NEW YORK, Jan. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Technology salaries in the U.S. saw the biggest jump in more than a decade, according to the 2013-2012 Salary Survey from Dice, the leading career site for technology and engineer professionals. Tech professionals earned a greater than five percent increase in average annual wages to $85,619, up from $81,327 in 2011.
The increase in wages comes at a time when the vast majority of tech professionals (64%) are confident they could find a favorable new position in 2013 and when employers are stepping up to the plate to retain and motivate staff with more interesting or challenging assignments, increased compensation and the ability to telecommute, according to respondents.
"Employers are recognizing and adjusting to the reality of a tight market," said Scot Melland, Chairman, President and CEO of Dice Holdings, Inc. "The fact is you either pay to recruit or pay to retain and these days, at least for technology teams, companies are doing both."
When asked the primary reason for changes in compensation, 36 percent of technology professionals tagged company actions, like merit or company-wide raises and internal promotions, as the root cause. Meanwhile, another 19 percent of respondents changed jobs during the year which brought a salary increase along with the move.
After a considerable jump last year in both size and frequency, average bonuses were down a touch to $8,636 from $8,769 in the previous year; however, slightly more tech professionals 33 percent vs. 32 percent received the extra payout in 2012.
"In the early stages of the recovery, companies were staying flexible by using performance pay to reward their top performers," added Mr. Melland. "Now, companies are writing the checks that will stick. With a 3.8 percent tech unemployment rate, no one wants to lose talent."
In fact, tech professionals just starting out, those with two years or less experience, earned their first year/year increase (8%) to $46,315 in three years. And, there was a milestone at the other end of the spectrum. Average salaries for tech professionals with at least 15 years of experience topped six-figures for the first time, growing four percent year/year to $103,012.
While Silicon Valley is still the only market were tech professionals average six-figure salaries ($101,278), seven markets saw double-digit increases in average tech salaries year/year - the most ever registered by the Dice Salary Survey.
Leading the surge with an 18 percent year/year increase to $76,207 are Pittsburgh-based tech professionals, followed by San Diego ($97,328) and St. Louis ($81,245) each garnering 13 percent year/year increases. Phoenix ($83,607) and Cleveland ($75,773) had strong gains, up 12 and 11 percent year/year, respectively. Rounding out the double-digit debuts is Orlando ($81,583) and Milwaukee ($81,670), both up roughly 10 percent year/year.
"This recovery has been particularly hard for employers in non-traditional tech markets if they want to grow their staff," said Mr. Melland. "With mobility down, the pool of available talent isn't as deep which pushes salaries up and makes companies scramble to come up with creative solutions."
The top 10 market with the greatest year/year increase: Boston, up seven percent to $94,742. That just edged out Atlanta where tech salaries average $87,556 and Los Angeles with a six percent gain to $92,498.
For additional market information, an interactive map of average U.S. tech salaries for the 48 continuous states and key metropolitan areas is provided on Dice.
"Mad Skills, More Money"
Out of the big three, mobile, cloud and data, there's one that is having a disproportionate impact on salaries – it's big data. Salaries reported by those who regularly use Hadoop, NoSQL, and Mongo DB are all north of $100,000. By comparison, average salaries for technologies closely associated with cloud and virtualization are just under $90,000 and mobile salaries are closer to $80,000.
"We've heard it's a fad, heard it's hyped and heard it's fleeting, yet it's clear that data professionals are in demand and well paid," said Alice Hill, Managing Director of Dice.com. "Tech professionals who analyze large data streams and strategically impact the overall business goals of a firm have an opportunity to write their own ticket. The message to employers? If you have a talented data team, hold on tight or learn the consequences of a lift-out."
Dice Salary Survey Methodology
The Dice Salary Survey was administered online with 15,049 employed technology professionals responding between September 24 and November 16, 2012. Respondents were invited to participate in the survey through a notification on the Dice site, and registered technology professionals were sent an email invitation. A cookie methodology was used to ensure that there was no duplication of responses between or within the various sample groups, and duplicate responses from a single email address were removed.
Dice, a Dice Holdings, Inc. service, is the leading career site for technology and engineering professionals. With a 22-year track record of meeting the ever-changing needs of technology professionals, companies and recruiters, our specialty focus and exposure to highly skilled professional communities enable employers to reach hard-to-find, experienced and qualified technology and engineering candidates. www.Dice.com
Jennifer Bewley, Rachel Ceccarelli or Deirdre Hughes