Study: What People in Tech Think of Their Salary, Raises and Bonuses

Perks and benefits can sweeten any offer, but compensation is often a make-or-break deal.

Hoping to shed light on how people make decisions about pay, Comparably asked workers across the technology industry to reveal their experience and expectations when it comes to salary, raises, and bonuses. The data, which comes from thousands of employees at small, mid-size, and large public and private tech companies, was collected between March 2016 and August 2017.

Respondents were asked the following:

–Did you negotiate your salary when taking your current job?
–Would you leave your current job for a 20% raise at a different company?
–How often do you get a raise?
–How much of a salary increase do you expect each year?
–What percentage of your paycheck are you able to save each month?
–Would you feel confident asking your current boss for a raise?
–When you were hired at your current job, what was the cash amount of your signing bonus?

Check out the results and our methodology below.

Women are less likely than men to negotiate for a higher salary

Forty-six percent of women said they had negotiated their current salary compared to 54% of men.


BY DEPARTMENT: Women in product, marketing, and business development were most likely to negotiate, while those in customer support and administrative roles were least likely to negotiate.

Men in customer support and administrative roles demonstrated similar behavior, with only 28% of them attempting to try for a higher salary.

The gap among women and men in high-ranking executive positions was one of the widest: 52% of women said they negotiated their salaries compared to 67% of men.

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BY EXPERIENCE: The data shows that men and women in who have been at their company for only a few years have significantly less leverage than those with more years under their belt.


BY AGE: From an age perspective, workers age 41 to 45 seemed to be in a sweet spot: 56% of them reported having negotiated their salary. Rates were lower among the youngest and oldest workers.


BY CITY: The cities where people said they negotiated their salaries most were San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Austin. The cities where people negotiated their salaries the least were Seattle, Portland, and Phoenix.


BY ETHNICITY: The data revealed that Caucasian and Asian workers were the most likely to negotiate their salaries (52% said they had) while African American and Native American workers were least likely (41% and 44% said they had, respectively).


4 out of 5 tech workers would leave their current job for a 20% pay boost

BY DEPARTMENT: Those in executive roles and HR were more likely than others to forego the opportunity, while those in IT were the most likely to leave for a 20% bump.


BY CITY: 84% of workers in Austin and D.C. were most eager to jump ship for a 20% boost — the most in any city. Seventy-six percent of workers in Dallas would leave, the least of any city.


BY EDUCATION LEVEL: People with their bachelors or master’s degrees appeared most eager to leave for a 20% pay boost.


BY AGE AND ETHNICITY: Responses were equivalent across people of all ethnicities and ages, except for the 60-plus crowd, where a 20% salary increase seemed to hold less allure.



The most common time to get a raise is once a year

About 60% of workers in tech say they get a raise every year. That was the most popular answer by a landslide: 17% of workers say they “never” get a raise; 13% say they get a raise every two years; 6% say they get a raise every three years or more; and 5% say they get a raise at least every six months.


BY INDUSTRY: Sixty-six percent of workers with finance jobs at technology companies said they get a raise every year — the most of any group. Workers in product, engineering, and HR were also most likely to say they get a yearly raise (65% for product and 64% for the others).










Workers in executive roles and sales positions showed the lowest rates of getting a yearly raise:






The majority of people expect a 3% or 5% raise every year

Sixty-seven percent of workers in the technology industry expect either a 3% or 5% raise every year. Thirty-six percent of people expect a 3% raise, 31% expect a 5% raise, and 15% of people expect no raise at all.

Raises of 10% or more were the least common, with 13% of people saying they expect a 10% raise and 4% saying they expect 15% or more.


The split among men and women was equal.


BY CITY: While the most common answer in every city was either 3% or 5%, a significant percentage of workers in some notoriously expensive cities expected a salary of at least 10%. Those cities included San Francisco (28%), Los Angeles (23%), New York (23%), and Portland, Ore. (22%).

San Francisco:


Los Angeles:


New York:


Portland, Ore.:



People who work in tech claim to be saving at a higher rate than most

Just over 50% of tech workers say they save at least 10% of their paycheck each month, with most of them saving 20% or more. The average personal savings rate in America was 4.9% in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).


All else considered equal (rents, cost of living, expenses, etc.), earning a higher salary leaves people with the ability to save more. And tech jobs generally pay above-average: the median annual wage for workers in computer and information technology was $81,430 in May 2015, while the national average salary was $36,200, according to the BLS.

On the flipside, about 38% of people outside of tech say they save at least 10% of their paycheck, and 39% save nothing or spend more than they make.


BY DEPARTMENT. Engineers were most likely to save more than 20% of their paychecks.


Those in administrative and customer support roles claimed to have saved “nothing” more than anyone else.



Customer support:


BY CITY Workers in San Francisco — heart of the U.S. tech scene — appeared to be saving more than anyone else (39% save at least 1/5 of their paycheck and 25% save at least 1/10).


Portland, Ore., is the city where people save the least. The so-called “Silicon Forest” had the highest amount of workers saving the least (22% save nothing and 9% spend more than they make).


Nearly 60% of workers feel confident asking their boss for a raise

Fifty-eight percent of men and 54% of women are confident asking for a raise.


BY AGE: Confidence hovers around the 50% mark for workers of all ages. (Note: Responses from workers over age 60 were eliminated due to low sample size.)


BY INDUSTRY: Workers in executive roles said they felt the most confident asking their bosses for a raise, while workers in legal felt least confident.


The majority of workers don’t receive a signing bonus

Seventy-four percent of people said they did not receive a signing bonus. Of those who did, 4% received up to $1,000; 9% received $1,000 to $5,000; 5% received $5,000 to $10,000; and 7% received $10,000 or more.


Men and women reported receiving a signing bonus at very similar rates.


BY INDUSTRY: Workers in admin, customer support, HR, and IT were least likely to receive a signing bonus (80-85% said they did not receive one for their current job).

Workers in executive roles were most likely to receive a signing bonus (36% say they received one for their current job), followed next by design (69%) and product (68%).


–Questions were in Yes/No, True/False, 1-10 scale, and multiple choice format.
–Results are based on 58,000+ responses from workers across the technology sector.
–Employees hail from small, mid-size, and large tech companies (VC-funded, privately-held, and public) to household brands like Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, Uber, etc.
–Data was collected between March 2016 and August 2017.

About Comparably

Comparably is a compensation, culture, and jobs monitoring site with a mission to make work more transparent and rewarding. Employees can anonymously rate their company culture and CEOs, input their salaries, and have their dream jobs find them. As the only platform with comprehensive and structured data that can be segmented by gender, ethnicity, age, location, tenure, company size, title/department, and education, Comparably has over 1 million employee ratings and hundreds of thousands of salary and culture data. Its jobs matching tool, dubbed “Priceline meets Tinder for jobs,” is used by more than 2,500 major companies including Netflix, Amazon, Snap, Tinder, Uber, Intuit, Salesforce, Dell, PepsiCo, Warner Bros, Twitter, Priceline, SpaceX, PayPal, eBay, Airbnb, and more. Comparably launched in March 2016 and has quickly become one of the most popular online resources for employee compensation and culture data.

Website: www.comparably.com | Fair Pay Report: www.comparably.com/report | Studies: www.comparably.com/blog


Comparably monitors the job market for the best Careers, Compensation, & Companies to make work more Rewarding & Transparent.


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