Have We Reached Peak Tech Salary Levels?

The latest Dice Salary Survey (our tenth annual) offers a sweeping view of the tech trends affecting the workplace. Over the past two years, salaries have largely stagnated; that’s a remarkable change from the previous seven years, when salaries ticked upward reliably. (After a 5.5 percent tick upward in 2015, 2016 brought a 1.3 percent slide; in 2017, salaries rose 0.7 percent.)

That lack of growth is a bit of a concern, and perhaps it’s the reason why so many tech pros are choosing to consult rather than work for a company full-time. The new Salary Survey also suggested that a full 63 percent of tech pros anticipate leaving their current job for a better salary. (Granted, respondents who anticipated jumping over money also made an average salary below the survey’s average, but that doesn’t preclude tech pros’ generalized worries over their pay.)

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Employers have turned to benefits as a means to appease their workforce. From the Salary Survey:

The annual salary report from Dice, mirrors the stagnant wages broadly across the U.S., but finds over the years employers have been offering more motivators and benefits to remain competitive when offering the highest pay isn’t an option.

In any case, the typical tech pro’s income doesn’t constitute starvation wages: average tech pay stands at $92,712, well above U.S. median household income. As you might expect, those levels rise as employees age, due to seniority and more opportunities for advancement.

There are also skills that outpace the industry averages; sub-disciplines such as process-management platforms (i.e., products from WebMethods) and cloud (via OpenStack and other skills) have all seen five percent (or better) pay increases in the past year. Many languages or technologies can even boost salaries by 10 percent or greater.

While those various disciplines aren’t widely discussed (or even utilized in a majority of companies), these highly specialized skills can end up paying a lot better than widespread skill-sets or programming languages such as JavaScript. Their accompanying cash bumps also suggest we haven’t reached peak salary levels, despite the recent stagnation; as long as there’s massive demand for a certain ability, employers will write a hefty check for those who’ve mastered it. If you’re interested in seeing how much your skills and experience can potentially earn, check out the Dice Salary Calculator. 

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