Official U.S. Workforce Statistics
The space industry is well known for its highly paid workforce, which generally provides salaries above the average even among science and engineering jobs. In 2013, the average salary in the U.S. civilian space workforce was $##, more than double the average private sector salary. The highest-paying sector, Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Manufacturing, had an average salary of nearly $##.
Given the requirements for advanced skills and education, it is not surprising that space sector jobs command high salaries. In 2012, the average space sector salary was about $##, more than double the average private sector salary of $##. It is also greater than the average annual salary for STEM occupations.
The space workforce consistently commands high average annual salaries; in 2012 the average space salary was $##. These high salaries reflect, in part, the fact that space jobs often require advanced skills and high levels of educational attainment.
Space salaries have increased even as U.S. space employment has declined. In 2010, the combined average salary across the six core U.S. space industry sectors was $##. This was more than double the average 2010 U.S. private-sector salary of $##, reflecting the tendency of space jobs to require high levels of technical education and training that can generate high-value products and services.
In 2009, the average salary across the six core U.S. space industry sectors was $##. This was more than double the average private-sector salary of $##. The gap between space and general private-sector wages is even more pronounced within certain industry sectors. In 2009, professionals in two of the six space sectors analyzed earned an average salary in excess of six figures.
Space industry jobs stimulate the overall economy more than most other jobs because they offer higher salaries on average. Higher salaries provide professionals with more discretionary income to consume goods and services or reinvest in the larger economy. They also foster a larger tax base with which to make public investments.
As Exhibit 4e shows, the combined average annual salary across the six core U.S. space industry sectors analyzed was $## in 2007, nearly double the average salary of U.S. professionals in the average private sector overall. For the first time on record, professionals in the federal space research and space vehicle manufacturing sectors earned an average salary above six figures, more than $##, or 2.3 times that of the average U.S. private sector worker.
Along with growing space industry employment, the U.S. space industry workforce is well compensated. In 2006, the U.S. space industry paid an annual average wage of $## to its workers. This was more than double the private sector average wage of $## in 2006.