Average tech salaries rose 3.6% in 2020 amid COVID-19 pandemic

For job seekers looking to earn top dollars for their work, the fastest-growing pay bumps aren’t found in Silicon Valley anymore, says Dice.


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Tech job website Dice has released the latest version of its Tech Salary Report for 2021, with findings including average salaries rising by 3.6% in 2020 despite COVID-19, and Texas continuing to steal some Silicon Valley thunder as the hottest new place for tech companies. 

The data compiled by Dice comes from over 9,000 surveys from job seekers, as well as job postings, and found out a lot about how job seekers were feeling in 2020 as well. Forty-six percent of respondents said they felt underpaid, while at the same time 56% said they were somewhat or very satisfied with their salary, leading Dice to believe that COVID-19 has led to workers lowering their expectations. 

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

“If [lowered expectations are] the case, those same technologists may become less satisfied with their compensation once they feel the broader economy has stabilized—which may, in turn, leave them hungrier for larger salaries, raises, and bonuses in 2021 and beyond,” the report said. 

Fifty-two percent of respondents also report having received a raise in the past year, mostly due to cost-of-living increases, merit raises, new roles, and employment changes. Only 13% reported a decrease in earnings, mostly due to a change in employer, a layoff or a companywide mandated pay decrease. Again, Dice speculates that workers were willing to take what they could get in 2020, but ” that will surely change going forward, given increasing demand and optimism for an economic recovery beginning in 2021.”

In terms of benefits, remote work options that are likely to become the norm weren’t very important, with only 16% saying it’s one of their top two priorities when looking at employment options. The overwhelming majority (80%) said health insurance was their most-wanted benefit, followed by paid vacation days, which were ranked as the most important benefit by 41% of job seekers. 

For job seekers looking to earn top dollars for their work, the fastest growing salaries aren’t found in Silicon Valley anymore. Instead, Charlotte, North Carolina, tops the list, with an average of 13.8% salary growth in 2020. Orlando, Florida, followed with 13.4% growth, New York City with 11.6%, and Austin, Texas, with 9.7%. 

Those looking for the most money will find the highest average salary in a surprising place: New Jersey, which beat out California by a mere $5 to rank No. 1. Despite growth that Dice said could put it on the scale of California for being a tech hub, Texas doesn’t even come close to matching New Jersey or California: Compared to the $111,233 salary average in New Jersey, Texan tech professionals were only earning an average of $97,224 in 2020.

SEE: Tableau business analytics: Tips and tricks (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Finally, there are the tech occupations with the fastest salary growth: Unsurprisingly, cybersecurity analysts top the list with a salary growth rate of 16.3% in 2020, followed by data scientists (12.8% growth), DevOps engineers (12.2% growth), and Tech support engineers (8.2% growth). Those positions may be seeing the fastest salary growth, but not necessarily the top earnings: Those rights are reserved for IT management, systems architects, cloud engineers and cybersecurity engineers. 

This only scratches the surface of the 36-page report. Tech leaders who want to know more about attracting top talent, and job seekers trying to find the best jobs in the best places should be sure to read the full report at Dice.

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