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Understanding Salary Trends for Chiefs of Staff in the United States

Using the LinkedIn Salary feature, The Chief of Staff Association analysed the salary trends of US-based chiefs of staff. In particular, this blog post focuses on two factors that determine income variation: seniority and location.

The Chief of Staff Association

Published: 22/03/2022


Seniority has the most significant impact on the salary variation of chiefs of staff. While the median base annual salary for chiefs of staff in the US is $130,000 for all years of experience, salary based on seniority, increases as follows:

  • Less than one year of experience – Approximately $106,000/yr
  • 1 to 5 years of experience – Approx. $120,00/yr;
  • 6 to 14 years of experience – Approx. $135,000/yr;
  • 15+ years of experience – Approx. $150,00/yr.


The median salary for chiefs of staff also varies depending on city. Based on LinkedIn’s top-ten ranking, here is the ranking for the top-three paying locations for chiefs of staff:

  1. Greater Seattle Area – Approximately $161,00/yr; 
  2. San Francisco Bay Area – Approx. $157,000/yr;
  3. Washington D.C.-Baltimore area – Approx. $148,00/yr. 

When looking at the range for this specific indicator, the San Francisco Bay Area has the highest base salary listed: $238,000/yr. Among the cities presented in the top ten ranking, the Austin Metropolitan Area has the lowest listed base salary: $56,000/yr.

Contextualising Salary Trends

In addition to the two metrics explored above, the Salary feature also displays another category; ‘Other titles for this role’, with five additional titles and the median base salary for each: 

  • Director of Government Relations – Approximately $120,000/yr; 
  • Director of Public Affairs – Approx. $115,000/yr;
  • Political Director – Approx. $88,000/yr;
  • Strategic Communications Consultant – $85,000/yr;
  • Director of Communications – $80,300/yr.

The diversity of these job titles likely reflects the varied backgrounds from which chiefs of staff are drawn. As generalists that are required to be competent in a wide array of business functions and responsibilities, it is unsurprising that there is such diversity in the roles that chiefs of staff have otherwise assumed. Additionally, the centricity of stakeholder management and strategic communications to the role of a chief of staff means there is significant overlap in the positions listed.

Key takeaways

According to the LinkedIn Salary feature, seniority and location are the indicators that have the most significant impact on the salary of chiefs of staff. Of course, there are many other factors such as the highest level of education or the size of a company that could significantly affect these trends. 

Finally, since the data presented above depends on the response rates for the LinkedIn Salary feature, the insights are necessarily limited in scope. It is also important to note that the LinkedIn feature does not break down the annual salary trend by sector. This additional data could be valuable for contextualising the trends related to location. 

If you would like to explore these salary insights further, you can find a link to the tool here.

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