Tech salaries stretch the farthest in Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta, according to a recent analysis published by the job site Indeed.com.
Silicon Valley has long been known as the tech capital of the country. Of the 15 top tech companies rated by LinkedIn, 13 are based in California. Charlotte and Atlanta may not be home to as many tech giants, but they boast the best salaries for tech workers when adjusted for the cost of living .
For job seekers willing to relocate, initial salary numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Charlotte and Atlanta’s raw salary numbers, not adjusted for the cost of living, land them below the top 10 cities. Most cities with significant numbers of jobs in the tech sector are expensive. So while these jobs may pay well, a city’s high cost of living can diminish the buying power of otherwise attractive paychecks.
For a tech worker in New York City, his or her $112,101 average salary may sound good, but New York is only number 23 in the adjusted salary rankings.
Austin, San Francisco, Seattle and San Jose take the next four spots on Indeed’s list.
Of these four cities, Indeed chief economist Jed Kolko says, “What was striking to me was how close those four tech hubs are. These are cities that, in some ways, compete with each other.
San Francisco and San Jose have far more jobs available in a variety of tech fields and have competitive adjusted salaries, Kolko notes.”Even accounting for the higher cost of living, these cities still have higher salaries than other places,” he says.
San Jose and San Francisco rank at the top for unadjusted salaries, at $126,937 and $125,233 respectively.
“Even though the Bay Area has a higher cost of living, the tech salaries are just high enough to almost exactly offset the higher cost of living,” Kolko says.
The information collected for Indeed’s analysis is based on salaries and job postings on the Indeed site from August 2016 to July 2017, according to Kolko. He used a regression model to look at the differences in salaries for various tech jobs. This information then was used to obtain “an overall average salary for a metro that reflects how much you would make in a typical tech job,” he says.
Indeed’s information was adjusted based on a Bureau of Economic Analysis index called regional price parities. “That information takes into account cost of living differences across metros for all goods and services,” Kolko says.
Dallas, Raleigh, Detroit and Phoenix round out the top ten cities.
“You are learning that, for the typical tech job, what the difference in salary is that you should expect in different metros,” Kolko says.
But it seems clear that even given those salary differences, tech dreamers should still think of heading to the Bay Area.
Average salaries, adjusted for cost of living
1. Charlotte, NC ($ 108, 178)
2. Atlanta, GA ($104, 454)
3. Austin, TX ($103, 914)
4. San Francisco, CA ($102, 734)
5. Seattle, WA ($102, 730)
6. San Jose, CA ($102, 286)
7. Dallas, TX ($101, 649)
8. Raleigh, NC ($100, 748)
9. Detroit, MI ($100,713)
10. Phoenix, AX ($99,910)