Invest Hamilton County

Memos From Mike

Wages: Where are They Now?
November 9, 2022

Wages: Where are they now?

All the time when I’m watching TV in the evening I’ll have a thought like, “I wonder where contestant X is from Top Chef Season 8?” I’ll then whip out the phone and do a quick search in Google or IMDB.

The nerd-alert admission on my end is I also do this with workforce data… just two nights ago I was watching tv and thought, “I wonder where construction laborer wages are right now?”… and decided to take a quick data dive and answer the question. I think my team would agree that I could be described as, “a lot of data and a lot of feelings…” and while most of these memos have been more on the feelings/culture side I decided this month to talk about some data!

(NOTE: Do you ALSO randomly want to know where construction laborer wages are? 1. Let’s be friends, 2. Check out this month’s Data Report)

Right now, costs for so many parts of our market are shifting drastically as a result of multiple forces. For many employers I talk to it can be hard to gauge what competitive compensation means within the modern economy, especially as so many occupations now find themselves competing with sectors they never thought they would be.

As an example, in Hamilton County Fast Food Counter Workers have been at a median of $14/hour since 2021 with companies like McDonalds and Chick-Fil-A hovering between $14-$17/hour, all up from $10/hour in 2019. Manufacturing companies offering $14 per hour in 2021 are now posting wages at a median of $20/hour to move up market from food service and retail occupations (October 2022: $16.55/hour).

Wages Across All Populations

[Advertised Wage Trend: Hamilton County, IN Nov 2019-Oct 2022]

[Advertised Salary Observations: Hamilton County, IN Oct 2021-Oct 2022]

Over three years the median wage in Hamilton County is up 23% across all occupations. The increase from October 2021 to October 2022 is 7.4% with the median wage in October 2022 being $17.54/hour (or $36.5k/year). Only 15% of the observed job postings in October 2022 were for positions above $55k/year in earnings. In October 2022 there were 15,125 open positions in Hamilton County.


Wages: Bachelors Degree +

[Advertised Wage Trend: Hamilton County, IN Nov 2019-Oct 2022; Bachelors Degree, Masters Degree, PHD]

[Advertised Salary Observations: Hamilton County, IN Oct 2021-Oct 2022; Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, PHD]

Wages for occupations within Hamilton County for individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher are up 12.1% over three years, with a one-year increase of 15.7%. The median wage in October 2022 is $30.83/hour (or $64.1k/year salary). A notable trend in this data set is that compared to the earnings pre-pandemic most of the wage gains realized by highly educated talent within our community has been realized in just the last 12 months, with posted wages riding an up and down cycle through the pandemic recovery. In October 2022 there were 2,953 open positions in Hamilton County for college educated talent (707 were for Registered Nurses).


If you have questions about numbers like this particular to your sector or an individual occupation and are in Hamilton County, let us know and we’d be happy to provide some answers.

Over just the past 12 months we’ve seen just shy of 70,000 positions open in Hamilton County. Our total employment regionally is 176,825. That means approximately 39.5% of our total positions have turned over or been opened during that one-year period. That seems high but is lower than the overall Indy region’s rate of 45.1% and in line with the State of Indiana’s 38.1%.

With this much turnover and economic movement comes the opportunity for mobility for workers. When open positions are outpacing unemployment significantly it means a workplace must do more than be a place “people show up to, get a paycheck and go home.” The places that maintain these outdated modalities will find it more and more difficult to compete. A recession may be imminent, but it is unclear if and/or how that will affect the employment dynamics of our diverse market. All this data shows one recommendation rings clear… we got to keep talking about culture and feelings.