There’s never been a better time to negotiate for a higher salary and other kinds of compensation. The notably low tech unemployment rate (1.7 percent in January) means employers are hungry to find (and retain) all kinds of technologists—even if it means paying a significant salary premium.
Technologists have three prime opportunities to negotiate higher compensation: when they take a new job with a new company, when they assume a new job with their current company, or during a review for a merit increase or cost-of-living adjustment. As part of Dice’s latest Tech Salary Report, we asked technologists if they found themselves in any of these situations in 2021 and, if so, whether they negotiated their salary. The results did not differ from trends we’ve seen in previous years.
Of the technologists surveyed, 48 percent negotiated their salary for a new job at a new company, 30 percent negotiated their salary for a new job at their current company and 26 percent negotiated a salary increase during a salary review in their current job. Take a look at the full chart:
For many technologists, 2020 was a difficult year to feel confident about negotiating a higher salary, thanks to the economy in flux and layoffs looming. Many technologists were likely feeling grateful to have a job at all. But as businesses picked back up in 2021, technologists became more comfortable about negotiating salary increases that represented their value to the organization. With employers hungry for technologists with skills and experience, opportunities for negotiation and salary increases will likely continue into the future.
Before you negotiate, it’s key to do a self-assessment. Sit down and list your “professional assets,” including your achievements (both in your current and previous jobs), skills, experience, and your professional network. You may also want to tally up any “professional liabilities,” which could include failed projects or anything else negative that might pop up during a compensation negotiation.
Once you’ve done that, research the average salary for your position. Dice’s Tech Salary Report can help with that. Keep in mind that even if you’re making more than the average salary for your role, you can still negotiate for far more depending on your experience and specialized skills.
When you actually sit down with your manager, remember to explain how your unique mix of skills, experience, connections, and other assets all combine to make you an incredibly effective player within the organization. It’s important to emphasize what you contribute to strategic goals and the bottom line, and how that’s worth more.
Last but certainly not least, be prepared to negotiate. Your manager might not offer you as much cash as you want, but they might be a little more flexible about benefits and perks you desire, such as a flexible schedule or stock options. Be prepared to discuss things other than money.