Our recently published 2024 Security Clearance Compensation Report revealed salary improvements across the board despite economic uncertainties. In 2023, companies responded boldly to inflation and budget concerns, granting cleared candidates a notable 6% increase in compensation, elevating the average salary to $114,946. This marks the second consecutive year where 67% of individuals saw a rise in their base pay. So, let’s dive into our exclusive insights.

The Evolving Cleared Landscape 

As we move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work remains a preference for cleared candidates. 57% of respondents report their employers offer remote or hybrid options, compared to 46% in 2021. Additionally, those with remote options routinely earn $15,000 to $20,000 more over the past three years. However, in national security, remote or hybrid work is a luxury that many employers cannot afford due to the nature of the work. Respondents favored extra vacation days (64%) and bonuses (64%) as incentives to forego remote options. 

While national security demographics remained consistent, small changes add up. Women made up 23% of respondents, but Generation Z saw 4% growth, and experienced the largest pay increase for the second year. 

Happiness, Satisfaction, and Commitment to the Cleared Industry 

Compensation remains the primary driver of job satisfaction, followed by training options, certifications, and remote work. While 21% are hesitant to switch jobs, 79% are open to new opportunities within the year, meaning employers have plenty of cleared candidates to recruit. Additionally, over half (59%) have no plans to leave the industry in five years. 

Government vs. Contractor Compensation 

In 2023, compensation rose across the cleared market, narrowing the gap between government and contractor pay to around $8,000. Notably, NSA and CIA employees saw significant increases, but every federal government agency’s compensation surpassed six figures. The DoD remained the biggest employer of cleared respondents again this year and reported a 7% compensation increase. 

As 2024 progresses and organizations look to attract and retain top cleared talent, a strong focus on organizational stability, and long-term compensation commitments will prove successful in the ever-evolving landscape of cleared hiring. 


Click here for the full compensation report


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Phoebe Wells is the Public Relations & Partnerships Marketing Manager at ClearanceJobs and loves every aspect of her role. Creating content and working with the CJ team to connect cleared candidates with employers is incredibly rewarding, as the work ClearanceJobs does ultimately supports the mission of the U.S. As the daughter of a veteran and former cleared worker, she knows the sacrifices security and defense professionals make. She is honored to assist them in leveling up their careers. Plus, she gets to work from home in the Adirondack Mountains with her partner and two huskies!