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Oregon industries paying six figure incomes

February 5, 2018

The Highest-Paying Industries in Oregon: Six Industries that Offer Six Figure Incomes

Oregon Workforce and Economic Information

The average annual wage in Oregon in 2016 was $49,467. However, a handful of large industries pay about twice that much to their employees. These are sectors of the economy where businesses pay very well and employ workers with a high level of technical skills.

High wages are not the only thing these firms have to offer. All of these industries have enjoyed job growth in Oregon over the last seven years, though the utilities, high-tech manufacturing, and financial industries have grown relatively slowly, while the software and management of companies sectors have experienced rapid job growth.

Software and Computer Systems Design

There are two related industries that have enjoyed the fastest job growth among high wage sectors: software and computer systems design. The 27,900 workers in these industries earned an average mean wage of $103,445 in 2016.

The bulk of the employment here is in occupations with high annual wages: software developers ($99,670), database administrators ($84,540), and computer programmers ($77,780). Some of the higher-wage occupations include computer network architects ($121,250) and information research scientists ($154,220).

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this sector is its rapid employment growth. From 2010 to 2017, employment grew by an impressive 46 percent in Oregon. It’s also worth noting that 60 percent of employment here is in just two Portland area counties – Multnomah and Washington.


There are 8,920 workers employed at one of the more than 400 utilities in Oregon. In 2016, these workers earned an average wage of $87,456. Most of these utilities are small and publicly owned. Some of the larger utilities in Oregon include: Portland General Electric, Northwest Natural Gas, and the Bonneville Power Administration.

About half of all employment in Oregon utilities is in private-sector firms with the rest in federal and local government. The private side of the utility sector is growing relatively slowly in Oregon with a gain of just 300 jobs in the last seven years. The represents a growth rate of less than half of the overall Oregon economy.

Maintaining utility infrastructure requires highly technical skills. Some of the most common occupations in utilities pay high annual wages to folks with the appropriate skills: electrical power-line installers and repairers ($89,300), power plant operators ($74,570), electrical engineers ($92,380), and electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay ($83,990).

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