In an ideal world, all technologists would see their salaries rise consistently every year. However, 2020 was quite an unusual year, to put it mildly. Some businesses had to tighten their budgets in order to navigate uncertain economic waters, delaying technologists’ raises in the process.
As detailed in the latest Dice Salary Report, only 52 percent of technologists received a year-over-year increase in salary in 2020. Meanwhile, roughly a third (35 percent) saw no year-over-year change in salary, and 13 percent endured a salary decrease—higher percentages, in both cases, than 2019. In other words, it wasn’t the best time for technologists hoping for a pay jump.
Among those technologists who enjoyed a raise in 2020, the primary reasons for that salary growth included merit increases, a change in employers, internal promotions/new roles or a cost-of-living bump. Counteroffers didn’t seem to help many technologists boost their salary; neither did working substantially more hours. Check out the overall chart, which features 14 reasons why technologists saw their salaries go up:
For those who saw their salaries decrease, the top reasons included changing employers, layoffs, or a company-mandated pay cut. As mentioned above, the lattermost was almost certainly due to companies temporarily tightening their budgets in order to survive the pandemic; as markets continue to stabilize, those salaries may revert to their old levels (if not increase). The same can be said for many of those whose salaries remained flat, as a significant number (40 percent) of technologists whose salary stayed the same between 2019 and 2020 reported that a potential salary increase was put on hold due to pandemic-related factors.
The overwhelming majority of technologists (82 percent) expect their most recent salary adjustment to be permanent. For those interested in growing their salary in 2021 and beyond, it’s clear from this data that merit raises and jumping jobs are consistently excellent ways to do so. Either of those options depends heavily on skills and experience, especially if technologists specialize in a “hot” sub-industry such as machine learning or artificial intelligence.
Although the data suggests to some extent that technologists were willing to take what they could get this year, that will surely change going forward given increasing demand and optimism for an economic recovery beginning in 2021.
Want to know more about compensation within the tech industry? Check out the full Dice 2021 Tech Salary Report for all the latest insights into technologists’ compensation, from the best-paying cities and skills to the most-desired benefits.