At least one-third of tech workers are significantly underpaid. That’s the conclusion of a study by Paysa, a startup that markets tools designed to help software engineers and other technology professionals analyze and compare salaries and benefits. Paysa looked at 5 million resumes of technology professionals and concluded that nearly 2 million of them are currently underpaid by 10 percent or more. For an average software engineer making $112,000, the company indicated, that translates into $11,200 a year of missing income.
It’s probably a good time to ask for a raise, the study results suggest, because 2017 is looking like it will be a seller’s year for software engineers (Paysa’s original niche) and other technology professionals. “In 2017, the shift in power from the employer to the employee will accelerate, tipping the scales in favor of the employee, at least in the technology sector,” Paysa CEO Chris Bolte said in a press release.
The organization suggests that engineering managers might have reason to be worried that their tech workers might up and leave. More than 78 percent of technology and engineering workers the firm studied, Paysa concluded, “have a compelling reason to move to a new company and job within the next six months.” Those compelling reasons? Being underpaid relative to the market, having missed a promotion window, working at a company that is in a relative decline, or having been at the present company for the past two years. (I’d argue that the last factor is a bit of a stretch; there’s a lot of mobility in tech for sure, but is two years at one company really a sign that the bell is tolling for you?)
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.