How Your Age, and Company Size, Can Impact Your Salary

A job with that small, scrappy startup may seem exciting, but the most recent Dice Salary Survey numbers show you may be better off working for a massive company.

When we examine company size and income levels, along with age, a few interesting trends emerge. If you’re in your 20s, the average salary ranges from just under $57,000 per year to almost $67,000 annually. At companies with fewer than 50 employees, a tech pro in that age range might make only $51,682; at a company with 5,000 or more employees, by contrast, they might make $66,782, at the higher end of their range.

Tech pros between 30 and 49 fare better; their salary range is also more variable, averaging from $83,000 to over $100,000. Small companies pay them the worst (around $78,029 for firm with under 50 employees), with pay scaling incrementally as overall employee numbers rise. At companies with 5,000 or more employees, by contrast, they can expect to make over $100,000 annually.

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The same sliding scale works for tech pros aged 50-64, though salary levels increase (in this demographic, salaries range from just under $96,000 to over $115,000). Those 65 and older experience a lot more turbulence with salaries as they relate to company size. Companies with 500-999 employees pay older tech pros resoundingly less (under $94,000) than any other company size, which pay this group more than $100,000.

When we examine overall division numbers versus last year, small companies are paying slightly more. Companies employing between 100-499 are paying tech pros under 49 a bit less, while offering higher salaries to those 50 and over. Salaries at firms with 500-999 employees have stayed relatively level, although mid-career pros (30-49) are making slightly more versus 2016. Unless you’re over 65, avoiding companies with 1,000-4,999 employees may be best; huge companies (those with 5,000 employees or more) have static salary levels, with a slight uptick for those 30-49.

Fortunately, employers are supplementing salaries with benefits in an effort to remain competitive. While salaries have largely leveled off over the past year, the survey notes that employers are keeping employees happy with perks when paying more isn’t possible.