Tech Workers Forego Higher Salaries Amid Layoff Crisis

As job insecurity in the tech industry spikes, employees are prioritizing well-being over hefty paychecks.

Is the golden era for tech salaries over? New research from Blind suggests it might be, with 56% of workers reported to be willing to accept equal or less pay due to surging job uncertainty and crowded labor markets.

Big tech layoffs, like the ones seen by Google and Meta, aren’t the only driving forces behind these changes though, with company culture, a healthy work-life balance, and remote options being prioritized over hefty paychecks more than ever before.

But all workers aren’t in consensus, so read on to learn what Blind’s survey reveals about the current state of tech’s workforce.

56% of Tech Workers Are Willing to Forego Higher Pay

Over the years, big tech has earned a reputation for its high-flying salaries, flexible practices, and endless supply of perks.

However, a new survey from the career community Blind suggests that tech’s prosperous era could be coming to an end, with the majority (56%) of tech workers claiming that they would accept a role that pays equal to or less than their current salary provided the role fulfills another unmet need.

According to the survey, which collected responses from 7,322 tech workers, out of this group, 45% cite the turbulent job market as the reason for forgoing better pay.

But the challenging labor market and recent wave of layoffs — which have already claimed 200,000 jobs — aren’t the only motivations.

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Primary Reason for Accepting Equal or Less Pay in a New Role, Blind Survey
While large pay packets have long been considered the primary pull for potential recruits, growing portions of tech workers are prioritizing other factors that contribute to their job satisfaction and overall quality of life.

For instance, 19% of workers are willing to sacrifice inflating salaries for a positive company culture, while remote working options and career growth opportunities remain other top priorities.

“I would trade toxicity for a lower paycheck.” – Anonymous, verified Salesforce employee on Blind

According to Dave Carhart, VP of advisory services at workplace platform Lattice, these results reinforce that “compensation doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but rather as one part of a larger value proposition”.

And as workers reconfigure their values, these changes relieve some financial pressure from companies seeking recruits, while forcing them to place greater onus on certain issues like work-life balance, flexible working, and career progression. But certain demographics of tech workers are more willing to take pay cuts than others, as we explore next.

Which Tech Workers Are Taking the Biggest Salary Cuts?

According to Blind’s survey, junior workers with two to five years of industry experience are the most likely to drop their salary requirements, closely followed by mid-level workers with five to ten years under their belt.

This fluctuation could be driven by a number of factors, from an oversupply of mid-level talent in the job market to previously inflated salaries for workers mid senior workers.

“Engineers in top metros, such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and New York, have seen a larger drop—between 10% and 12% year-over-year, on average.” – Blind survey 

Software engineers in major tech hubs like Silicon Valley, Seattle, and New York have fallen victim to the largest decline in salary expectations, with a medium decrease rate averaging at 10% year-on-year. This suggests that the job market has been hit particularly hard within these competitive geographies.

It’s true that the stocks of major tech companies already showing signs of improvement and hiring will pick up within the industry soon. However, as the sector continues to reel from widespread layoffs, and workers shift their focus towards workplace wellbeing, it’s likely that we’re past the heyday of Silicon Valley’s exorbitant salaries.

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Written by:
Isobel O'Sullivan (BSc) is a senior writer at with over four years of experience covering business and technology news. Since studying Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also worked as a freelance tech researcher. Isobel’s always up to date with the topics in employment and data security and has a specialist focus on POS and VoIP systems.
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