Salary Survey Extra: Bigger (employer) is better?
Posted on
March 17, 2017

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Does the size of your employer impact salary?

There are many different jobs in IT. In the course of your tech career, you are likely to work for a handful of different employers. You might work for a global tech firm that manages 50,000 jobs around the world. You might work for a start-up that has 13 total employees. At times, you might be your own employer, using your IT know-how to juggle the needs of a handful of clients.

Companies and organizations have different resources and limitations. There are many, many factors that could contribute to determining whether you get a six-figure salary, or $63,000 a year. Does your employer have a rigid salary scale that indexes pay by years or service? Does your job role involve commissions, bonuses or other performance targets? Does your employer determine salary by seniority?

One thing that is likely a factor is the size of the company or organization that you work for. The size of an employer can insulate it from losses. A large employer may often have more resources, and a greater diversity of revenue streams. Sometimes small or mid-size firms are less susceptible to the cost-cutting demands of investors (if, indeed, they are beholden to stock prices at all).

We do get some data from Salary Survey respondents about the companies and organizations they work for. So this week we looked at overall organizational size (as indicated by total headcount) to see whether there's a corresponding salary trend. We've kept a narrow focus here, looking only at survey data from respondents who live and work in the United States. Here's what we learned:

Total Employer Headcount Percentage of U.S. Survey Respondents Who Work for an Employer This Size Average Annual Salary (U.S.)
More than 10,000 36.6 percent $118,900
5,001 to 10,000 10.2 percent $115,770
1,001 to 5,000 19.3 percent $113,930
501 to 1,000 6.2 percent $103,830
201 to 500 8.9 percent $109,250
51 to 200 9.2 percent $108,060
11 to 50 6.4 percent $96,740
1 to 10 3.2 percent $89,430

2016 Salary Data

It's interesting to note that nearly half (46.8 percent) of those surveyed work for organizations that employ at least 5,000 individuals. That may be an indicator of where U.S. IT jobs tend to be most prevalent. If you find yourself looking for work in the near future, then you might be well advised to concentrate your search on large companies and organizations.

It would also appear that the best salary prospects are available from large employers. Whether it's a state or federal agency, a university, a large multinational corporation — deep pockets, it would seem, are the source of the highest salaries.

On the other hand, it's worth noting that you can work for mid-size and small employers all the way down to the level of organizations with between 51 and 200  employees and still have pretty promising salary prospects. It's only at the very bottom of the organizational pile, with the smallest of the small, where the average annual salary falls below six figures. And even then, the average numbers are pretty nice.

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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