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Tech Salaries Plateau in 2023, 93% of Tech Professionals Open to New Opportunities

Digital Transformation

In a year characterized by ups and downs for those in tech, one thing remained flat in 2023: the average salary for technology professionals. In its 19th annual Tech Salary Report, tech career marketplace Dice reports an average tech salary of $111,193 in 2023 (compared to $111,348 in 2022).

“This plateau in salary growth represents a correction more than a red flag, especially given the huge surge we saw in compensation coming out of the pandemic,” says Dice CEO Art Zeile. “Most companies are being very cautious about expenses in general, and most companies’ business model revolves around people. So, when they think about managing their expenses carefully, it means managing what they’re doing to compensate their people; but compensation is just one component of an employment contract. Benefits are another component technology professionals prioritize, as are the ability to work from home and flexibility in general.”

Most Tech Professionals Are Interested in Change

Another key finding in this year’s Tech Salary Report is that 93% of employed technology professionals are either looking for a new job or willing to hear about a relevant new opportunity.

That is likely driven by a decline in salary satisfaction: In 2022, 30% of tech professionals were dissatisfied with their salaries, and that rose to 35% in 2023. Not surprising, considering the percentage of tech professionals who reported their salaries had decreased in 2023: 12%, double the percentage who reported a decrease in 2022 (6%).

Dice predicts that 2024 will be a year of significant turnover as tech professionals entertain new roles, especially ones in non-tech industries that may provide more stability and security. The aerospace and defense industry had the highest average salary for tech professionals in 2023 ($130,574), along with the second-fastest salary growth rate (7.4%).

Rounding out the top five industries for highest average tech salary were:

2. Software ($130,559)
3. Medical / Pharmaceutical / Biotechnology ($128,141)
4. Banking / Finance ($126,226)
5. Consulting ($125,160)

For recruiters outside the tech industry who are responsible for attracting and hiring skilled tech talent, now is the time to source and land the talent they’ve been seeking for years.

Tech Leaders Aren’t the Only Workers With High Salary Growth

As with previous years, companies are still willing to pay top dollar to tech professionals who can use their combination of technical and soft skills to guide teams in driving significant change: CEO / CIO / CTO positions, as well as solutions architects, principal software engineers and program analysts.

While these positions command the highest tech salaries, they weren’t necessarily the ones that saw the most growth in 2023. The roles with the fastest growth in salary were:

1. Systems Administrator (+11.2%)
2. Software Developer (+6.5%)
3. Program Analyst / Manager (+6.1%)
T4. Help Desk Technician / Computer or Desktop Support Specialist (+4.8%)
T4. .NET Developer (+4.8%)

Help desk technicians have seen significant salary increases in the past two years (+6.9% in 2022, and then another 4.8% in 2023), likely due to the re-emergence of in-office work after the pandemic. While the average salary of $58,549 is well below the overall average tech salary, these employees are critical in solving problems for remote, hybrid and full-time office workers.

Mastering Key Competencies Elevates Tech Professionals’ Opportunities

Over the past few years, Dice has repeatedly seen data-related skills top the estimations of salary and demand; from small businesses to large enterprises, there’s a rising awareness that data means the difference between failure and market-beating success.

The top-paying skill for technology professionals in 2023 was Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), with an average salary of $137,917. However, that was a decrease of 3.4% from 2022. Skills that did have year-over-year salary growth include VSAM (+9.6%), Parallels (+9.1%), SQLite (+8.9%), MS Dynamics (+7.0%) and VoIP (+6.7%).

For technology professionals who want more opportunities and even a measure of job security, mastering complex skills — and keeping them up to date — can be leveraged for more advanced roles and higher salaries.

Strategic Perks Bridge Gaps in Tech Talent Retention

Health insurance, paid vacation, and 401(k) matching or a pension top the list of must-have benefits for technology professionals; unsurprisingly, remote and flexible schedule options are also high priority. These benefits should be a key part of company packages if they want to be successful in filling their open tech roles.

Secondary benefits don’t hold as much importance, but they do offer companies who can’t compete on salary a strategic way to differentiate themselves. While they don’t rank as high as the key benefits previously mentioned, Dice data shows offerings such as stock programs, work-from-home stipends, wellness programs and fitness reimbursements have continued to grow in popularity in the past few years.

These secondary benefits are also areas where Dice has found the largest gaps in what benefits employees want versus what benefits employees have. For example:

  • Work-from-home stipend: 53% of tech professionals consider it important, but only 19% of employers offer it.
  • Stock programs: 54% of tech professionals consider it important, but only 25% of employers offer it.
  • Training and education: 67% of tech professionals consider it important, but only 43% of employers offer it.

“There’s no question that, in 2023, we saw the advent of generative AI. What companies should be thinking about in terms of benefits is helping their technology workforce to have the relevant skills — skills associated with data science, artificial intelligence, generative AI — for the future,” Zeile says. “Most non-tech companies are focused on their primary occupational cohort. If you’re working for a healthcare company, they are focused on doctors and nurses, as opposed to the technology workers and their distinct needs. But most technology workers think about their careers as being an accumulation of the right tech skills to be relevant in the future, so the best thing those companies can do is focus on training and education as a benefit to attract and retain tech professionals.”

2024 is a Year for Opportunity and Adaptation

Despite initial setbacks in tech, a recession was averted in 2023 and tech unemployment remained low, indicating continued demand for skilled professionals. As we navigate the dynamic landscape of tech in 2024, both tech professionals and employers must adapt to seize emerging opportunities.

One of those large opportunities is artificial intelligence. The continued importance of AI will fundamentally change how most tech professionals do their jobs, automating many processes and even creating new positions, such as chatbot building and prompt engineering. However, these tech professionals will need to embrace cutting-edge technologies and continue to upgrade their skillsets to stay relevant and command increasingly higher pay.

In a year poised for economic and technological advancement, the Dice Tech Salary Report is a comprehensive analysis of salary trends, benefit differentiators and regional shifts that equips tech professionals and the companies who rely on them with the insights needed to thrive in the ever-evolving world of tech.

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