Salary Snapshot- Software Developer
Updated: Sep 20
Let’s talk money!
This month we’re sharing salary insights based on data collected from October 2020 - January 2021 for Software Developers/Software Engineers. The data includes Technical Leads and Team Leads but not management or above. With a shortage of developers locally, we know our clients are eager to learn about developer compensation, how to stay competitive, and where market rates are going.
As a recruitment partner to Canadian tech companies, we work with start-up and scale-up leaders across the board, including those growing their technical teams. To support these engineering leaders, we’ve compiled compensation data to guide expectations, budgeting, and finding top tier talent.
We’re often asked, “What do you see as the market rate for this role?” and since we know the answers - we thought we’d share our insights with you!
This is valuable (and often unavailable) information that can help your budgeting and create competitive compensation packages. And, if you’re on the hunt for your next challenge, we hope you’ll find this useful in the negotiation process.
What are you looking at?
We know compensation varies by location, by experience, and by title - so we chose to analyse the data as such. Based on 49 developer salaries collected since October 2020, we found some strong trends.
Keep in mind, we support engineering leaders and organizations looking for the cream of the crop - the best of the best. Our sample is for product-oriented tech companies, with talent who’s demonstrated staying power. Consider these numbers the top 20-25% of the market - which, in most cases, is exactly what you’re looking for.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
To be expected, with more experience comes more compensation - but the biggest jump was between 6-10 years and 11-15 years. Starting salaries for developers is incredibly high, and very quickly within their career, many earn close to the $100K mark.
The location trends are to be expected as well - the further you move away from the GTA, the lower compensation is, on average. That reflects cost of living in their respective cities, and this is especially important for companies hiring remote talent. If compensation bands are a roadblock within your organization, consider hiring from smaller cities or from clusters further away from the core. For example, London developers make significantly less in all “experience” categories compared to Toronto developers.
Lastly, we can see that Technical Leads and Team Leads are the highest income earners in our research (again, this doesn’t include management or above).
Remember - this is the developer’s current compensation. In other words, there’s a high chance they expect about a 10% increase in compensation for a new opportunity in a lateral move. If you’re hiring a Technical Lead and you expect them to have experience as a Technical Lead, anticipate average compensation to be around $153K ($139K average, 10% increase).
We don’t recommend hiring talent that’s looking to move only because they want a pay bump, unless they feel they’re significantly underpaid currently. Motivations should vary and run deeper than pure compensation.
Equity is also a great lever if cash compensation becomes tricky. We’ve seen a variety of bonus structures as well: We find that a 5-10% discretionary bonus based on the company achieving their goals is normal, and often expected.
Our snapshots are not typical salary surveys - as they represent only the data we’ve collected from a handful of recent searches. We think it’s pretty useful though, as it represents current information from a sample of individuals who we’ve carefully selected as having credible and validated experience, with successful local companies.
What’s behind the data?
Each Salary Snapshot represents between 20 – 50 sources.
Each source is an individual who we deemed a promising candidate for a role within a high growth tech company. Most are gainfully employed and many were recommended as exceptionally talented. As a result, our salary numbers might be skewed towards the top of the range.
We elected not to show compensation figures related to equity or options. It’s not a significant aspect of the compensation package for technical talent, and it’s often tough to put an annual $ value on equity.
Specific details that would identify an individual or their employer will not be shared for obvious reasons.