="center"> 31,920

align="center"> 6.4

Baltimore ,MD

align="center"> 31,637

align="center"> 5.5

Detroit ,MI

align="center"> 31,510

align="center"> 5.0

Philadelphia ,PA

align="center"> 31,153

align="center"> 3.8

Atlanta ,GA

align="center"> 31,120

align="center"> 3.7

Minneapolis ,MN

align="center"> 30,960

align="center"> 3.2

Milwaukee ,WI

align="center"> 30,920

align="center"> 3.1

Source: Mercer