Despite the deepest recession in generations, workers holding security clearances are enjoying an average pay increase of nearly two percent to $73,961, finds, the leading online career management resource for professionals with active government security clearance. In its annual survey, ClearanceJobs finds that employees in Washington, D.C. and Virginia received a three percent increase and the highest annual compensation in the “cleared worker” category, with average salaries of $82,874 and $80,135, respectively.

“The turbulent economy has put a governor on the growth rate of salaries for security cleared workers,” said Evan Lesser, founder & Director of ClearanceJobs. “However, there is no shortage of security-cleared career opportunities both in and outside the D.C. corridor. Considering both number of current job openings and the local cost of living, there isn’t a bad market anywhere in the country for security clearance jobs.”

Top 10 Average Cleared Salaries by Geography:

2009-08 2008-07
1. Washington, DC $82,874 $80,380
2. Virginia $80,135 $78,043
3. Colorado $74,000 $74,448
4. Maryland $73,471 $72,844
5. California $73,636 $70,874
6. Arizona $68,000 $67,020
7. Florida $65,962 $66,128
8. Texas $64,207 $60,252
9. Georgia $61,022 $59,150
10 North Carolina $58,506 $54,788


Additional findings include:

• Salaries for cleared workers in Afghanistan surged by seven percent to $106,321, while salaries of their counterparts in Iraq increased slightly to $106,839. The closing of the pay gap between the two war zones echoes the elevation of the United States’ focus in Afghanistan. In fact, the number of job postings on ClearanceJobs with work located in Afghanistan surged 170 percent over the past year, while openings in Iraq grew 58 percent over the same time frame.

• The salary gap between government employees ($62,615) and government contractors ($83,212) widened in 2009 with contractors earning roughly $20,000 more than civil servants.

• Average salaries for management-level positions topped six-figures for the first time at $101,720, joining the executive level ($130,293) in that highly soughtafter compensation club. By comparison, an entry-level security cleared professional with less than two years of experience earned on average $45,811.

• Despite an average salary gain that was a third of the increase security cleared professionals received in 2008, 70 percent of respondents noted they are satisfied with their current job, an increase from 67 percent satisfaction last year.


Source: The data for the ClearanceJobs Salary Survey was collected from more than 5,000 security-cleared professionals registered on between February 21, 2008 and April 26, 2009.

Related News, the largest security-cleared career network, specializes in defense jobs for professionals with security clearances. Search thousands of jobs from pre-screened, registered defense industry employers.