Sitting in front of a computer may be bad for your health, but it’s great for your paycheck. Jobs that have become the most digital in the past decade have seen the fastest wage growth, while those that use computers less frequently have seen pay increase sluggishly, according to a Brookings Institution paper.
Worker productivity is an important driver behind the difference in pay gains, according to the research. The Wall Street Journal reported:
Highly digital jobs clocked more than 2.6% wage growth between 2010 and 2016. Over the same period, jobs with medium digital scores saw average wages grow by 1.4% and those with low digital scores by just 1.3%.
In essence, Americans who use computers at work tend to be more productive. That helps explain why some health-care professionals are experiencing faster pay increases than plumbers or truck drivers.
“All things being equal…the more digital skills a worker has, the greater their productivity and pay,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brookings and one of the authors of the paper. “Most productive firms and organizations are rapidly rolling their processes into digital platforms.”
The mean annual wage for workers in highly digital jobs was $72,896 in 2016, while workers in mid-level digital jobs earned about $48,274 and those in low-digital positions earned $30,393. In the U.S., the mean annual wage across all occupations was $49,630 in 2016, according to the Labor Department.