Companies turn to perks to offset flat tech salaries: survey

STMicro, Qeexo’s FingerSense technology
The average tech salary was flat between last year and 2016, a survey found.

Technology is certainly a hot field, but pay increases in many cases are tepid, according to a survey.

Salaries for technology professionals in the United States were flat in 2017 with average annual pay of $92,712, a 0.7% increase from 2016, according to research by Dice, a career platform for technology professionals.

Although there are areas where pay continues to escalate, certain employers are offering tech talent more motivators and benefits to remain competitive when providing the highest salary isn't an option.

“When it comes to talent acquisition and retention, we preach culture," Ryan Gay, CEO of digital-transformation agency Levatas, told FierceCEO. “We are constantly thinking of ways to attract—and retain—the best talent.”

Recently, the company returned from its annual offsite meeting where it unveiled several new perks for 2018. Levatas is increasing its allocation for personal/professional development from $1,000 to $1,500 per employee per year, the company increased its bonus pool, it’s subsidizing a child-adoption program and it will match any charitable (secular and non-political) donation up to $1,000 per employee per year.

These newly added benefits are in addition to current offerings: unlimited paid time off, a fully stocked kitchen, fantastic healthcare benefits, 401k matching, free gym memberships, a flexible work environment, paid family leave, continuing-education reimbursement, work-from-home arrangements and an extended holiday schedule.

Scott Lomond, CEO of TokBox, said: “Pay isn’t everything for a lot of people—and the company is headquartered in San Francisco, a very competitive job market.”

That’s why the company offers a lot of perks, including flexible hours, telecommuting, daily lunch, paid leave for new moms and dads and yoga classes, among others.

“These perks not only help keep the company competitive as an employer, but they do wonders for morale, as well,” Lomond said.

"There's a perception that the technology field is the Wild West with outsized compensation and lavish perks,” said Michael Durney, CEO of DHI Group, parent company of Dice, in a statement. "This creates a disconnect that is partly what instills frustration among employers or tech pros when the recruiting process yields a gap between salary expectations and true market trends."

Employers have increasingly been offering tech professionals incentives beyond salary since Dice began tracking them in its annual report. In 2009, half (53%) of companies offered benefits such as paid trainings, more vacation, flexible work hours or the option to telecommute.

That has jumped to 71%, a testament to employers using creative recruiting tactics to secure top talent when they may not have the budgets to compete with the other company hiring tech talent across the street, Durney said.