A shortage of available workers and a generally healthy economy have kept wages on an upward trajectory through the first month of 2019. Median base pay for full-time workers rose to $52,964 per year in January, up 2.3% from last year according to the most-recent Glassdoor ​Local Pay Reports​.

It's generally good news on a year-over-year basis, but wages were actually the same as they were in December, and wage growth actually slowed down slightly. It's possible the slower growth comes because the end of the holiday season lessened demand and put some temporarily employed workers back into the workforce. It's also possible that the labor market could be cooling off slightly.

"This positive wage growth remains consistent with the increasingly tight labor market, where employers continue to hike up wages in hopes of attracting scarce workers," said Glassdoor Economist Daniel Zhao in a blog post. "With a number of economic uncertainties ahead, ranging from rising interest rates and trade policies to the current government shutdown, we'll be closely watching the labor market to see if economic headwinds affect the steady pay growth for American workers."

A truck driver sits in the cab of a truck.

Truck driver remains a high wage growth job. Image source: Getty Images.

These jobs have the fastest-growing wages

Except for truck driver -- a job where there is enormous demand and a training barrier to entry -- the entire top five consists of jobs where wages are relatively low in the first place. Farther down, however, you see two in-demand technology jobs -- solutions architect and Java developer -- crack the list.

Job Title

Median Base Pay

YoY %

Bank Teller



Truck Driver



Pharmacy Technician






Security Officer






Solutions Architect



Property Manager



Java Developer



Office Manager



Data source: Glassdoor

What does this mean?

Given that five of the 10 jobs on this list pay well below the median for all jobs included in the study, it's clear that wages are being impacted by the lack of workers to fill lower-paying, less-skilled jobs. That's a trend that's likely going to continue until companies find ways to automate some of these functions.

That's happening to a point in retail and quick-serve restaurants, where automated ordering and checkout replaces the need for human workers. This has not, however, led to major reductions in the need for employees, and jobs have shifted toward customer service and away from order taking.

As consumers get more comfortable making purchases on apps and at in-store kiosks, that could change and alleviate some of the labor pressure. That's going to happen in some major retail and restaurant chains, but it's not imminent, at least not on a large scale.

For workers in the lower-paying fields on this list, these are nice increases -- but even with steady raises in pay rates, these jobs won't come close to reaching the median wage. What's more, companies will automate retail jobs and other customer service positions if the costs continue to rise because labor remains scarce.

That should be a sort of warning to workers. Yes, you're making more now, but that does not make these good fields to go into -- there will be a breaking point for businesses when automating makes more sense than paying more.