Main image of article What Would Drive Tech Pros to Take a Pay Cut?

For many tech professionals, money isn’t everything: non-monetary benefits like flexible schedules and work-life balance can matter just as much.

Blind, which regularly surveys anonymous technology professionals on a range of issues, recently queried its audience about their salary expectations and career needs. The key takeaway from its report: tech pros—particularly software engineers—are lowering their salary expectations in the face of economic uncertainty and layoffs, but they still want their employers to provide other perks and benefits.

Mid-level engineers are reducing their salary requirements more significantly than their entry- and senior-level peers, likely due to an oversupply of mid-level talent in the current market,” the report added. “Engineers in top tech hubs earn higher salaries than those in other metros, but their salary expectations have fallen more significantly.” In this new environment, some 56 percent of tech pros are open to accepting equal or even less pay in a new role, “provided the role fulfills another unmet need.”

What are some of those “unmet needs”? The job market is the leading reason in Blind’s survey, at 45 percent—if companies across the nation cut back on hiring due to widespread economic uncertainty, candidates simply need a job, and they lose a certain amount of leverage in negotiations over salary and other points. Tech pros would also accept cuts for a great company culture, the opportunity for career growth, and the chance at remote and hybrid work.

“I’d rather make less money and be happier,” one anonymous Meta employee told Blind.

Fortunately, tech pros with the right mix of skills and experience nearly always have the leverage to negotiate for what they want, even in a tough job market. The trick is to figure out your messaging before your interview—how can you best convey your potential value to an organization? Once you reach the negotiation stage, there are also some tactics you can employ to maximize your potential pay, even if you’re bouncing back from a recent layoff.

While not all employers are willing to negotiate for more pay, many are amenable to discussing added benefits and perks, especially those that increase your value as an employee. For instance, asking your manager to pay for additional classes and training will often yield results.