Average Colorado tech salary
double that of other workers

Click chart to enlarge

Click chart to enlarge


f there is one thing that stands out about the high tech industry in Colorado it is the amount of money paid to its workers. Simply put, the average salary in the tech sector is twice that of the average wages paid to other private sector industries.

As of the end of 2012, the average annual salary in the tech industry was $97,100, compared to the statewide average of $48,948. More specifically, tech workers in Colorado are paid 98 percent more than the average worker in other industries.

High tech sector salaries are not unique to Colorado, although tech workers here still make 3.5 percent more than the nationwide average of $93,800. That puts Colorado in 7th place for annual tech wages across the country.

The trend shows no sign of slowing down. During the last three years, the average tech salary has jumped nearly 7 percent in Colorado and 8 percent nationally.

Click chart to enlarge

Click chart to enlarge

Although tech employees represent only 8.7 percent of the total Colorado workforce, their total wages comprise more than one-sixth of the state’s total private sector payroll. According to the TechAmerica study, the combined high tech payroll in Colorado is $15.8 billion – a hefty 17.3 percent of the state’s total private sector payroll. The technology industry’s payroll contribution in the state was the 5th largest in the country.

Overall, 17 states had more than 10 percent of their payroll coming from the tech industry. After Virginia (more than 20 percent), Washington ranked second (18.4 percent), followed by California (18.0 percent), Massachusetts (17.8 percent), and Colorado (17.3 percent).

state-metrics-buttonOn the national level, the country’s total tech payroll was $558 billion for 2012, up 1.8 percent from 2011. The tech payroll accounted for 10.8 percent of total private sector payroll in the nation, up from 10.6 percent in 2011 and continuing a five-year trend of increases.

On the state level, California led the nation with a tech payroll of $120 billion, accounting for over 21 percent of the nation’s total tech payroll for 2012. Texas, New York, Massachusetts, and Virginia rounded out the top five states. Together, the top five states account for 46 percent of all tech payroll in the nation.

California continued to lead the nation with the highest paid tech industry workers, who earned an average annualized wage of $123,900 in 2012. Massachusetts ranked second with annualized wages of $116,000, followed by Washington at $110,200. New Jersey and Virginia rounded out the top five rankings.

Average annualized wages increased in 35 states between 2011 and 2012, including the top five states with the highest tech wages. Every state in the union had technology workers earning significantly more than the average private sector worker. The average tech wage was more than double the private sector wage in the following eight states: California, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico, Virginia, Arizona, and North Carolina.

The highest salaries went to those in the computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing segment at $146,200, followed by semiconductor manufacturers at $122,700 and software publishers at $118,200. Tech manufacturing, in general, are the companies that research, develop, design, test, and build technology products.

NEXT: More high-tech establishments find a home in Colorado