Main image of article Why are Tech Pros So Unhappy with Their Pay?

Tech pros may make more than the national average, but a new study shows they might be less satisfied with their income than someone making $40,000 less per year.

Dipping into the Dice Salary Survey data, we see overall salary satisfaction is at 52 percent for those in tech. That 52 percent matches a low point set in 2014.

Furthermore, 63 percent of job seekers who anticipate moving jobs say they will do so for better pay, though only 60 percent report feeling confident they will be able to land a new role. Salary levels for tech pros have plateaued of late; the average salary is $92,712 annually, with very little movement since 2015.

Though Dice doesn’t measure salary satisfaction state-by-state, it does quantify income levels. Separately, Kununu has examined income and satisfaction by state, with some interesting returns.

Washington D.C. has the happiest earners. On a scale of 1-5 (‘1’ being totally dissatisfied with pay, ‘5’ being over the moon about their salary), it scored a 3.32, with an average income of $68,000. Minneapolis and Seattle each scored 3.21, with average annual incomes of $55,010 and $61,170, respectively.

San Francisco and Columbus, Ohio round out the top five. San Francisco had the highest income (naturally) with $69,110 annually, while Columbus ranked near the bottom with $48,850. The scores for those cities were 3.18 and 3.14, respectively.

When we examine both datasets, some interesting points surface. Dice may cobble San Francisco into ‘Silicon Valley,’ but the average income for tech pros is $114,654 – over $45,000 more than the average posited by Kununu. Washington D.C.’s average for tech pros is $99,937; that’s $31,000 better than the average.

Minneapolis? Tech pros make $41,000 above average there. In Seattle, tech pros rake $38,000 more. Dice doesn’t have Columbus specifically listed, but the data for Ohio shows tech pros make $83,354 on average, or $35,000 above the overall average.

According to Kununu, the national average for salary satisfaction is 3.11 on their 5-point scale, which averages to 62 percent. That’s a full ten points higher than Dice finds for tech pros, despite those in tech making resoundingly more money.

In the Venn diagram of job satisfaction/annual income/feeling appreciated, tech pros may just sit at the most narrow intersection of the three. Employers are also in a difficult position; as salaries for tech pros level off, they’re offering increased benefits, but that’s not improving employee happiness. Sadly, we don’t see this trend reversing any time soon.