The Forecast for San Francisco Salaries: Sunny With a Strong Chance of Increases

The classic Tony Bennett song declares, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” and if you recently left the area, there’s a good chance you left much more than that – particularly when it comes to your pocketbook. The good news for San Franciscans is that starting salaries are approximately 38 percent higher than the national average, according to the 2015 Salary Guides from Robert Half. Here’s a snapshot of some of the hottest positions in the Bay Area, and a comparison of San Francisco salaries against the national average:

Job Title 2015 SF Starting Salary Range 2015 National Starting Salary Range % Change From 2014
Mobile Applications Developer $148,350 - $222,870 $107,500 - $161,500 10.2%
Graphic Designer (3-5 years of experience) $71,070 - $99,360 $51,500 - $72,000 3.4%
Corporate Paralegal (4-6 years of experience, Large Company) $80,385 - $103,155 $58,250 - $74,750 3.3%
Senior Financial Analyst (Midsize Company) $96,600 - $126,615 $70,000 - $91,750 4.2%
Administrative Assistant $42,435 - $57,615 $30,750 - $41,750 3.9%


Salary Trends

Overall, things are looking good for San Francisco salaries in the year ahead. Starting salaries for professional occupations are projected to increase an average of 3.8 percent in 2015. That’s up from 3.7 percent in 2014.

If you’re in information technology (IT), there’s more good news: Technology workers can expect the largest salary gains, with an average increase of 5.7 percent. Robert Half’s research found that professionals in the fields of accounting and finance, as well as creative and marketing, can expect starting salaries to increase 3.5 percent, on average. In addition, professionals in the legal field can anticipate starting salary increases to the tune of 3.0 percent.

San Francisco’s Hot Jobs and Industries

San Francisco salaries are highest in growing industries. According to Robert Half recruiters, the hottest industries include healthcare, financial services and high-tech.

Within the accounting and finance sector, there’s a surge in demand for senior financial analysts and staff accountants. Litigation legal secretaries and corporate paralegals are two of the positions within the legal field that are experiencing ongoing demand. 

San Francisco is a vital hub for the technology industry, and there is currently a whirlwind of growth around startups. They’re recruiting for web developers, systems administrators and help desk professionals. Learn more about local IT hiring trends via the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report for the San Francisco Bay Area.

A Piece of the Pie

Now you’ve got the intel, but what’s the next step if you’re looking for the biggest pay package from a prospective employer? Three words: negotiate, negotiate, negotiate! The great news is that more employers are taking a close look at San Francisco salaries. In fact, 48 percent of Bay Area chief financial officers said they’re more willing to negotiate salaries now versus 12 months ago, according to the San Francisco Bay Area Professional Employment Forecast From Robert Half. Begin your negotiation research by looking at the 2015 Salary Guides from Robert Half and reviewing your goals and achievements. You’ll also want to check out a couple of our recent blog posts, which contain good tips for salary negotiation: “Six Steps to Success When Negotiating Salary” and “Six Can’t-Miss Negotiation Tactics for IT Professionals.” 

At the end of the day, if your heart’s in San Francisco, there just may be a salary increase in store for you there, too. If you live in the Bay Area and have a salary negotiation tip or success story, let us know. What steps did you take to land the salary that you aspired towards?