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Although tech-industry unemployment remains low, and salaries for specialized skills such as artificial intelligence (A.I.) have risen to stratospheric heights, salaries as a whole for tech professionals in the U.S. were flat, according to the latest Dice Salary Survey. Tech pros’ average annual pay hit $93,244, a very slight 0.6 percent increase from 2017. In some states with major tech hubs, such as California, the pay was even higher. Certain tech skills have traditionally earned their practitioners much more than the average, as this chart from a few years ago demonstrates: There’s a perception that the technology field is loaded up with outsized compensation and lavish perks, but that's not always true. However, salaries for skills where employers have to compete for a limited supply are always at a premium. That's why a specialist in something like machine learning can take home higher pay than a professional football player, but a JavaScript programmer might be angry over the salaries offered from local firms. Remember, the tech unemployment rate remains stunningly low, which continues to have an unusual and outsized effect on industry talent. In a bid to attract top talent, employers continue to focus on perks and benefits such as flexible work hours, additional vacation time, and the option to work from home. While just over half of companies offered those benefits in 2009, nearly three-quarters do so today. That further emphasizes how firms can’t just throw money at specialized tech pros and expect to land the talent they need; employees care deeply about things like work-life balance and workplace culture, no matter what decade it is. High demand also means that many tech pros who are currently employed will spend this year exploring whether other companies can offer them a better deal, especially when it comes to benefits and perks. That will add an additional element of uncertainty (and cost) to employers’ hiring calculations throughout the year.