September 28, 2022

  • The market turnaround led to layoffs in the tech industry and a freeze after two years of aggressive hiring.
  • Jobs that require certain skills have seen wage increases this year, according to new data.
  • Other jobs that require common skill sets have seen wage declines, sometimes significant.

Tech compensation has soared to new heights during the pandemic, with Big Tech seeing record share prices and a surge in demand. It didn’t last. The market is down—and pay with it—but there are still some skills that can command more compensation than others.

Skills in management, project management and operating systems, for example, remain in demand and have seen average compensation rise slightly over the past three months, according to a new report from Foote Partners, a technology-industry consulting firm. The data also showed that more than half of tech jobs that require common skills saw wages fall over the past three months as a hiring slowdown, freeze and layoffs swept the industry.

Foote Partners analyzed changes in median compensation for 2022, through July 1, looking at technology workers with certain certified and non-certified skills. The data showed that more than half of the skills highlighted paid less in the last three months, with most of the same skills showing a decrease in pay over the last year.

According to the data, skills in web and e-commerce development, messaging and communications, cyber security and application development all saw a drop in wages over the past three months. Payments for messaging and communication skills fell the most over the past year, down nearly 17%. This was followed by a decline in web development skills, down more than 12%.

Many of the skills that have been undervalued in recent months are considered “certified” skills, or those that can be learned in school or through other educational programs. Half of the skills analyzed in the data are “non-certified,” that is, skills acquired through work experience. Decades of Foote Partners data show that uncertified skills are valued more and result in higher wages.

Tech workers are increasingly unhappy with the industry, but David Foote, the chief analyst and co-founder of Foote Partners, said compensation is only one aspect of employee sentiment.

“When you talk to employers, they continue to believe that insufficient compensation is the reason their workers are unhappy,” Foote said. “But when you talk to the workers themselves, they give us completely different answers.”

Foote said employee satisfaction often comes down to three things: “a sense of belonging in their job,” feeling “valued by their manager” and feeling “valued by their organization.”

Feeling “valued” doesn’t always mean higher pay, but Big Tech companies in particular aren’t flexible enough to adapt to what employees want, Foote said.

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