Wage differentials are a quick and easy way to spot relatively high paying occupations in a region. This sort of information is useful for students planning their careers, experienced professionals moving to a new location, workforce planners trying to identify potential worker shortages, or anyone curious about how the pay in their occupation stacks up against their neighbors.
The occupational wage differential is calculated by dividing an occupation’s average wage in a geographic area by the average wage for all occupations in that area.
The 2.1 wage differential for registered nurses in Multnomah and Washington means nurses earn 110 percent more per hour than the average worker in those counties. Nurses in Clatsop, Columbia, and Tillamook counties make 170 percent more than the average worker.
Wage differentials can tell us something about the potential standard of living. A worker in an occupation with a high wage differential can probably afford a higher standard of living than a worker in an occupation with a low wage differential, other things being equal.
But, other factors that can affect wage differentials include prominent industries in an area, unionization in an area, and the types of occupations in an area.
Here's a look at wage differentials around Oregon:
Read more about wage differentials in our full article: Identifying Higher-Paying Occupations in Your Area