Salary Database

Note: All STC members receive a free copy of the 2013-2014 Salary Database. The Salary Database is now available! All members can download the publication from the link below.

Members: Download the 2013-2014 Salary Database

Nonmembers: Purchase the 2013-2014 Salary Database

The 2013-2014 STC Salary Database is sponsored by:

Adobe Technical Communication




The STC Salary Database is a tool that can be used to conduct more powerful job searches, make a strong case for a raise, or prepare department payroll budgets. The data in the Salary Database are drawn from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics (OES). Read a preview of the 2013-2014 Salary Database, with highlights and an overview of the publication. Or click on the Salary Guide for Technical Communication Jobs infographic below, with information from last year's Salary Database, for a full-size PNG file.

"Using the Salary Database I was able to negotiate myself a 14.9% increase in my contracting rates and I accepted the new engagement! I was able to back up my request with specific NAICS codes and geographical related information, which I think kind of blew them away. They didn't know what hit 'em. Thanks, STC!"

—Cindy Reid

What Does this Year's Salary Database Tell Us?

Salary Database Infographic - click to enlargeThis year’s data offers new insights on how the stronger economy has and will continue to influence the demand for technical writers. With a stronger economy comes stronger job markets. In 2013, the technical communication profession posted its strongest employment gains since the 2007–2009 Recession—more than any other communications field.

There is a continued importance on globalization and export markets to the U.S. economy in 2013, showing an increase in translators and interpreters. Other areas of the economy—consumer spending, business spending and investment, and government spending—are also examined in an economic overview which provides some explanation for the effects on the growth or decline of technical writer staffs in various industries.

Many industries with the strongest foreign demand were also among those reporting the largest net increases in technical writer employment in 2013. These include industrial equipment manufacturers, engineering and managerial service providers, and electronic market wholesalers and brokers. Demonstrating the role technical writers are playing in helping to address the “skills gap,” private sector educational support services and employment services, which includes temporary help, also made the top ten industries with the largest job gains for technical writers.

A significant technical writer employment trend that continued into 2013 was the geographic dispersion within the profession. Reflecting the growing role of wholesalers and possibly the importance of export sensitive industries to technical writers, five of the top ten fastest growing markets for technical writers were also in the top ten wholesaler markets: Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, and Boston.

While technical writer employment continued to post gains in 2013, employment prospects were being profoundly shaped by the nature of the recovery. The industries driving the economy in 2013 differ greatly from those that drove the economy before the 2007–2009 Recession and are gaining greater importance for technical communication professionals. Most importantly, the influence of the country’s growing reliance on foreign markets has become more obvious while the profession’s traditional dependence on public sector spending appears to be diminishing. Unfortunately, the political games in Washington this year wreaked havoc on the sizable share of the technical communication profession that works directly or indirectly for the federal government. Assessing the pace of the decline in government spending to technical communication remains difficult at this time. Hopefully, 2014 will provide further employment gains without political gamesmanship muddying the water and, in turn, better insight into the real long-term trends important to both technical communication jobseekers and employers.

How Can I Use the Salary Database?

Using 2013 data, the 2013-2014 Salary Database is available free to all STC members and is available for purchase by nonmembers. Excel files with the original data are also available for purchase for all those who wish to be able to format the data in other ways.

Use the STC Salary Database if you are:

  • An employee looking for solid facts to back up a raise request
  • A manager seeking salary figures to assist with setting budgets or bidding for projects
  • A freelancer investigating average hourly fees for a different industry or city
  • A job-seeker needing insight on what industries and what geographic areas hold the most new jobs
  • Any technical communicator in need of either annual or hourly wage information

Because the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics, from which the Salary Database was drawn, is one of the most referenced wage guides by human resource professionals, STC members who use this tool will benefit from the same market intelligence that is relied upon when employers evaluate raises and make salary offers to new hires. The STC Salary Database not only provides firm numbers to back up fair requests and fair offers, giving technical communicators the insight they need in a tough job market, it also provides users with a competitive edge. Get the edge you need with the STC Salary Database.

Listen to a podcast interview with the economist who wrote the Salary Database and a recruiter discussing what's included and how it can work for you. Available in both WMV format and MP3 format.