Tech Pros Really Unhappy With Their Salary: Study

Tech pros are paid well, but there’s increasing evidence their salaries may not meet expectations.

A recently published Blind survey shows 61 percent of respondents at tech companies think they’re underpaid. The main offender is Cisco, where 80 percent of tech pros think they deserve more cash. As Blind also notes, only five percent of respondents overall say they’re overpaid, and 34 percent think they’re compensated fairly.

The Dice Salary Survey also shows unease with income among tech pros. Some 42 percent reported they anticipated switching jobs, with 63 percent of that crowd saying it would be for higher pay. Another 30 percent say they want ‘more responsibility,’ which is a nice way of saying they feel ready to take the next step in their career (which also means more money).

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While average salaries bump up or down in each Dice annual survey (typically hovering around the six-figure mark), tech pro income is still far better than average. A recent business.org study found that tech pro income is sometimes double the average salary in major metro areas.

Location may play a role, too. Silicon Valley is still the epicenter of tech, with tech pros typically making well into the six-figure range there. That’s great, but separate studies show living and working in Silicon Valley and/or San Francisco isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. A family earning six figures in the Bay Area is considered ‘poor,’ and a Magnify Money study shows a family just cresting six-figures would actually end up about $500 further in debt each month they lived in Silicon Valley.

Dice’s Salary Survey shows Silicon Valley as the top metro area for tech pro salaries; it’s just all for naught when the cost of living is out of control.

This is why tech pros might want to seek employment outside Silicon Valley. Many companies offer competitive salaries to those in the Bay Area, but with a better cost of living. So long as you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to job-hop between startups every 12 months or so, it’s a smart choice to look beyond Silicon Valley.

Dice’s Salary Survey also shows income leveling off. This is why employers are starting to look towards better benefits packages to attract and retain tech pros. You’ve told us you want more time off, so ask for it the next time you’re negotiating terms with an employer. The ability to work remotely is also a perk that attracts tech pros.

Salaries may not improve enough to satisfy tech pros, so it’s best to consider other means to improve your happiness. And if you’re really stuck on earning more, give freelancing a try.

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4 Responses to “Tech Pros Really Unhappy With Their Salary: Study”

  1. The last line includes a recommendation to “And if you’re really stuck on earning more, give freelancing a try.”

    The unfortunate fact, Nate, is that freelancing (contracting) rates have NOT increased to keep up with inflation. Actually, the rates in absolute numbers are back to where they were in the 80s, while the mighty US dollar has lost 1/2 to 2/3 of its value during that time.

    So freelancing is not the panacea you seem to suggest.

    Dan.

  2. I have the opposite problem. I make too much money which makes it difficult to leave a job I hate. I have noticed that when your title is Software Engineer, you make more money than when your title is Web Developer even if the work is similar and the technologies used are the same. Where I live, I see a ceiling for jobs with certain skills and they either want someone who can lead a team or someone with 2-4 years of experience.

  3. This wasn’t an issue before H1’s flooded our country. Give people more disposable income and watch the economy thrive. The 4% unemployment rate is a lie. Many tech workers are looking for work.

  4. That’s right. H1B visa holders, if paid 60k+, absolutely can legally take a job and replace an american educated, american tech workers position. It’s been happening for over 20 years. The protections that exist for american workers in tech against the H1 and other visas ( will not displace an american worker, will not harm an american worker or group, etc ) are enforced only if the visa holder is paid less than 60k annually. That’s only one way among many the system allows Corporate America to completely screw the american tech worker. It’s a corrupt system built by our government for Big Business and it is making them Billions.