Software Development

Mirroring national trends, Philly tech salaries don’t appear to be booming

That runs counter to the many anecdotes we're hearing from founders and HR pros. Take a look at the data.

The median salary of a software engineer in Philadelphia is $116,000. (Image via

The plural of anecdote is data.

Stories of surging comp packages to hire software engineers with a rising U.S. economy should show up in the salary data. We at haven’t found it — at least not yet. Following this story on nationwide salary data showing stable tech salaries, we tried a more localized look.

DataPhilly founder Michael Becker shared with an inflation-adjusted analysis of salary data for the Philadelphia metro region. The median salary of a software engineer in Philadelphia has remained fairly steady at $116,000 in recent years — which is relatively low for a big metro area, though it fits this low-cost city. Prominent startup founders like Bob Moore have argued that as a competitive advantage. But that salary distribution is wide, and we keep hearing from CEOs and HR pros that something has changed in the last six months, amid the disruption of the last 15 months.

Though a limited data set, the draw of is its recency. Becker was able to look at salaries as recent as June. Though nationwide he was pulling from 30,000 data points, the Philadelphia-specific spread has just 300. (You can see the noise in April 2020 when the spread of salaries was at its widest.)

Check it out:

bar chart showing limited salary change for engineers over recent years

(Image via

The point so far is that we aren’t yet seeing the anecdotes show up in data. This belies what one software CEO told me recently: He’s facing several mid-level and senior departures from pros who were scooped up by bigger tech companies with more flexible remote hiring policies. All landed big salary increases that stretched his budget.

One of two things appear to be happening. This is still too new to show up in the data, or these are not widespread. Email or DM if you’re seeing this yourself — I’m at or @christopherwink.

Series: Culture Builder
People: Culture Builder / Michael Becker / Michael Becker / Robert Moore

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