Despite low unemployment numbers nationwide, job growth over the past year in Maryland has essentially leveled out. Maryland respondents in the 2018 ClearanceJobs Compensation survey reported the flattest salary growth in the nation, with increases of just 4-6%.

“There is weakness in Prince George and Prince Charles Counties, and the growth is below what we expect compared to numbers nationally, which right now is very strong,” said Richmond Fed regional economist Andrew Bauer.

According to data from the Aerospace Industries Association, Maryland’s share of the national aerospace and defense workforce is at 1.6%, and its five-year employment growth rate (2012-2017) actually fell 17.4%. Total jobs supported by aerospace and defense in Maryland were 38,760 last year, with direct employment accounting for 18,770 jobs and supply chain employment accounting for 19,990 jobs.

maryland Salaries by clearance level

According to the 2018 ClearanceJobs Compensation Survey results, the proportion of Secret and Top Secret/SCI professionals in Maryland dropped by nearly 7% since 2017. Yet the intelligence population increased by more than 4%, which makes the flat salaries even more surprising. Intelligence professionals typically earn significantly higher salaries than Secret and Top Secret/SCI professionals.

The mean and median base pay for Top Secret clearance increased by 9% in 2018, while the mean total compensation increased by 11%. The mean and median base pay for counterintelligence polygraph saw an 11%, increase as well.

The two career levels with the highest mean total compensation increases were entry-level professionals and senior level career professionals, with each group receiving a 7% increase this year. Early career level professionals saw their respective median base pay increase by 10% and their median total compensation increased by 7%. By contrast, senior level career professionals received the highest increases in mean base pay at 7%.

Industry Investment in Maryland

While salary figures may be lower than expected, cyber opportunities in Maryland remain strong. The state is, after all, home to the NSA, the Intelligence Community’s hub for signals and cyber intelligence operations.

The Cyber Excepted Service initiative seeks to streamline and expedite recruitment and hiring processes at Fort Meade – the U.S. Army garrison that houses the NSA. Cyber Command is teaming up with the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC) for new hiring events offering expedited hiring and on-the-spot offers.

The Maryland defense sector also benefits from its partnerships with local universities. North American Wave Engine Corp., an aerospace startup, was born out of the University of Maryland, College Park. It raised $1.45 million in a round led by the University System of Maryland and the Abell foundation earlier this year. It is the third company to receive such an investment from the USM Momentum Fund since its inception in 2016.

This article is one in a series based on the 2018 ClearanceJobs Compensation Survey. This survey was administered online between October 30, 2017 and February 9, 2018. Participants had to have a current, active federal security clearance and be currently employed to be included in the results, which included 20,883 usable responses.

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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who covers business technology and cyber security. He currently lives in Michigan and can be reached at