Recently, Raytheon announced their move to the D.C. metro area, joining other major companies, like Boeing and Amazon. Of course, these three companies aren’t the only ones with headquarter operations set up in and around the region. For decades, the heart of national security has been centralized around federal headquarters. Although recent years have pulled candidates out into the suburbs, the U.S. Capitol region has held mostly steady – even ready to make a stronger comeback with the area in heavy growth mode. With more competition in the industry, everyone wants ‘to be in the room where it happens’ whenever possible.

What Makes up the D.C. Metro Region?

According to the ClearanceJobs 2022 Security Clearance Compensation Report, average compensation for the overall cleared population was $101,395 this past year. And respondents from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia made up 37% of that cleared workforce.

When I moved inside the Capitol beltway line (I-495) years ago, my perspective of interstates that only ran north/south or east/west changed. Residents in the D.C. region quickly realize the impact that the beltway has on home prices in the D.C. metro area. Expectations for life and work inside the beltway are much different than outside.

Cleared Compensation for the D.C. Metro Region

So, how much does it impact compensation if some cleared employees never see the Capitol skyline – or the traffic that goes with it?  If you double the median home price in Richmond, VA, it’ll get you in the ballpark of the cost of a home in Arlington, VA. So, this year, we specifically asked D.C., Maryland, and Virginia respondents if they worked in the D.C. metro for the majority of the workweek, and 64% said that they do. Just working in the three states can land a salary that’s $9,000 more than the average cleared employee. However, actually working inside the beltway for the majority of the workweek compensates $14,390 higher than the cleared average.

Benefits of Working Close to the Capitol

The reality is that the annoying and challenging commute does result in a higher paycheck. So, keep that in mind when you’re searching for your next job. But those who work closer to the Capitol don’t just stay because the job pays more. The reality is that the cost of living is a major factor in the salary number, so there has to be more to the story. D.C. metro respondents noted career opportunities in the area, as well as, increased national security employment options keeping them grounded. Cultural diversity in the area was also a top driver.

Bottom line? The D.C. metro area has a lot to offer cleared candidates. If one cleared employer isn’t willing to keep compensation high enough to keep pace with rising inflation costs, the reality is that there are others in the area willing to pay for your talent. The key is to keep your eye on the job landscape at all times and update your ClearanceJobs profile.


Download the 2022 Security Clearance Compensation Report

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.