Report: After slow growth, tech salaries jumped in 2015

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You may not have necessarily noticed it, but according to Dice.com, salaries for IT pros had one of their best years yet in 2015. 

The average salary approached six figures for tech professionals, according to the tech jobs firm. Dice said the average $96,370. It also represents a 7.7% raise from the previous year.

For reference, other recent salary changes were:

  • 1.9% in 2014
  • 2.6% in 2013
  • 5.3% in 2012, and
  • 2.4% in 2011.

Not all affected equally

So why is it that this salary bump isn’t perceptible to many in the field? For some IT pros, it wasn’t offered by their own employer.

While the top reason for salary increase in 2015 was raises (38%) and a fair number saw an internal promotion (10%), but for nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) the increased salary came as a result of changing jobs.

And it appears that lots of those moves were in entry-level positions: IT pros with one to two years of experience saw a 24.3% year-over-year increase in salary.

Higher salaries or new jobs?

So what seems to be good news – an overall rise in salary – may actually be bad for IT management. It means that techs are looking to move into new positions, and may be rewarded handsomely for doing so.

Consider that 39% of survey respondents said they were anticipating changing jobs in 2016. And of those, 65% cited  a higher salary as the impetus for the change.

So what we’re left with is a competitive market where the talent (and especially young talent) holds a lot of power and is willing to move on if they’re not offered competitive perks.

For what it’s worth, most companies seem to realize that. Dice found 67% of the employers represented in the study offered motivators to retain talent. That’s up from just 53% in 2009.

Money may not be the very best motivator. But it is a strong tool for retention.

Still, there are other ways to hold on to your best tech talent. First, know what your employees value. For 13% of those surveyed by Dice, telecommuting and flexible work locations were the best motivator offered by the employer. For 9% it was flexible work hours.

Those benefits are slightly more manageable now than they were just a few years ago. But it may not work for every organization.

Other motivators to consider:

  • education or certificate program opportunities
  • the opportunity to try new things or head new programs
  • outlining career paths that could be opening within the company, and
  • promotions or job title changes.

Of course these are perks – and won’t change anyone’s mind if the salaries aren’t fair.

In that case, you’ll just have to grin and bear it, and get ready for massive turnover, especially of younger employees.

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