career exploration writing & editing

STC salary database uses NAICS standard

Finally, my professional organization has published the 2012-2013 salary database. I’m as excited as Steve Martin’s character exclaiming, “The new phonebook’s here! The new phonebook’s here!”

While the STC salary database reports on data collected about US technical communicators, it’s still useful to those of us living and working in Canada. The NAICS standard makes it easier for North American countries to compare business statistics.

Breaking it down

A two-digit NAICS code categorizes an entire economic sector such as Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (71).
A three-digit code represents an industry subgroup such as Performing Arts, Spectator Sports, and Related Industries (711).
A four-digit NAICS code represents a specific industry such as Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers (7115).
Deeper breakdowns specify services (711510 Technical Writer, independent, 541930 Translation services, language) and specialties (511130 Technical manual publishers).

Interestingly, the salary database reports that translation services have maintained employment numbers. We technical writers have yet to recover jobs lost to the 2007-2009 recession. Not to panic though. We’ve gained jobs in these industries:

  • Architectural, Engineering Services
  • Business, Professional, Labor, Political Organizations
  • Employment Services
Engineering Services
  • Information Services
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services
  • Semiconductor and Electronic Component Manufacturing
  • Testing Laboratories
  • Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers

Advantage Canada if you’re bilingual.

By Pam Drucker

Documentation specialist, procedures writer

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