Salary Survey Extra: Additional data about salary satisfaction, Part 1
Posted on
March 30, 2023

Salary Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.


Do you find your IT salary to be satisfactory?

It was just 35 years ago that one of American cinema's more auspicious acting careers was launched by a movie about an all-female band attempting to spread its wings by playing a seasonal gig at a Florida club. The band includes a demure bass guitarist played by a young nobody named Julia Roberts — who was not the star of the movie at the time, but, well, everyone knows who she is now.

The movie is called Satisfaction, which is something that most people want out of life, and which has a lot of moving parts. One element of overall satisfaction is career satisfaction, and that can absolutely be influenced by how well one is paid to do what one does. Even if you like what you do, if you aren't being paid well or fairly to do it, then there's a strong likelihood that you will ultimately move on to something different.

Maybe it will be a different job, or even a different career. It can at times be hard to tell whether you are truly satisfied by your work, but most people have little or no trouble zeroing on whether they are satisified with how much they earn. IT workers as a whole, of course, tend to have good reason to be satisfied with their salaries, and many of them are.

As noted in our January issue, 72 percent of certified IT pros who participated in our most recent Salary Survey are either completely satisfied with their compensation (8.7 percent), very satisfied (25.4 percent), or at least satisfied (37.7 percent). The rest were either not very satisfied (21.6 percent of those surveyed) or not at all satisfied (6.5 percent).

If we look beyond the black-or-white breakdown — 72 percent = some level of yea vs. 28 percent = some level of nay — however, there are some interesting ways to further dissect salary satisfaction. For example:

All U.S. Respondents
Completely Satisfied — 11 percent
Very Satisfied — 29.8 percent
Satisfied — 39.4 percent
Not very satisfied — 16.3 percent
Not At All Satisfied — 3.5 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Completely Satisfied — 6 percent
Very Satisfied — 20 percent
Satisfied — 35.9 percent
Not very satisfied — 28 percent
Not At All Satisfied — 10.1 percent

Whether certified IT professionals live and work in the United States or find themselves elsewhere in the world, there’s a fair-to-decent chance that they are happy with what they earn — but maybe not thrilled. On the other hand, U.S. workers are more likely to be excessively satisfied, while those outside the United States are more likely to see themselves as being paid less than they deserve.

You might also argue that certified IT professionals who are nearing the end of their working years are likely to have larger salaries than younger workers and therefore be more satisfied. We can look at that as well:

All U.S. Respondents

Age / Salary Satisfaction Completely Satisfied Very Satisfied Satisfied   Not Very Satisfied Not At All Satisfied Percentage of all respondents in this age group
18 or younger N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
19 to 24 5.9 percent 14.3 percent 40.3 percent 34.5 percent 5 percent 2.7 percent
25 to 34 8.2 percent 31.5 percent 43 percent 13.9 percent 3.4 percent 30.1 percent
35 to 44 10.3 percent 32.9 percent 37.2 percent 16.5 percent 3.1 percent 34.4 percent
45 to 54 15.5 percent 26.4 percent 36.4 percent 17.7 percent 4 percent 20.8 percent
55 to 64 12.2 percent 27.4 percent 42 percent 15.9 percent 2.5 percent 9.9 percent
65 to 74 15.5 percent 20.2 percent 44.1 percent 13.1 percent 7.1 percent 1.9 percent
75 or older N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

2023 Survey Data

So there are a couple of small zigs where zags might be expected. The percentage of survey participants between the ages of 55 and 64, for example, is higher than for any other age cohort. On the whole, however, the basic supposition that people tend to be more satisfied with their earning power as they get older (and hence more experienced and eligible for higher pay) is borne out among U.S. tech workers.

All Non-U.S. Respondents

Age / Salary Satisfaction Completely Satisfied Very Satisfied Satisfied   Not Very Satisfied Not At All Satisfied Percentage of all respondents in this age group
18 or younger N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
19 to 24 8.6 percent 23.8 percent 26.2 percent 28.1 percent 13.3 percent 7.2 percent
25 to 34 5 percent 22.1 percent 33.8 percent 27.1 percent 12 percent 33.2 percent
35 to 44 7 percent 17.6 percent 37.5 percent 29 percent 8.9 percent 34.3 percent
45 to 54 4.2 percent 18.7 percent 39.4 percent 27.9 percent 9.8 percent 19.2 percent
55 to 64 7 percent 18.8 percent 40.3 percent 29.6 percent 4.3 percent 5.2 percent
65 to 74 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
75 or older N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

2023 Survey Data

When it comes to being Not Very Satisfied and Not At All Satisfied, the younger workers here are only generally quite a bit more frustrated than their U.S. counterparts. And actually, there’s a strong core of Not Very Satisfied workers at every age level here. High levels of satisfaction, where they do exist, are largely more prominent among the older workers, just as in the United States. Youth and beauty, it would seem, still hasn’t cracked the code on how to defeat old age and treachery.

There are a handful of other ways the would be interesting to slice things up here, so we’ll probably have more to say about this topic in at least one future Salary Survey Extra installment. Stay tuned.


About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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