The 2017 Detroit IT Salary Guide

2017 Detroit IT Salary Guide

The Motor City is one of perpetual rebirth. Given time to innovate, Detroit appears to be able to regenerate. This is a place that rebuilt to even greater grandeur after burning down in the Great Fire of 1805. Now, a similar resurgence is happening in the wake of the Great Recession and bankruptcy. What else would you expect from a city where the two mottos are “we hope for better things” and “it will rise from the ashes?”

As a talent solutions organization, we see Detroit’s revival occurring first-hand. Competitive industries like information technology, healthcare, and finance are driving economic growth in Southeast Michigan. Even the city’s population decline is slowing to a crawl, down to a 0.5% decrease compared to the 1.4% loss the year before. Concentrated revival efforts by local task forces, established businesses, and innovatory newcomers are emphasizing all of the great changes and opportunities in Detroit.

Yet Detroit’s resurgence depends on whether or not local businesses provide a competitive alternative to other metro hotspots. Multiple factors influence a candidate’s decision to take a job, but little compares to compensation. That’s why we have created a guide for businesses looking to stay competitive in a tough national field.

Using our knowledge from placing thousands of candidates, our 2017 Detroit Salary Guide provides competitive compensation for healthcare, nursing, and information technology. Also included are insights into national trends, the local Detroit market, top technical skills, and additional strategies for appealing to top talent.

We hope you find this information to be valuable as you build your workforce in the coming year.

What’ll Drive the Motor City’s Revival in 2017

Anyone involved in Detroit’s economy has seen the signs of its growth. Unemployment is down to 6% from Recession era highs of 28%. In June of 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics measured year over year growth of 3.6% for professional and business services and 3.1% for education and healthcare, outpacing the national average. The image of Detroit in Rust Belt decline is lessening, all the more so with technological innovation and business expansion taking hold.

The Evolution of the Auto Industry

Detroit’s innovations are making headlines. The Big Three are amassing startups or partnering with iconic Silicon Valley brands to accelerate their race to perfect and mass produce driverless cars. No longer a moonshot, self-driving automobiles are big business. Local software engineers, systems developers, and quality assurance professionals will continue to be involved in projects that will revolutionize the auto industry as we know it.

Investments will build upon those that have been raining in from a variety of new and established tech innovators. Lear is investing $10 million in automotive parts, which will fuel the evolution of state-of-the-art manufacturing. Automotive startups have been growing in and relocating to the Detroit area, providing more mobile development roles for local coders.

New Innovations and Established Companies

But the tech growth is more than an extension of the automobile industry. At least eight out of ten Southeast Michigan technology executives plan to invest in R&D. Additionally, hiring in the financial services industry is growing well beyond the national average and companies like Quicken Loans and J.P. Morgan Chase have contributed to the growth of jobs and the local economy.

The Expansion of Healthcare Networks

Moreover, the healthcare industry is growing considerably. Across Michigan, 17 out of every 100 jobs are healthcare related and that number has the potential to rise. Beaumont Hospital broke ground on a $160 million expansion in Farmington Hills, which promises to bring more jobs to the area. Additionally, the anticipated nationwide shortage of 1.2 million registered nurses between 2014 and 2022 will provide nurses in Detroit and elsewhere with their pick of opportunities.

What does that mean for Detroit in 2017? The precedent that has been set for IT and healthcare will most likely be sustained for the coming year. As more investments and expansions flow into Detroit, competitive skills will become all the more coveted, sparking even higher compensation than before. More and more, companies across industries will need to be attuned to market demand and the highest paying skills if they want to continue acquiring the best of the best.

The Highest Paying Skills on the MDetroit IT Guide Highest Paying Skillsarket

Skills that earn top dollar across any industry depend on two factors: scarcity and business relevancy. If a specific skill is not readily available but has little demand, there’s not much money in possessing that expertise. That’s why the market for experts in falconry or Aramaic isn’t all that lucrative.

The skills which are currently in that cross-section between high demand and business relevancy says a great deal about the market and which positions will be continuously in-demand during 2017 and beyond. Here’s a glimpse at some of the talents we find to be the most marketable.

Information Technology

On the IT side, some of the highest paying skills are a mix of cutting edge technologies and consistently useful programming languages:

  • Machine Learning – The ability to build algorithms that can learn from data and make corresponding predictions defines talent at the cutting edge. For developers and programmers, knowledge of machine learning can boost their salary by 25.2% over their competitors.
  • Cloud Computing – Software, platforms, and infrastructure are increasingly ascending to the cloud, making cloud proficiency indispensable. Developers with cloud experience can expect salaries of $105,000 on average while Systems Engineers with CloudStack experience can expect over $138,000.
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) – With data breaches at an all-time high and ransomware hijacking critical data hostage, security certificates are a hot commodity. With the IT strategy focused CISM, IT professionals can easily earn an average of $116,000.
  • C#, JavaScript, and Ruby – IT Salaries with these programming languages easily push above $95,000 when professionals have these skills. Ruby is a gateway into Ruby on Rails and works well in DevOps frameworks. JavaScript leads RedMonk surveys for popularly used languages and offers extended web functionality. C# works well with the suite of Windows products on the market.


Those nurses who can function in high-stress, high-skill roles are in the highest demand and these experiences tend to be the highest paying:

  • Open Heart Surgical Experience – The precision required in cardiac surgery and the ability to stay cool and coordinated under pressure makes these professionals indispensable. The pay range for these OR