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Jason St-Cyr
Jason St-Cyr

Posted on • Originally published at jasonstcyr.com on

Tech Salaries: All that goes up, must come down

Some folks are mad about this tweet by @laurieontech but it is important to understand what happened in our field’s history.

Tech salaries will come down. It's not a matter of it, but when. It may be soon, or a while from now. But assuming this supply/demand will last for your entire career is probably not a good bet.

I saw this as I was starting into tech. Telecom companies drastically cutting staff after years of booming, causing an abundance of available, skilled, engineers.

This does not mean we are about to have this happen right now, but we should recognize the patterns that have happened before and be ready. Plenty of demand right now, and that drives salaries up so long as workers demand those salaries. But when people start losing jobs?

Those folks are willing to take less to keep working. This starts applying pressure to the economics of salaries. If a company can hire somebody with 15 years experience at the price of a new grad? The hiring manager will not flinch. A one-off situation though, until it is not.

When an entire part of an industry starts cutting jobs, the influx of talent is too great. Supply exceeds demand, salaries start to lower. Before the dot com bubble burst, I was getting offers for huge salaries in SF when I had not even graduated yet. I stayed in school… 🤦🏻‍♂️

By the time I graduated, the bubble had burst. I already had a few years experience and was able to get an entry level job for 40K Canadian. But at least I had the job. Neighbours who had a lot of tech experience were taking on other jobs, but not what they were skilled at.

I hope we don’t see that happen again soon, but it’s good to understand what happened before and learn from the mistakes made. As workers, we need to ensure we have a diverse skillset that can transfer to another part of the tech industry. Survive the whims of the hype engine.

As managers, we need to ensure our teammates are paid what they’re worth. We should also make sure they have the opportunity to develop those transferable skills. History is a great teacher, but it will not necessarily repeat itself. Always good to be ready, though!

NOTE: This content was originally posted as a thread on Twitter: https://twitter.com/StCyrThoughts/status/1458802830484119561

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