Here’s what senior developers and engineering managers in the United States can expect to earn in base salary in 2023 and beyond.
The warning signs were there as we stepped into 2023, as big tech companies had already made hefty rounds of layoffs, and the hiring landscape looked to be flipping from one led by candidates, to an employer’s market for the first time in decades.
“Everyone knew change was coming, while gripping the metaphorical handrail. The last 12 months have been an incredibly challenging time for everyone in the tech industry, for managers and engineers, the tech workers who support them, and for recruitment and talent teams,” wrote Josh Brenner, CEO of tech recruitment specialist Hired, in its 2023 State of Tech Salaries report, which surveys the US, UK, and Canadian job markets.
What impact is this shift having on salaries?
When it comes to salaries, the numbers may be bigger than they were last year – by around 5% – but when factoring in inflation, software engineering salaries are dropping after a period of unfettered earnings growth.
“We’re seeing an increase in the strain between companies balancing rising costs due to inflation and workers asking for higher wages due to rising costs on their balance sheet at home,” Brenner said. “While many workers recognize the salary increases with new roles aren’t what they were in 2022, they know their expenses have risen. They’re trying to advocate for themselves while not pricing themselves out of contention for a role. Meanwhile, many women continue to expect less or hesitate to negotiate, citing the tough economic climate or a lack of confidence. It’s a balancing act, and as a result, we cannot encourage salary transparency enough.”
While inflation-adjusted salaries continue to fall across the United States and Europe, “engineering managers commanded the highest salaries in both the US and UK,” on Hired’s platform, where the average salary for US-based managers in 2023 is $202,000, up just 0.5% from 2022.
Below, we have picked out the average starting salaries for senior engineering and management roles in the US from a different source, Robert Half’s 2024 Salary Guide, which is based on research conducted between May and August 2023. These figures represent the national average salary range for the 50th and 75th percentile of applicants.
Chief Technology Officer (CTO): $207,000-$251,250
Applications architect: $163,250-$195,500
Software and applications manager: $148,000-$173,750
Senior software engineer: $146,000-$175,250
Software engineer: $129,250-$152,500
Testing/QA manager: $115,250-$131,250