Main image of article Silicon Valley Salaries Crack Six-Figure Mark for First Time in Decade

The Golden State is living up to its name and high tech and engineering-related professionals are cashing in. The Dice Annual Salary Survey found Silicon Valley-based tech workers received a five percent year-to-year increase on average from $99,028 to $104,195 – cracking six-figures for the first time since the survey began about a decade ago.

The results underscore the strong hiring environment for tech talent in the Valley.  Melisa Bockrath, VP, Americas Product Group, IT at Kelly Services noted “you can really feel the shortage of talent” in the U.S. tech capital.  “Over the last two quarters, we’ve really seen an increase in demand and that is being exacerbated by a decrease in supply of talent.  Companies are trying to get more creative in the ways they attract individuals,” said Ms. Bockrath.

That includes relocating candidates from other regions.  “Texas” is an area where Jeff Winter, founder and CEO of Gravity People, a San Francisco-based recruiting firm, has seen client companies pull candidates from.  “Eugene, Oregon,” added Ms. Bockrath, where they have started recruiting mobile application developers – a skill-set that is in short supply.

Companies are stepping up to the plate with other incentives as well.  Bonuses are both fatter and more frequent in Silicon Valley – with 38 percent of tech professionals receiving bonuses at an average of $12,450.   That compares to 35 percent and $11,050 from the year prior.

“Where I’m seeing inducement is creative, competitive offer perks such as pay-outs on year-end bonuses, so candidate aren’t really leaving any money on the table if they leave their current company,” said Mr. Winter.  “Other incentives are higher sign-on bonuses and options or restricted stock units.”

The increase in compensation is paying off in terms of satisfaction.  Nearly six out of ten (57%) of Silicon Valley-based tech professionals were happy with their compensation, up from 52 percent a year ago.  However, employers cannot be sanguine related to retaining talent.  More than one-third of Valley respondents (37%) anticipated earning more money by changing employers in the year ahead.

“Those who are looking for new employment typically have multiple offers to choose from,” added Ms. Bockrath.  “There is increased opportunity for those who are willing to switch.”

Asked to identify the biggest concern about their careers, 20 percent of Silicon Valley tech pros answered “keeping my skills up to date and being valuable to my employer.” That answer was not only the most popular, but it jumped a notable seven percentage points year/year.

“I just make sure I'm doing work that is interesting and allows me to learn on the fly,” said James Burgess, a Silicon Valley-based consultant. “The biggest thing is to make sure that what I’m the best at, skills-wise, is what tech companies need.”

And Silicon Valley employers are taking note. When asked to identify the primary motivating factor provided by their employers in the past year, 23 percent of Silicon Valley tech workers said “more interesting or challenging assignments” – as compared to the 17 percent of employees who said “more compensation.”

That’s inline with research from Kelly Services – “Tech professionals want to work on the latest and greatest technologies.  They want their companies to reinvest in them to skill them up on the newest technologies,” said Ms. Bockrath.

“Those who were actually considering leaving their employers was because they didn’t see career growth.”