Tech salaries rose in 2020 — despite COVID-19

Although the US tech and IT sectors saw major layoffs in mid-2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sectors have recovered most of the lost jobs. Even better, salaries actually rose by 3.6% in 2020, according to Dice.com’s 2021 Tech Salary Report — and will continue to do so in 2021.

[ Further reading: Diversity and inclusion make IT stronger ]
But the salary growth accrued to just 52% of tech employees surveyed; 35% saw flat wages, and the rest (13%) saw declines. Those who saw declines cited a change of employer, layoffs, or company-wide salary reductions as the main causes — all of them effects of the pandemic.

Regional salary trends
Salaries both in California’s Silicon Valley and in Boston rose 2.4%, in line with the national average. But they exploded in several tech hubs:

Charlotte, N.C., saw a 13.8% rise in salary to $99,691.
Orlando saw a 13.4% rise to $88,598.
New York City saw a 11.6% rise to $114,274.
Austin, Texas, saw a 9.7% rise to $104,344.
Philadelphia saw a 9.3% rise to $96,512.
Detroit, Phoenix, Houston, Minneapolis, and metro Baltimore-Washington all saw salary rises of more than 5%.

Portland, Oregon, saw a 4.6% drop in salaries to $98,026, while Seattle saw a 2.6% decline in salaries to $106,723. Tampa saw a 11% decline to $87,809, Columbus, OH, a 0.6% decline to $91,483, and Chicago, a 0.1% decline to $94,581.

Dice notes that the survey sample in Columbus was fewer than 100 respondents, so the data is not statistically valid but included for continuity with past years’ reports.

Looking at the survey results by state, Maryland had the greatest salary growth: up 13.1% to $109,886, followed by Wisconsin at 9.6% to $97,322 and North Carolina at 9.5% to $97,739. New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Connecticut, Texas, Colorado, and Virginia all had average salary rises of 5% or more.

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