2018 State of Salaries Report

Data reveals where techies get paid most and the skills that get them there

What you need to know

Don’t have time to read the full report? Here are some key findings you can’t afford to miss:

Overview

Hired is back for year three of the annual State of Salaries report — and, once again, results reveal that tech is booming. We looked through our 2017 data on technology workers, including software engineers, designers, product managers, and data analytics roles, to help answer the workplace questions on everyone’s minds: How does my salary stack up against my coworkers'? Would my salary go further if I relocated? Which industries and companies are paying the most? What impact do race and age have on my pay?

Because our data is based on real people considering real job offers made by real companies, we are uniquely qualified to speak to the top salary trends in 2017. Hired facilitates the job searching process from the initial interview request all the way to the final job offer, so we have unprecedented visibility into anonymized data on salaries across a variety of positions and companies. This year, we also surveyed tech candidates on their overall financial health and work-life balance, which adds further insight to our proprietary findings. We share this report to not only help companies make informed hiring decisions, but also to help tech workers find a position they like in a city they love at a salary they deserve. Here’s the breakdown on the state of tech salaries in 2017.

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Watch out, San Francisco—

Austin, LA, & DC are upping their game

With companies like Tesla, Google, and Facebook calling Silicon Valley home, it’s no surprise that the Bay Area is considered the tech capital of the world. What is a surprise, however, are the cities that are rising to compete with the high salaries offered in the Bay Area. The average Austin tech worker made 7% more in 2017 than they did in 2016 — and tech workers in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, aren't far behind, making 6% more in 2017. These salaries have grown faster than the average rate of 5%, where the global average salary for tech workers now sits at $135K.

The stereotypes around tech workers aren’t always accurate, either. We’ve all heard the stories about software engineers sacrificing salary for equity because they’re willing to take a bet on a startup that has the potential to grow. But our data shows that’s not necessarily the case: less than 20% of the tech workers we surveyed have accepted more equity for lower pay.

Across the pond, however, tech salaries in the UK continue to lag — and have become less competitive globally. In London, the average salary for tech workers has dropped over 17% (GBP) since 2015; and in 2017, London companies were 7% less interested in hiring candidates from outside the UK.

Note that in this report, the definition of “tech workers” refers to software engineers, designers, product managers, and data analytics roles.


2017 Average Tech Worker Salary

Map of average tech worker salary

Want to live where your salary goes further?

Austin and Seattle are calling your name

Despite the fact that the Bay Area offers the highest salaries for tech workers, job candidates are beginning to notice the perks of living and working in other cities. To see how other cities fare in a cost of living comparison, we asked, “If every city had the same cost of living as San Francisco, how much would tech workers’ salaries be worth?”

Once again, Austin tops the list at an adjusted salary of $202K, meaning Austin tech workers would need an $84K raise to maintain their current standard of living in San Francisco. Seattle and Los Angeles tie for second place at $182K. Tech workers are noticing the benefits of living and working in those cities, too: When we surveyed our users, Seattle and Austin came out on top of the list of places they’d relocate. Speaking of relocation — candidates willing to relocate to London are offered a nice bonus, making nearly $17K (over £12K) more than local candidates. The tech landscape is changing and although Silicon Valley still leads the way, other cities have plenty of perks to offer.


Average Tech Salary: Adjusted for SF Cost of Living

Map of average tech salaries adjusted for SF cost of living

With both salaries and cost of living higher in San Francisco than in most global cities, we looked at each city’s average tech salary and compared it to the cost of living in San Francisco. This shows, for example, that by scaling the cost of living in Chicago to match that of San Francisco, a Chicago tech worker would be making over $173K per year on average.


By the Numbers:
Looking Elsewhere

Given the cost of living in your current city, do you think you’re compensated fairly?
Pie chart of whether people think they are fairly compensated
Which city tops your list of places to relocate?

By the Numbers: Work vs. Play

How many hours do you work per week?
Bar graph of how many hours people work per week
How many vacation days did you take last year?
Bar graph of how many vacation days people take annually
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The high road

Transportation technology companies pay tech workers the most

To better understand what types of companies offer the most competitive salaries to tech workers, we broke down offers on the platform by industry. Surprisingly, we found that specifically transportation technology companies offer an average of nearly $20K more to tech workers than technology companies.


Average Tech Worker Salary by Industry

Transportation icon
Transportation
$145K
Education icon
Education
$135K
Communications icon
Communications
$133K
Retail icon
Retail
$126K
Tech icon
Technology
$126K
Entertainment icon
Entertainment
$118K
Health icon
Healthcare
$115K
Finance icon
Financial Services
$111K

Follow the money

Techies in product management earn the most

Every business needs a digital presence to compete in today's market, and tech workers are in high demand because of it. Aside from a slight salary dip for data analytics roles in 2016, salary offers for every role on our platform have continually increased since 2015. While average salary offers continue to rise, not all skillsets are created equal. Product management roles were offered the most on average, while JavaScript, Java, and Python are the most in-demand skills. Designers saw the largest jump in average salaries between 2016 and 2017 (8%), but still earn about $8K less than the average tech worker.

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Black tech workers are shortchanged

White tech workers ask for and receive the most

At Hired, we believe that transparency at all levels of the hiring and compensation process can level the playing field and create a more equitable workforce. We collect voluntary demographic data from candidates on our platform, allowing us to explore how a candidate’s identity affects the wages they ask for and receive.

This year, our data revealed a far too familiar story. White candidates on our platform ask for the highest preferred salaries in the US and receive them; the average white candidate in the US asks for a preferred salary of $130K and ultimately receives an average offer of $136K. Black and Hispanic candidates on the platform set their preferred salaries lowest ($124K), but black candidates ultimately receive the lowest average salaries ($130K).

Notably, this is the first year that we’ve looked specifically at candidates who self-identify as multiracial. We found that these candidates both ask for and receive lower salaries ($123K; $128K) than candidates who identified with only one racial identity. The data gives us a glimpse into the complexity at work for those who identify as multiracial.


Average Preferred Salaries and Salary Offers by Race

Bar chart of average salaries by race

Young job candidates ask for less than they’re offered

Then it flips

Call it lack of negotiating experience or eagerness to accept a job offer — but this year’s data reveals that younger candidates undervalue their market worth. We found that job candidates between 20 and 34 ask for significantly lower salaries than what they’re ultimately offered. This pattern flips at 35, when tech candidates begin to receive offers lower than the salaries they requested.

Average salaries also follow a clear arc, and mid-career is the sweet spot for the highest earnings. Salaries for tech workers peak in their mid-40s at $151K where subsequent offers then decline and hover at $150K or less until retirement. Despite these differences, we found that tech workers have one thing in common — lack of savings. Nearly 40% of survey respondents are saving less than 10% of their income, despite today’s widely accepted advice to put at least 20% toward retirement.


Average Preferred Salaries and Salary Offers by Age

Bar chart of Average Salaries by Age
Bar chart of Average Salaries by Age
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Conclusion

Honest discussions about salaries have long been taboo in the workplace. At Hired, we believe the future is full salary transparency. Knowledge empowers and liberates candidates and companies to achieve their goals, and that’s why we’ve made a commitment to release regular data reports to arm people with the information they need to make some of the most important decisions of their lives.

This year’s report uncovered promising trends for the tech industry and economy at large, but our data also revealed a story of inequality: black tech workers are offered $6K less on average than their white counterparts.

We hope this report can be a starting point for larger discussions and we remain committed to highlighting and quantifying the ever-changing state of salaries in tech.

Methodology

This report is based on proprietary information gathered and analyzed by Hired’s data science team. For the purpose of this report, we focused on technology workers in 13 cities. The salaries included reflect more than 420,000 interview requests and job offers from the past year facilitated through our marketplace of more than 10,000 participating companies and 69,000 job seekers. Age and race data was collected through an optional demographics survey given to Hired candidates that is used only for aggregated research purposes and not shared with Hired clients. Where numbers have been adjusted to reflect cost of living in a given market, we used data from the site Numbeo, which factors in data such as rent and real estate prices, groceries, transportation, utilities, local taxes, and more.

In addition to our proprietary data, we collected survey responses from more than 700 tech workers on the Hired platform to inform our understanding of how salaries and cost of living affect workers’ decision making and satisfaction.

About Hired

Hired (hired.com) is a marketplace that matches tech talent with the world’s most innovative companies. Hired combines intelligent job matching with unbiased career counseling to help people find a job they love. Through Hired, job candidates and companies have transparency into salary offers, competing opportunities and job details. This level of insight is unmatched, making the recruiting process quicker and more efficient than ever before.

Hired was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in the United States, Canada, France, and the UK. For more information, news, and tips for job candidates and employers, visit Hired’s blog.