Survey: Silicon Valley tops average tech-worker pay, which is up

Silicon Valley again led the way as tech-industry salaries continued to rise in 2013, according to a report by Dice, a tech-career site.

The survey says the average tech-professional salary in the United States rose almost 3 percent to $87,811 last year, boosted by raises and bonuses. In Silicon Valley, the average was $108,603, a 7.2 percent bump from the 2012 average of $101,278. In the must-be-nice catergory, the average bonus for tech workers in the valley last year was $12,458.

Valley tech professionals have seen average salaries go up 11.7 percent in the past five years. Silicon Valley has been the highest-paid market since Dice first published the salary survey in 2002 (with 2001 numbers), according to a spokeswoman.

The only metro area that saw a higher percentage increase last year was Philadelphia, which saw an 8 percent rise to an average of $92,138. The second-highest average salary was in $97,588 in Baltimore/Washington, D.C.; that number was basically unchanged from 2012. Dice has a map with more detailed regional information.

Dice’s survey also said Big Data means big pay, with most of the top salaries going to employees with big-data-related skills: “Companies are betting big that harnessing data can play a major role in their competitive plans and that is leading to high pay for critical skills,” said Shravan Goli, Dice president, in a press release.

The Dice survey is based on responses from more than 17.000 tech workers from Oct. 14 to Nov. 29.


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  • disqus_KpaYWjhZDb

    I am in the Information Technology (IT) field. All of the IT jobs these days are going to east-Indians from India here in the US on H1B visas. I am absolutely stunned that they want to triple the number of these H1B visas. This would be the death knell of any American in the IT field. Why would any American even bother majoring in MIS or Computer Science? The ‘skills shortage’ myth has been debunked by several recent studies. Suckerberg and his ilk just want Indian slaves to replace their American workforce with. IT jobs are not going to US citizens. For the love of God and country, can we please end the H1B visa program?

    • whatdoyouknow

      a very ethnocentric comment. im not saying you have it all wrong, because you are entitled to your opinion. but this comment could have been posted by a 12 year old who heard the neighbours talk about the immigration reform. forgot about businesses/companies that are owned/ran by foreigners? who there is a big chance once were on a work visa..havent they created employment opportunities, paid taxes, made the US a little diverse and interesting as well? how about let everyone apply for the job, interview who fits best the requirements and then offer the job to who is the best canditate without priorly asking if they need a work visa or not? would this avoid biased job placements? instead of saying “DO NOT HIRE FOREIGNERS/STOP THE H1B. dont be so shallow and look at statistics. it is not the h1b affecting unemployment, there are only 85k visas given a year, a very irrelevant number to the problems.

      • Butch Martin

        Bull Schmidt
        I personaaly watched new H1B directors and VPs hire only their own blood. CHNESE AND Indian. I walked by interviews where they spoke their native language and lasted 45 minutes I watched Caucasians being interviewed , in English with ten minutes max interview time I worked for or inherited these guys this High tech company become totally asian. MANY COULD NOT c ommunicate in written English Then we began to have a Chinese/Indian political civil war.

        • whatdoyouknow

          i wont disagree with you, it is absolutely possible what you said. however, the issue with large number of H1Bs given to indians and chinese is a problem we are all facing (especially with many of the visas going to indians)..a country cap would help resolve these issues on both ends. us, the rest of foreigners who are not indian, would have a better chance..and a monopoly of indian and chinese companies (keep in mind a lot of this are scam consulting firms) messing up the job market. abolishing the H1B would have a huge negative impact on economy and on top of that on how america is seen from the rest of the world (even though you might not care what others think)

          • Butch Martin

            Reverse discrimination——Their salaries . investment, retirement incomes do not stay here.Never saw them in US Military uniform , My great grand parsnts acclimated as quick as possible. No desire to become american now that it:s so easy just to come and plunder

          • Guest

            How exactly are they making America greater? They aren’t giving ANYTHING back. Only TAKING.

          • Guest

            It wouldn’t have as much an impact on the economy as it would the bottom line and bonuses of these anti-American companies. How do you cure GREED?

  • coast office worker

    Agree 100%with previous poster. We are doing irreparable damage to future American workers by failing to develop their skills to fill American jobs. While the H1B1 visa should be continued to temporarily fill job shortages in the tech sector, it should not be expanded to the point where American workers are displaced or discouraged from entering the tech field completely.

    Having previously been in admin positions, I understand the desire and temptation to hire already skilled workers. However, I feel it is also an obligation to develop the skills of newer workers .

    • Guest

      It already has expanded to the point where American worksers are being displaced. WHAT SHORTAGE?????!!!!!!

  • Meyer Weed

    Interesting! the pay is comparable to that of a San Jose Police Officer and firefighter… increases on average 3%/year… and average pay is slightly higher… and all along people claiming to be Tech workers have been alleging SJ police and fire have been “getting rich” while those in the private sector have been barely getting by on meager wages???

    • jeffrey

      You forget about the stock options that many of these tech workers get which pays out very nicely years down the road.

      • Pierre

        And don’t forget ESPP, which pay an annual rate of return of around 70%.

        • JSebastian

          ESPP is limited to a small amount of invested capital. Hence the large ROR.

      • Mark

        Stock and options tend to become worthless once the flush is given to the sector. Which happened around 1992-ish, 2001-ish, and most likely again soon.

      • JSebastian

        Not many. Some. Huge difference. Most tech workers get no stock options or get such small numbers of options that the boost is insignificant. Options at already established companies are usually worth very little. Because most companies have modest growth. Most big companies grew already (that’s how they got big, and their future growth is limited by the law of large numbers).

  • Pierre

    Statistics which show an average can often be misleading. Knowing the median in addition to the average helps a lot.

  • PaulApp

    Statistics show people mislead their incomes as much as 40 percent! 25 percent mislead their employers on the resume!

  • H1BisTreason

    Did you know that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were Anchor Babies and their parents were ILLEGAL ALIENS! That is why they are both very addicted to cheap cheap
    H-1B/L1 SCABS and Illegal Aliens!
    Please Youtube: “Sen. Cruz Amendment to Immigration Legislation to Increase H-1B Visa by 500%”.

    Please Youtube: “Immigration Innovation or I-Squared Act of 2013”

  • whattodo

    Be prepared, it’s all about the fall down like those domino videos on youtube. The average salary may be going up, but the costs of everything else has only gone up. The game is just about over.

    • Mark

      That’s right, a 10% increase, but how much have costs gone up since? As another person stated, even the cost of policing has grown much faster. And very few tech companies actually have sustainable earnings.

  • jakeleone

    Just take a look at average police officer pay in the Bay Area

    – 112,000$/year

    That job, essentially a life time job, comes with an automatic 80% pension plan, and excellent benefits.

    Yet it requires only a 2-year degree.

    Just about any tech job in the Bay area now requires a Masters Degree. That’s 6-years of college, 80,000$ in debt, and you are betting everything that there is a contract job (3 months) out there waiting for you when (if) you graduate.

    Also add in the cost for near constant retraining, on your own dime.

    Look Engineers go to school, for as long as doctors, and doctors (routinely) make 200+k year in the Bay Area. Registered Nurses (2-4 years in college) make the same as the average Silicon Valley engineer (and also, typically, have excellent pension plans), but they can go anywhere in the country, and make that, and are employed for life.

    So let’s realize this, with rents going through the roof in recent years, any increase in pay of a few thousand dollars, doesn’t match the real inflation rate in the cost of housing in Silicon Valley.

    What good is it, if you make 20k (netting 10k, after taxes) more than workers in the rest of the country, if you are paying 24k more in rent, think about it.

    • Pierre

      If you use the cost of housing as an index, Silicon Valley workers are probably the lowest paid in the country.

    • Mark

      Huge numbers of engineers graduate and aren’t even able to find jobs in the tech sector. Especially if they are US citizens. The decent tech jobs receive thousands of resumes per position actually hired. I don’t think very many registered nurses, doctors, etc. have to fight as hard to find and keep a job as the engineers do.

    • Pierre

      Another interesting thing to look at which plays a big role in salaries are the percentage of immigrants who hold jobs in a specific field. What percentage of US police officers were born in India, Vietnam or China? Now what percentage of Silicon Valley high tech workers were born in India, Vietnam and China?

  • Srinath

    Hey everyone, seems like you guys are missing the point here and how the economy works. America became a great nation not really because of workers but because of capitalism- free markets and supply of cheap labor- Irish, Chinese, Italians, Polish, Russians and poor workers from all over Europe. Carnegie, Rockfeller and Ford didn’t build their empires out of nothing. Of course Free markets are hard on the workers and that’s understandable. Now the second point is that- we can agree that America and Europe are still the places on Earth where innovation actually happens and these people are still the most highly skilled people on this planet. However, there are limits when economies are isolated from each other. In any industry there would always be jobs that are more suitable for mediocre people (lets say 90% of the work) and these jobs are routine, need discipline and focus but not a great deal of talent or expertise. There are also jobs that require skilled people, that ought to be done by the best and the brightest and typically the high performers. Now American graduates with superior quality of education are naturally more suited for the work that requires a great deal of expertise and fall into the high achiever category. Meanwhile cheaper talent can be used to do the work that requires mediocre talent but some level of focus and discipline. So lets say we lived in a country where foreign labor was not welcome- Many of the Ivy league graduates would be doing the mediocre jobs that never required their skill and talent in the first place. True, the median industry salaries would have been higher but the potential of American engineers would have remained untapped and they would be working below potential. So high wages and low efficiency would result in expensive products and many of these products would remain elitist and unreachable. Like and Iphone would have cost 3000$ and probably only 50-100 million people would have been able to afford an Iphone. So less sales, smaller companies, fewer jobs and a lower overall quality of living. To show a case in example- while American IT industry has a greater proportion of immigrants there aren’t as many immigrants in other fields of engineering or science, like aerospace, automobiles, power systems. The result is that while America dominates the rest of the world in Tech industry, its not so great in other industries and are lets say shoulder to shoulder with European and Japanese countries.

    Now to say low wages are driving Americans out of the industry thats simply not true. Probably the mediocre Americans find other professions in management, consulting etc more rewarding, the talented american workers are still flying high and working shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues from different nationalities and building the greatest products. In the last 300 years if 600 million people can do so much, imagine what a highly efficient global economy with 7 billion people can do. There are big challenges awaiting mankind and the more hands to work on these better.

    Lastly most serious economists agree to one point- Population growth and labor force growth are almost always beneficial to the economy and the industry. Anyone who has a problem with Corporations hiring foreign tech workers, i suggest get out of America and go to Venezuela or Iran or North Korea- This is not a nation for losers, its made of the winners, by the winners and for the winners.

    • test10022

      “Population growth and labor force growth are almost always beneficial to the economy and the industry”

      You obviously flunked economics. Population growth decreases the capital/labor ratio and lowers wages.

      If the purpose of economics is to raise GDP, then population growth serves that goal. But that isn’t the goal of economics.

      The purpose of economics is to make people wealthier which means: raising GDP per capita. By this definition, population growth is detrimental to the economy.

      • Srinath

        ‘Population growth decreases the capital/labor ratio and lowers wages’. Looks like you have to read some economics and look at evidence. Population growth leads to greater PER CAPITA INCOME and GDP GROWTH PER CAPITA. So basic math first- Case Study: Sweden with 0% Population growth and 1% Real GDP growth adjusted for inflation- Compare that with USA- 1% population growth and 3% GDP growth every year adjusted for inflation. This shows that USA is becoming richer. Now why this works, after all we are all told about demand and supply- more supply=low wages. There are two reasons why demand-supply equations don’t hold with relation to labor economics. 1. Workers are consumers too and when labor force increases, consumption and tax revenues increase. This acts as a stimulus with a multiplier effect leading to greater overall wealth creation. 2. Increase in labor force also increase productivity due to competition and specialization. This productivity transforms itself as wealth that adds to the GDP and finds its way to the society.

        Some examples- The baby boomer generation and entry of women in american workforce in the 1950s and 1960s greatly increased wealth, wages and productivity. Most of our rapid economic growth was accompanied with a population boom. On the contrary, Europe, Japan and even China are saddled with an ageing population and hence growth in per capita income has slowed tremendously in these regions.

        Lastly why America needs Indians and educated immigrants in general- to retain global supermacy. United states population and economic power has to keep pace with China or else it will become difficult to match China or any future world power in terms of military might. It will become a huge burden on the Exchequer without population growth to maintain the military supremacy the US holds now in the coming decades.

        • test10022

          These are two data points–Switzerland and the US, and during most years, Switzerland had a GDP growth rate between 2 and 3 percent–not at 1 percent. If their GDP growth rate is 2.5, Switzerland’s GDP per capita is growing faster than the US. Noteably, Switzerland’s GDP per capita is higher than the US today.

          Overall, considering most datapoints, there is a strong, significant negative correlation between GDP growth per capita and population growth. The following chart has over 200 datapoints:

          Bottom line: if population growth helped GDP per capita, Indians would be too rich to even want to go to the United States.

          • test10022

            One commonly asked question would be then: why is the US relatively wealthy?

            Like most wealthy countries, the US benefited from a high capital/labor ratio from day one. When Europeans showed up, less than 20 million Native Americans were sitting on a gold mine of timber, oil, coal, minerals, and farmland.

            It’s hard to mess that one up with even the stupidest economic policies. Europeans inherited an already rich country. The US is wealthy for the same reason Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are.

            The success of Japan, Singapore, and other crowded islands without such an advantage in natural resources is much more unusual.

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