Raises are not looking particularly wonderful for 2016. Across the board, forecasters expect that average salary increases in 2016 will average about 3%. Some, of course, will not fare as well as senior citizens on Social Security, for example, received no raise whatsoever.
Even though most federal employees will receive a 1.7% raise, a large segment of civil service workers will receive a substantial bump in salary because of locale and years of freezes.
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In the private sector, it is quite possible that low-paid minimum wage hourly workers may actually realize the largest percentage income increase, even though the federal government has not enacted a new minimum wage law.
In general, the biggest income bumps will occur in expected areas – those that have enjoyed higher-than-average increases in recent years.
Here are 25 of the career fields in which we can expect to see the largest salary increases in 2016.
IT will continue to be a growing, high-demand field, with more and more specialties being defined as the complexities of technology increase. Here are 10 positions that will see well over the 3% average salary increase projected across all employment areas.
- Wireless Network Engineer:As companies continue to go wireless, there is high demand for network engineers to connect remote and mobile staff – individuals who are not in the office and connected to a wired PC during their days. The additional need for security and reliable access will put these pros in a top pay rate increase – an average of 9.7%, according to Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group.
2-3.Big Data Engineers and Scientists: While these are relatively new career titles, these individuals develop data processing workflows for business based upon research and organizational needs. Within this group is a sub-specialty titled Data Scientists – people who compile and analyze large amounts of data in order to make recommendations that will make organizations more efficient and fiscally healthier. The expectation within this group for salary increases is 8.9%.
- Mobile Applications Developer:High demand for those specialists who can develop mobile applications for all organizational functions has continued to increase and Robert Half Technology sees no change in 2016. In fact, it is projected that salaries for these specialists will have about an 8.2% increase.
- Content Strategist:As content creation becomes far more mainstream and an integral part of any organization’s overall marketing plan, individuals who can create compelling content and develop SEO strategies and distribution methodologies will continue to be in greater demand. As the demand grows, so will their income. Projected average increase is about 8.1%.
- Multi-Media Designer:These professionals have a combination of technical expertise and creativity. They understand web development and design but also the “art” side of web-based communication, multimedia presentations. Projected increase is in the 6.2% range, up to $91,000.
- User Experience (UX) Specialists:Organizations know that the old hard sales pitch no longer works for consumers who now use the web to research, compare and make purchasing decisions. Consumers want their needs met and they want to do business with companies who give them a great experience not just a sales pitch. Creating that experience is up to UX specialist, and they are in high demand. Typically, they have design and development experience as well as the ability to analyze research on consumer online behavior. Good employees in this career field can expect close to a 6% overall increase, the high end resulting in a salary close to $132,000.
- User Interface (UI) Specialists:While this specialty is related to user experience, it is more technical; their responsibilities ensure that a website functions seamlessly for users. Such things as site speed and navigation ease fall within the realm of this individual. Depending upon the size of an organization, this role may or not be integrated with that of a web developer and/or a UX pro. Like the UX specialist, this position will carry with it about a 5.9% increase with a salary similar to that of a UX specialist.
- Network Administration and Security:This is a growing and increasingly complex field, in ensuring that data, websites, and especially customer personal and financial information is protected and secure. Hacking has become an ever-present threat, and both analysts and developers can expect increases within the 7% range, up to $200,000 or more for chief security officers of large organizations.
- Software Developers and Engineers:Talented software developers will continue to be in high demand, and dependent upon the size of the organization, salary ranges for 2016 will be from $100 - $150,000, reflecting a mid-6% increase over this past year.
Accountancy and Finance
Meeting regulatory changes is of extreme importance to large finance and investment corporations, and there will be a higher demand for certain positions, along with a higher than average increase in salaries.
- Internal Auditor:Conducting internal audits and preparing such reports for regulatory agencies falls within the realm of this accountancy position. Robert Half projects an average 8.9% increase in salaries.
- Audit Manager:The individual who supervises teams of accountants who conduct audits will probably see and average of 6.6% increase
- Compliance Managers and Directors: These individuals see to it that financial services and investment-related corporations are in compliance with new SEC and other regulations. They will experience about a 5.5% increase in salaries, up to the $190,000 range for those employed by large corporations.
Despite some of the projections that the Affordable Care Act might slow the continued better-than-average increase in salaries for those in health-related careers, in reality this has not been the case. In fact, every field of health care is growing substantially and some of the highest projected increases are within this field. It is really the law of supply and demand at work here. The need for health care professionals exceeds the supply, and organizations will be raising wages in order to compete.
- Medical Coding Manager:This position is heavily related to the use of technology, but it provides the essential link between physicians and insurance companies. Individuals in this field can expect an average of 4.8% increase during 2016.
- Pharmacy Technicians:The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment rate in this field will jump 20% between now and 2022. These individuals have typically earned “pennies” compared to licensed pharmacists for whom they work, and the field of candidates is narrowing. A 7% raise in salaries is not out of the question, bringing the average wage to $26,000+ a year.
- Physicians and Surgeons: Average salaries will continue to increase at a steady rate, on average about 5-6%, more for specialty areas. Furthermore, there is an expect 18% increase in available positions projected over the next 7 years.
- Anesthesiologists:Income increases in 2016 will be in the 6-7% range for both anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists. Already, their incomes are well over $200,000 and $100,000 respectively.
The biggest increase will be seen in those engineering positions related to the petroleum industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a much higher than average demand for these positions, too.
- Petroleum Engineer: Already earning in the $150,000 salary range, these engineers will see a 6-7% increase in 2016.
In the recent past, there were plenty of “starving” lawyers, because the supply simply outnumbered the demand. Over the past five years or so, this trend has reversed in specific legal specialties. According to Robert Half, Inc., the following legal areas can expect not just growth in demand but salary increases that exceed the national average. Here are specific legal specialties that will see good salary increases in 2016:
- Litigation: This continues to be a growing field, and attorneys can expect an average 5% increase.
- Commercial Real Estate:This area has seen resurgence during the recovery and, again 5% will be pretty standard.
- Compliance: In all industries that face regulations, compliance must be reported. Compliance attorneys interpret regulations and prepare these reports. A 5% increase will be standard.
- Contract Law:Expect a 5.6% average increase in this area.
- Healthcare Law: The Affordable Care Act has opened a large field of practice and increases in 2016 could be up to 6% for experienced attorneys.
- Intellectual Property: This field has exploded, especially in tech areas. Interpreting copyright laws and protecting the intellectual property of designers and developers in an area that will continue to grow. Salary increases will be between 5 – 5.6% in 2016.
The current teacher shortage begins to have an impact on public education institutions; it does not appear that salaries will be impacted, given that there is only so much money with which a school district has to operate. However, there are several areas in the private sector, in which educational services are expected to reap increased monetary compensation, as follows:
- Contracted Specialists:Because public schools cannot afford the salaries and benefit packages to employ full-time staff in certain specialty areas, they are contracting out for such services, particularly in the area of special education. Private institutions which serve the needs of special education students (e.g., autism, severe emotional disabilities and behavior disorders, speech and language specialists), these contractors will be able to raise their rates by as much as 5% in the new year.
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If you happen to be in one of the career fields mentioned above, consider yourself in great position as 2016 proceeds. Demand is high and wages are reflecting that demand. With the average American in a career position expected to receive between 2.7 and 3% increase this year, you should consider yourself ahead of the game.