Industry Insight

Rise in Tech Salaries, Increase Demand for Specialized Skills Among Employers

In addition to a rise in salaries in tech positions across the board by about 1.3%, the Dice 2020 Tech Salary Report showed local demand for technologists who specialize in specific platforms is on the rise.

The highest growth among salaries since 2018 has occurred among sales engineers (21%), technical recruiters (12%), data scientists(11.4%), security engineers (9.5%), and data engineers (9.3%), as demand for those positions has also increased. Skills related to protecting against data breeches, sifting through mines of data to translate how to grow companies, and app building are particularly in demand.

In San Diego – which experienced the highest number of local job postings in the state, a 37% jump over the previous year – an increase in hiring volume among employers like Intuit, Qualcomm, Booz Allen Hamilton, Northrop-Grumman, and General Atomics has primed the market.

Employees Want More Perks to Stay

Along with the growth in salary and record low unemployment in tech fields has also come more demand among employees for benefits outside of salary. The 2020 report revealed that issues related to work-life balance remained a key driver to keeping employees satisfied. 

“With the tech industry’s unemployment rate at historic lows, and many technologists expressing satisfaction with their current job, employers today will need to take a holistic approach to recruiting,” the Dice Report noted. “In addition to compensation and ‘traditional’ benefits such as healthcare and 401(k) match, employers should also consider that technologists are increasingly interested in emerging benefits such as college tuition reimbursement.”

While higher salaries remained the main reason among the report’s 12,000 respondents to want to leave a company (71%), benefits related to work/life balance (53%), an enjoyable work culture (48%), and remote work options (47%) kept employees satisfied.

Hiring Managers Want Specific Experience

On the employer side, companies have developed a sweet spot for talent with 3-5 years of experience, a category that saw the greatest growth in salary (7.2%). In 2019, the number of job postings targeted at that experience level rose by nearly 2%.

“At the same time, salaries decreased by 4% for technologists with less than one year of experience,” the report states. “In the past, desperate employers were willing to pay higher salaries to those with even minimal experience; today, however, the market has corrected itself and closed the salary gap between those with less than a year of experience and those with 1–2 years of experience.”

Remote Work a Challenge for All

The current pandemic work environment has posed a mixed bag in the realm of remote work, as it has demanded companies modify policies to account for flexible options employees have been wanting for years.

The report showed a resistance among employers to adopt remote work policies pre-pandemic due to perceived problems with communication and management. It states that “61% of survey respondents said that they wanted to work remotely at least half the time, but only 24% of them had the opportunity to do so. Even more, 16% of respondents said remote work isn’t even allowed at their company for their specific role.”

Since March 2020, that has obviously changed. In addition to COVID paving the way for additional remote work options, it’s also accounted for greater flexibility in hours and conditions. Leadership in human resources has helped foster greater autonomy among employees and a less hands-on approach, contributing to overall greater employee well-being.

Overall, the salary survey shows some positive news for talent in San Diego, especially those with specialized skills in emerging areas. The low unemployment coupled with greater desire among employees to stay put has also created a need for employers to do more on their part to keep them.

Our Latest Industry Insights