UK vs US: A Technology Salary Review

5 mins

Job opportunities are no longer limited.

Previously, the technology market was seen as exclusive and challenging to break into - today, it seems there’s an open position for everyone.

The technology candidate market in the US and UK

Talent shortages are affecting thousands of businesses worldwide.

A candidate-driven market has formed, where high competition for available jobseekers is increasing average salaries at an exponential rate.
Recruiters have had to go to extreme efforts to secure job interest in a world where the power dynamic has changed hands.

“Companies aren't finding the quantity, or quality, of applicants they're accustomed to. Job postings get fewer responses. With this competition for talent happening, companies need to rethink what they did before the pandemic.”

- Forbes

Because of this, hiring efforts have shifted. 

Tech organisations have negotiated their expectations, selecting candidates based on potential rather than experience. The offer of “training on the job” has become an attractive benefit to employees on the hunt for vast career potential.
However, these aren’t the only trends that are reshaping the technology recruitment climate.

The surge in technology candidate mobility in the US and UK

Rather than only looking for employment in their local area, technology workers have become increasingly mobile in the past few years.

This is because of two factors:

  1. A rise in flexible, remote working that allows them to find the perfect work-life balance. 

  2. The international investment that’s driving the success of specific industry hubs like Austin, Texas (Source: Best Colleges).

Regardless, it’s clear that candidates are chasing the life of their dreams, and are tapping into the international market where thousands of open positions await. 

“Amid the seemingly endless pandemic and a dramatic rise in remote work, the ability to work from anywhere is a game-changer in the technology industry. 

For job seekers, the market now is wide open and without geographic barriers. For employers seeking to hire, the now worldwide talent pool means more competition to recruit candidates.” 

- Forbes

What does the international recruitment market mean for tech businesses?

Over the last few months, qualified employees have been on the hunt for rewarding work in increasingly popular tech hubs like the UK and US and Germany.

Businesses should view this as the incredible opportunity it is. 

As talent decides which country is calling their name, HR managers can sway an optimal decision by making the perfect offer. To do so, firms need to start setting salaries that compete on a global scale (Source: Fortune).

Average UK vs US salaries (specialist roles)

How much do you know about the salaries offered by your international competitors? 

Before, it might not have mattered, but now, this knowledge could prove crucial to your recruitment efforts. 

Even businesses that are based in a different country could be networking with the exact same talent as you.

OHO’s analysis

In both the software and Semi-Conductor job markets, there’s a clear winner…

As it stands, specialist employees could be earning double if they moved to the United States. 

An example of this is that a Senior Firmware Engineer could earn £55,000 or $160,000, depending on their location.

Following this, most people in traditional OO programming roles such as  Java, Python, and Ruby, regardless of their skill level and leadership responsibility - will find themselves with a significantly higher earning potential in the US.

However, it’s not all bad news for the UK. Their technology opportunities are booming.

While on average, a qualified Linux Kernel Engineer can expect to earn around £70,000, we have seen recent offers of a £200,000 pay package.

This suggests that talent competition is already increasing salary averages across the country.

A Senior C++ Developer could be earning 40% more in the UK if they wait for the right opportunity.

Further, an organisation’s Lead Full Stack Engineer Technology Lead might find themselves with better prospects in the United Kingdom - earning up to £70,000 (compared to $98,000 in the US). 

OHO’s conclusion

Overall, average salaries for specialist technology positions vary quite drastically between the UK and the US. 

This wasn’t always the case and many of the differences have been accentuated by the decline of the GBP in recent months.

Due to this, the US market (as a whole) is looking like a winner for international job seekers. 

In particular, jobs in the software, Embedded and Cloud sectors are leading the way for employees wanting rewarding and exciting careers - where earning potential is increasing dramatically.

Which job market is more appealing?

Still, that doesn’t cover all the bases.

We can't simply compare the US and UK job markets by which offers the biggest salary. 

Other factors need to be taken into account, including:

  1. Cost of living

  2. Exchange rates

  3. Company benefits

  4. Quality of life

  5. Opportunities available

As both countries face drastic market changes and high levels of investment, it's up to each individual to decide where they are drawn towards. 

In the meantime, companies should look to widen their recruitment horizons and take advantage of candidate mobility.

Recruiting through OHO

We pride ourselves on being the meeting place where exceptional talent can connect with fascinating opportunities.

We’re excited to be driving UK and US innovation. Where there’s a plan, we have the people.

We’re an established and respected consultancy that offers a range of specialist services to a broad spectrum of clients and candidates within the IT, Electronic Engineering, Finance and Consultancy sectors.

Find your next big innovator through us.

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