Job market

Developers aren’t overpaid (despite what you might think)

By Oliver Smith 27 June 2016
Summary

They’re worth every penny.

Graduates leaving uni with a computer science degree can expect to get some of the highest paid jobs in Britain, boasting an average pay of £41,950.

Meanwhile, developers are in high demand these days, with the shortage of these skilled professionals thought to be pushing wages up even further.

But are developers really overpaid?

We asked Hired’s European head of sales Sophie Adelman to see what the developer-focused job site has discovered about pay.

Read more: Hired has used big data to crack the science of hiring

Overpaid or priceless?

“We haven’t actually seen that, the average salary in the UK since I’ve been at Hired has remained roughly £55,000,”  Adelman told The Memo.

“Obviously, we don’t see every single salary out there. But we do see tens of thousands of candidates. And of these, £55,000 for a mid-level developer hasn’t moved very much.”

Interestingly when you compare the salary of a developer with someone with the equivalent level of experience and education in other sectors like finance or medicine, their pay is practically the same.

“If you take a junior developer graduating from a top university, they would probably looking for a starting salary somewhere between £30,000 and £35,000.”

“For someone going into a bank as a financial analyst with a bachelor degree, they would be looking for £30,000 to £35,000 depending on which institution they go into.”

And, unlike those bankers and analysts, developers rarely get paid the kinds of huge bonuses and kickbacks common in finance.

Overhyped instead?

“I find it’s interesting how people talk about how tech is where the economy is going, how developers are so in-demand, how there is a lack of candidates out there, yet we haven’t seen developer salaries skyrocket,” says Adelman.

“In my opinion [developers] are quite underpaid. Lots of them have double degrees and many have been working for 10 years.”

So where does the fallacy about overpaid developers come from?

The most likely explanation is because we don’t think of good developers being worth the equivalent of good doctors or good lawyers.

If a small business or startup with a shoestring budget needs to hire a developer, that single employee could easily be their single most expensive outlay.

“But they are so so necessary, today you can’t run a business without them.”