Even with the strong possibility of a recession, the average salary for U.S. tech professionals is once again over the six-figure mark, according to Dice’s 2023 Tech Salary report. This indicates that tech pros with specialized skills are still highly in demand.

An overall dip in hiring caused by a recession “would not necessarily have an impact on core tech roles, given the importance of these skill sets in running company operations, securing critical data and continuing digital transformation efforts,” the newly-released report noted.

Greater dissatisfaction with salaries

In 2022, the average U.S. tech salary increased by 2.3% to $111,348. At the same time, respondents indicated greater dissatisfaction with their salary compared to 2021, with nearly half (49%) believing they are underpaid.

“Combined with the 52% who are likely to change employers within the next year, you have a double-edged sword for organizations: More skilled tech talent is available, but retention will be even more difficult,” the report said. “Expressing appreciation and value to tech professionals remains a key to retention, across all industries and roles.”

Highest-paying tech positions

As with previous years, IT management including CEOs, CIOs and CTOs saw the largest salaries in 2022, earning an average of $164,814.

“That’s a whopping 8.4% increase from 2021, and hints at how many companies, their budgets flush with profits from the past few years, amply rewarded their executives,’’ the report said.

Tech professionals with highly specialized skills did nearly as well last year, especially in roles that impact company strategies and tech stacks. This includes:

  • Solutions architects, with an average salary of $155,934.
  • Principal software engineers with an average salary of $153,288.
  • Systems architects with an average salary of $151,364.

Cybersecurity engineers, cloud architects and program analysts/managers also earned significant salaries, the report said.

Tech skills commanding the highest salaries

Earning some of the highest tech salaries this year were data-related tech skills such as:

  • Elasticsearch ($143,619).
  • Apache Kafka ($142,764).
  • Teradata ($141,515).
  • Redis ($140,290).

“For organizations that need highly specialized tech professionals, such talent will continue to come at a premium; the expense is likely to be worth it, however, considering how important things like data management and security have become to the success of most organizations,” the report observed.

Tech cities and hubs with the highest salaries

While the overall average tech salary across the country didn’t experience much change between 2021 and 2022, there were some significant shifts when looking at salary by location, the report said.

The top five cities for average tech salaries were:

  • Silicon Valley.
  • Boston.
  • Seattle.
  • Portland.
  • New York City.

“High-tech salaries are certainly no longer limited to the coasts, as all of the top 25 cities for tech compensation boast an average salary [of] over $100,000, and these locations are spread throughout the country,’’ the report stated. “The average growth in the top 25, however, was 4%, given that there were a few declines and many modest year-over-year increases.”

At the city level, the hubs with the highest salaries saw continued tech salary growth in 2022. For example, Tampa, FL (+19%), Portland (+16%) and Charlotte, NC (+11%) all experienced double-digit growth in salaries during the year, with others in the top 10 showing more modest gains, according to the report.

Outside of the more established tech hubs, there was also significant salary growth in areas including Columbus, OH, where average tech salaries grew 16% year over year, and Phoenix, AZ, where salaries grew 26%.

Top tech salaries by state

At the state level, Massachusetts took the top spot in the highest average tech salary at $128,690. Rounding out the top five were Oregon, California, Washington and Connecticut, all with average salaries of $120,000 and above.

They were followed by New Jersey, Colorado, Virginia, Arizona and the District of Columbia. Notable states outside the top 10 were New York at No. 15, with an average tech salary of $109,901 and Texas at No. 16 with an average tech salary of $109,819. Arizona, led by major gains in Phoenix, had the highest state growth at 20%, followed by Oregon at 12%.

Tech salaries by industry

In 2022, established industries proved that they are prepared to pay for talent with the skill sets and experience they need. Consulting ($131,995), medical and pharmaceutical ($129,118) and banking and finance ($128,571) industries each made the top five, alongside the ranks of traditional tech industries, software ($124,071), and aerospace and defense ($121,560).

On the flip side, retail and e-commerce and marketing and advertising all experienced a double-digit percentage drop in average tech salary in 2022.

Better benefits and flexible work options are key

What do tech professionals want? Better work-life balance through benefits, according to the report.

“Employers that can offer tech professionals remote and flexible work schedules, as well as encourage them to take their allotted vacation days, will continue to win talent,” the Dice report said.

Forty-five percent of tech professional respondents said they planned on using all their vacation days in 2022, up from 39% in 2021. Further, in addition to ranking remote work and flexible work schedule options as critically important non-traditional benefits, there was a significant year-over-year increase in how tech professionals ranked the importance of wellness programs as a benefit: 49% in 2021 to 58% in 2022, the report noted.

Survey methodology

Dice said this survey was administered online among its registered job seekers and site visitors between Aug. 16, 2022 and Oct. 17, 2022. A total of 7,098 completed surveys are represented in the report, and this number excludes unemployed respondents, students, incomplete responses and those who work outside of the U.S.

Read next: Global tech salaries are on the rise for nearly all roles (TechRepublic)

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