Many Tech Pros Think Their Pay Doesn’t Match Their Value

According to the most recent Dice Salary Survey, the average tech pro made $93,244 in 2018, a very slight 0.6 percent increase from the year before. For many Americans, that’s a lot of money—but many tech pros don’t consider their annual pay nearly enough.

Blind recently asked its pool of anonymous tech pros to answer “True” or “False” to the following statement: “I am paid far less than the value I create.”

A slight majority (55.8 percent) responded with “True,” that they were paid less than their value. The answer also varied by company: Some 60.68 percent of employees at Uber, 60.53 percent of employees at LinkedIn, and 59.09 percent of employees at Intel all thought they provided value above and beyond their take-home pay.

On the flip side of the equation, only 31 percent of respondents who worked at Facebook thought they were underpaid relative to their value; some 44.64 percent of eBay employees thought the same. Check out the full list:

Some interesting points here: Unlike some other Blind surveys, in which there are significant percentage swings between the “top” and “bottom” companies on a list, the companies here are in a pretty tight cluster—across the tech industry, it seems that roughly half of all tech pros think they’re paid appropriately for what they contribute.

Also, consider that, because the responses to Blind’s surveys are anonymous, it’s impossible to determine if the respondents actually work for these companies. In light of that, perhaps it’s best to take the individual company results with the proverbial grain of salt; however, we can assume that the overall sentiment about pay and value is correct.

For those tech pros who feel they’re underpaid relative to what they bring to the table, perhaps it’s time for a conversation with your manager. Sometimes your boss loses track of what exactly you’re contributing; in those cases, a refresher session is perhaps in order. You can schedule a dedicated meeting, or (depending on timing) wait until your quarterly or annual review.

During these meetings, it’s important to show your impact. Your boss won’t necessarily care how much you’re doing—their focus is on results. If you can bring metrics to the table that show your actual contribution, that will go a long way to convincing the organization that you need a generous pay bump.

Dice’s data has also shown that upgrading your skills can lead to better pay, especially if you learn in-demand tools and processes. For example, those tech pros skilled in artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning often enjoy six-figure salaries (and generous perks in addition to high pay). If you feel like your career has stagnated, consider changing things up by taking a few classes or pursuing a new avenue of learning.

2 Responses to “Many Tech Pros Think Their Pay Doesn’t Match Their Value”

  1. Giorgio

    Well yes, that’s a pretty lame question to ask to developers…actually you’re drawing the wrong conclusions here. The scary part is that such a big group of people say they’re not creating more value than they cost, so they must be sidetracked at the company.
    Because if the majority of the developers is not creating more value than their cost, the company is basically creating debts and slowly going bancrupt.
    You could ask the same questions to any individual with any job….they will feel they create more value than they are paid for….

  2. Phil Earley

    As someone who has done full stack (mostly front end, but sockets/RESTful, backend, de v ops, design, UI/UX/IA for companies such as startups and much larger companies like those mentioned…. it was great experience, and even I played the “escalating salary game for my experience”.

    I do and have done a lot of things in my life for that experience (back end, front end, full stack, icky frameworks I didn’t like (but did for the experience, and didn’t get the CS degree but had worked hard for the commercial art one (woah… it’s been 18 years already… a lifetime ago!) and built myself up from far lesser salaries not by complaining (I didn’t actually hold a degree!)—but by not believing my own hype… or even responding to these surveys like this. I remained humble and appreciative of the opportunities that did present me to that point… but alas it wasn’t feeding my soul, like maybe a lot of these guys.

    So I went back to my roots as an artist, and sold my home (was causing me stress and too much risk… like foreclosure, and was getting leads that would in face just turn out not having my back or best interests in mind), and decided “Phil, you can stop this game. Why aren’t you taking a risk and starting something you actually love doing, with the experience you already have?”

    It’s art, engineering, editorial, with just the right people with crazy talents… and does some really good karma for the world. It’s not paying me quite yet, but if for once in my professional life… I decided to not just believe in just chasing higher and higher salaries to validate my status, but in myself, and am using that experience for things that do feed me… more than just the immediate money itself. Emotionally first, and with a hope and belief in my self, feedback and support from my great friends, and just the right people to help… it’s starting to come together.

    Sometimes, and it’s not everyone’s mission, we realize if these other companies you’ve helped succeed… why not do the same for yourself? Investing in yourself doesn’t *always* equate to pure salary (while a site like dice definitely wants to help people with this… which is great!), but investing in your dreams (again, some people have different ones than I) hopefully, some day… pays me back.

    But for now, it already is.
    Believe in yourself, because when some (not all companies) believe in you… be proud and realize you’re doing something good. Could it be something better?

    Maybe. Maybe not. But there’s always the question of.. “what if?…”

    If you believe in something just strong enough. Do it. You can always come back, if in fact it doesn’t. But what if it does…?