As Tech Salaries Outpace National Growth, Crossboarding Gains Popularity

By Chelsea Babin

Salaries are on the rise across the United States, according to a new study from SmartAsset. But technical professionals are seeing more rapid salary growth than many other professionals. The national STEM income average is $73,487, which is well ahead of many major city’s average salary level, even those who have seen significant overall income jumps in both 2016 and 2017. For example, Miani, who saw the biggest salary bump this year on average at 16%, still has an average household income level of only $34,900, a whopping $38,457 less than the average STEM income level nationally.

So, despite overall salary increases in the United States, technical salaries are seeing growth that outpaces national averages. The shortage of technical talent and the increasing need for specialized, technical skillsets has top technical talent across the nation earning and demanding more money than ever before. But it does depend where you live. The only cities that didn’t see technical salary growth this year were Silicon Valley and New York, where technical salaries are already high and staying fairly steady. Many top technical professionals are fleeing to emerging tech hubs like Dallas and Orange County where they can see their tech salaries climb.

As for employers who want to retain their technical talent, creating an engaging career path with forward momentum for these professionals isn’t always easy. Some companies don’t have room for growth into senior, lead, or management positions. But, even if your organization has room for that kind of growth, not every technical employee is interested in managing or leading others. However, one of the most effective methods of retention is internal promotion and growth. To tackle this unique challenge and retain their top technical talent, many employers are opting to promote “crossboarding”. This boosts their retention efforts by offering their current employees new roles that aren’t exactly promotions, more like lateral moves, but allow employees to use their existing skills to tackle new challenges and opportunities.

As technology becomes deeply rooted in every corner of every business, talented technical professionals will become increasingly hard to find and keep around. Keeping up to pace with rapid salary increases is important but “crossboarding” is also effective because you’re embedding talented technical professionals in cross-functional teams or cross-functional positions. This can allow these in-demand professionals a way to stretch their skillsets and learn new things while utilizing their existing technical experience, which will keep them at your company for longer periods of time, reducing the amount of money and time you need to spend on hiring new technical talent.