Want a Pay Raise? Then Prepare to Move

The best way to get a pay increase this year, according to an annual tech-salary survey, is to move to a different company or to Silicon Valley.

Career site, which specializes in technology and engineering professionals, reports tech workers, on average, garnered salary increases of 0.7 percent in 2010, to $79,384 from $78,845 in 2009, following a similar increase the previous year.

Nearly four out of 10 technology professionals anticipate they could make more money if they change employers in 2011. Those professionals (24 percent) who felt switching employers would not increase their pay earned, on average, nearly $13,000 more than those who anticipate finding higher salaries elsewhere.

After a slip in average salaries last year, paychecks for technology talent in Silicon Valley increased 3 percent to an average salary of $99,028. In addition, 35 percent of Valley respondents received a bonus in 2010, as compared to just 26 percent in 2009.

It also appears wages have been reset lower for technology professionals who are entering the field. For the second straight year, the average salaries of technology professionals with less than two years experience have declined and are 6 percent below their peak average wages in 2008.

Average tech salaries in New York ($87,298) and the Washington/Baltimore corridor ($89,149) inched higher year-on-year, while average salaries in Atlanta ($82,944) and Philadelphia ($81,986) jumped 5 percent year-on-year — the strongest performance in any of the top 10 metropolitan markets. Two markets showed declines: Los Angeles dropped 4 percent to $84,551; and in Chicago average technology salaries declined 1 percent to $79,933.

Additional information, including the skill sets in most demand, can be found here. Willingness to relocate is a definite plus.

24 comments on “Want a Pay Raise? Then Prepare to Move

  1. AnalyzeThis
    January 20, 2011

    I think many that argue that moving to a different company is nearly always your best option when it comes to receiving a dramatic pay raise. Sure, plenty of companies promote from within, but many times employers are hesitant to give an internal employee such a big boost in pay: it's a different situation from when they're trying to woo a “new” employee.

    That being said, there's some interesting info in that release; I'm slightly surprised by how in demand Oracle experience still is. I wonder how (if?) that will change in the coming years. Also not surprised to see that Los Angeles dropped; there's certainly more supply than demand employment-wise in this sector at the moment.

  2. Anand
    January 21, 2011

    Thanks Barbara,

      Let me start packing my bags then :).

    Jokes apart,  Could you please check if the link is working fine ? I couldn't open that link.

    Regarding the article, you will always have different pay at different regions based on the local factors and living style, which will obviously makes difference in your pay-package. Is this factor you are pointing or something else ?

  3. Mydesign
    January 21, 2011

          Barbara, you are very much right. During the recession period, many companies had cut down employee’s salary and forced them to work either with lower take home salary or without perks. Now it’s the post-recession period and almost all IT sector companies recovered from the traumatic situation. As a part of expansion, they have started to expand their operations globally and hence start hiring the new faces. As a part of expansion many vacancies are available across the companies and many of them are facing shortage of matching technical skills.

         This scenario opens a vast opportunity for the employees and job seekers. If one would like to continue with the current employer, then he has to satisfy with the general hike offering by that employer. Normally employer may offer 05-15% hike per year depends on the performance and other criteria. But if one is looking for a new employer or company, then the salary is based on his/her interview performance and bargain capability. In new company his/her salary may vary between a minimum of 25% of last drawn salary and even up to 100% in certain cases.

          Now a day’s employees are also more cunning, they use to attend interview with other companies & on the basis of interview discussion, they may fix up with a higher salary. With the new offer, they may approach another companies for discussion and finally discussion will end up again with a new higher salary structure. With this new offer, they can either join with the new company or can approach the current employer for a better package. See how things are working out in a fast moving world….

  4. Taimoor Zubar
    January 21, 2011

    While it may be true that switching a job may get you a higher pay, but it's no guarantee that it will. A better approach may be to improve yourself at your current job and try to become indispensable. Once the company realizes they can't perform without you, the employers may be happy to offer you a raise. It has always worked out for me 🙂

  5. eemom
    January 21, 2011

    I am usually not a big fan of the “grass is greener” approach.  I would take a look at one's satisfaction level in their job.  Wages alone do not define a position and if one chases better pay, they could end up with a company that they are not happy with for many reasons other than pay.

    One should seek opportunities outside their own company if for some reason, they are unhappy with their current employer.  If the employer is a good company and one is happy in their job and potential future prospects, money will follow.  We are still in the phase of companies hoarding cash making them reluctant to offer the raises necessary to keep their employees motivated.  I am really hoping that phase will end soon and companies start to invest in their employees once more.

  6. t.alex
    January 21, 2011

    It is quite true to be indispensable and can offer something that the company really needs. To some extent, how can we achieve such level being indispensible? Sometimes moving to different companies may help us build up something unique.

  7. hwong
    January 21, 2011

    Speaking of hiring, the  IT consulting industry is notorious these days. They keep hiring new people at a much higher rate and laying old timers off. Of course, some of it is to get rid of the bottom of the food chain but there are also alot of innocent victims who happened to  be at the wrong place at the wrong time. So the truth is, if you do want to move up, you better apply for jobs with your competitors. They are willing to increase 30% – 50% raise depending on the situations.

  8. Ms. Daisy
    January 22, 2011

    Very good advice!

    IT jobs has been cyclical since the .com burst. It has pretty much mirrored the economic pulse. Most of the companies have been firing and hiring in a knee jerk reaction to the economy and employee loyality has not been considered by many of tech companies. So the employees too are reaching for the highest bidder. In some cases the riisk has been worth it, since the employee has no control over their tenure in these companies.

    You would think the skills level and experience would count for something and guarrantee the jobs especially for the older employees!

  9. Himanshugupta
    January 23, 2011

    i am also having problem with the link.

    I work in Europe. Does the conclusion in this article also valid here? Most of the time the salary increase (if more that 10% or so) in new company comes with extra responsibility or a promotion. Has this factor been taken into account?

  10. Eldredge
    January 23, 2011

    I agree with your comments – I know of several situations where someone moved to pursue a better opportunity (or in some cases, to continue working), only to be laid off after a short tenure in a new location. There are many valid reasons to pursue a new opportunity with a new company, or move locations within the sme company, but as you stated, the grass is not always greener.

  11. Eldredge
    January 24, 2011

    TiamoorZ – I think you have a very positive apporach; look for ways to use your unique talents to benefit the company, and learn / grow as you progress.

  12. Anna Young
    January 24, 2011

    In today's economic climate many companies will attempt to exclude pay increases from their business agenda's. However, it is true that in order to secure that pay increase, a move is definitely what an ambitious person should consider, particularly where career-enhancing opportunities are very limited in an organisation.

    In the UK, technology workers are finding it hard to move on to better opportunities, as pay has remained stagnant. In order to realise a pay increase, it maybe that a person may have to move away from the shores of the land they are based to other countries that need their expertise.

    The UK government is urging pay restraint and at the present time has frozen pay in the public sector with quite a considerable number of public sector workers about to be made redundant. This course of action will mean that the private sector will be inundated with people with a wealth of experience. To the private sector this is an open door opportunity to get expertise on the cheap rather than encourage pay increase.

  13. Barbara Jorgensen
    January 24, 2011

    The article cited is no longer available on the original link and I can't find it on's Website either–I apologize. The original study was restricted to the US and regions within the US. I'd be hesitant to draw any conclusions from this about global trends, particularly since the original report is not readily available.

  14. SP
    January 24, 2011

    I guess this would be the most common topic that affects everyone. The headline says it all. In today's economic conditions its difficult to expect pay raise and preparing to move would be riskier. But there are some people who change jobs much often. It would necessarily be for them.

  15. Tim Votapka
    January 25, 2011

    Two natural laws to keep in mind: 1. production is the basis of morale; 2. production generates the income necessary to fund compensation. Point being, employees and managers need to shift their emphasis toward producing products (and that encompasses tangible, exchangeable products and services). Otherwise, your competitor will and reap the rewards.

  16. Eldredge
    January 25, 2011

    Tvotapka – Excellent point. Without efficient production of quality goods and services, the rest of the discussion becomes theoretical.


  17. electronics862
    January 26, 2011

    Money definitely is a deciding factor for an employee to keep a job or to move on. Actually, salary hike is one of the biggest incentives for an employee to stay motivated and perform better.But changing a job just because you did not get the expected hike is also not right.If the hike is not good because of your performance or because of an industry slowdown – think again. The circumstances may be the same elsewhere. It is better to stick to the old company and wait for the next time and at the same time job satisfaction is also imporatant while switcing to a new company.

  18. Tim Votapka
    January 26, 2011

    Quite often we ask a client what their product is and the answer is pretty much on target; for tangible products that is. Then we ask individual staff members, particularly those in admin or service posts the same question, and invariably you get a lag in their reply. “Product? Well I don't really 'make' a product, I just handle invoicing,” or “I run the QA area in the production area.” The truth is, there are products to these positions and that's what has to be clarified and integrated into any review. There are instances where incentives can be developed for “non-sales” employees, which can help staff find ways to make more money for themselves and the organization.

  19. Ms. Daisy
    January 26, 2011

    Good Point!

    The admin department in many organizations are often detached from the production unit. Some of the admin staffs do not even know that they are complementary to the production unit and like you stated the staffs often have no idea what is being produced.

    Hopefully operations directors are knowledegebale enough to help the entire staff of the organization link their roles to the product or services of the organization, as well as knowing how each department is interelated to the produciton team to serve the consumers in service organizations or products.   

  20. Tim Votapka
    January 26, 2011

    Detachment within the organization can undermine efforts to expand. The more viable organizations are the ones that don't build moats throughout the kingdom.

  21. saranyatil
    January 27, 2011

    with changes prevailing in the employee Job description and the fabulous packages been given today if your shifting your companies, this is becoming a highlighter for the all the folks so attrition rate is also increasing to a greater extent in many companies. as u said only in certain cases the circumstances of moving to a new job turns to become bad, but new job can rejuvunate you, different environment, new work place, new colleagues in a way its good to change jobs.

  22. maou_villaflores
    January 30, 2011

    Hi Saranyatil thanks for pointing this out –> “New job can rejuvunate you, different environment, new work place, new colleagues in a way its good to change jobs.”

    I am currently in this situation..For me right now raise is not the primary concern why some people are looking for a new job. The other things that a job hunter is looking is work-shift flexibility and health benefits.

  23. saranyatil
    January 30, 2011


    definitely job hunters are not just looking forward for hike in salary, now the crisis is also with flexibility in shifts and timings.

  24. hwong
    June 22, 2011

    Nowadays all the companies are cutting cost and trying to squeeze their employees. They have all the power because of the increasingly available labor from other countries such as India, Russia or China. If you don't want the job, many people will be willing to take it at a much lower salary.

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