There’s a strong focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in the software industry. Tech companies are making moves to ensure they provide equal opportunities for all. However, there’s still an imbalance in the industry with the gender pay gap still prominent. In 2022, women were paid on average 90p for every £1 earned by a male counterpart. In 2021, women were offered 1.8 per cent less salary compared to men, on average, when they applied for the same job title at the same company in the technology industry. However, this was a significant improvement compared to 2019 when the pay gap was measured at 4.4 per cent.

Expectations have been set

Techies are the ones with the power in today’s tech community. Attracting tech talent that directly matches your company’s culture and values ultimately boils down to salary transparency. 92% of Haystack users want to see salaries disclosed in job adverts, and roles advertised with salaries get 5x more applications than those that don’t. We recently analysed thousands of opportunities that are listed on the Haystack platform, to uncover the expected salaries of the tech community compared to the salary bands companies advertise. So, are companies meeting expectations? This is what we uncovered 👇

Surprisingly, senior UX/UI designers are the ones whose expectations are at the very top end of the scale, with techies expecting £57k (outside of London) and the average salary ranging between £42k and £57k - meaning they value themselves more accurately within the market and are likely to push the salary bands up. This is then closely followed by Lead Full Stack Engineers (outside of London) whose expectations are only 2k less than the average that companies advertise - the employer average for this role and level is between £59k and £80k, with techies valuing themselves at the higher end of 78k. We also analysed roles within Back End Engineering, Full Stack, DevOps, Data Engineering, Mobile Engineering and Data Science and found that the average vs expected salaries were more in line with one another - meaning that expectations were met or even exceeded.

Comparing salaries in tech for 2023 against those that were disclosed last year, we can assume that the tech community have raised the bar when it comes to salary expectations - or more importantly, they began to recognise their worth. Interestingly, the biggest increase in salary expectations has been seen in Lead DevOps Engineers (both inside and outside of London) as well as Lead Data Engineers (outside of London) with a staggering 22% increase against last year’s figures. The general consensus is that companies will always have a band allocated for a role and of course, even if they don’t disclose it publicly. Companies don’t want to pay more than necessary - but paying employees fairly and what they deserve is part of the culture of transparency and fairness, meaning you’re actively working towards keeping employees happy.

As a side note, disclosing salaries, where you can, not only saves you time during the hiring process but filters out any unnecessary candidates who may be applying for your role with expectations set out of your range.

Unsurprisingly, salary ranges in London are significantly higher than those advertised in other areas of the UK, which is reflected in the majority of technical roles as seen above. One of the more apparent differences in salaries is amongst Lead Mobile Engineers in London, with roles advertised with a salary range of £78k - £114k. The minimum salary advertised for the same position, outside of London, is £54k - £75k. From gauging the expectations of these senior positions, the expectations of mobile engineers in London sit within the salary range as opposed to mobile engineers outside of London overvaluing themselves, with an expected salary of £76k.

During the hiring process, it’s important to take the time to discuss the expectations of the techie (if it’s not been made clear beforehand) and provide a salary band that aligns with the role and experience requirements. Don’t fall victim to wasting time in the hiring process by speaking to individuals that are way too expensive.

Why are techies moving roles?

We recently surveyed our users to uncover the top reasons why they’re most likely to move into a new role - ignoring factors like salary and location. Here are just some of the findings we uncovered:

1. The state of the economy

It’s no secret that in recent years we’ve had a fair share of problems that have hindered the growth of the tech industry. From the post-Covid boom to the recent high-profile hiring freezes and layoffs, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride.The current state of the economy is putting techies on edge, according to 46% of our users, with over 50% of our users actively looking for a new role. Retention struggles are perhaps, therefore, stemming from companies not being able to keep up with employee expectations and the current climate of the cost of living increases. But there are other ways in which you can make your employees feel valued - the main one being working conditions.

The shift in remote/hybrid working is one that is valued by the tech community, with 76% of our users stating that it’s one of the top factors they look for in job descriptions. Companies should be adapting their working practices, where possible, allow their employees to work more freely and in a way that promotes a better work-life balance. This type of job mobility is a common response to economic uncertainties, as tech professionals are looking to protect their livelihoods and secure their financial futures.

2. Behaviour of leadership

Some leaders are better than others. That’s just how it goes. 28% of our users have voiced that it’s the behaviour of their current leader that determines whether they stay in or leave their current role. Poor leadership, such as lack of transparency, unclear communication, and micromanagement, can lead to a toxic work environment and cause techies to lose trust in their superiors.

Let’s not forget that reviews are everywhere now. As consumers, we’re often turning to TripAdvisor for recommendations and as candidates, we’re looking at Glassdoor. We’re all turning to our peers to gain information on others' experiences, so we don’t make the same mistakes. Techies are leaning towards companies that display better leadership, where they can work in an environment that aligns with their values and fosters personal and professional growth.

That’s why on Haystack we like to be as transparent as possible. We make it easy to showcase your company’s culture, and just how likely our peers are to recommend your company to a friend.

3. Performance of your company and lack of progression

The public profile of your company really does say a lot about you. Tech professionals are highly skilled and motivated individuals who are always looking for new challenges and opportunities to grow. 16% of Haystack users have reported that the performance of their current company makes them feel nervous within their role. When a company is not performing well or is not providing clear progression paths, it becomes less attractive to these individuals.

As a result, they may look for new opportunities that offer better job security, growth prospects, and better compensation packages (not just Friday beers and free tea and coffee!). This, in turn, leads to high turnover rates among tech professionals and companies struggling to retain their best talent. The lack of career progression and growth opportunities, combined with poor company performance, can be a major turn-off for tech professionals and lead to high levels of dissatisfaction and a desire to move to a more fulfilling role.

Final thoughts

Whether you work in talent acquisition or employer branding - it’s important to align your company values to everything you do both internally and externally. Whether that’s posting on social media, or creating salary transparency in job advertisements, the candidate experience doesn’t start once they submit a job application. The candidate's journey starts when they see a social media post, or an advert, or read the job description and look at your Glassdoor reviews. Ensuring these are all aligned will allow for a more seamless experience for candidates and new employees.

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