Routinely see 100% increases in total compensation for switching jobs. But I’ve never seen a 100% increase made internally even for a great performer on a team. Hoping we'll start to see change here, and that we see better designed incentives to keep people around. If you don't reward your employees, you're creating the revolving door for them to keep hopping around.
This is literally what happened for me a few days ago
I've started as a student working for minimal wage, but I had some not small experience with C#, but I've still been around beginner level
After 3.5 years I've gained shitton of experience (that was smaller company, so you do everything from software, to deploy, to support, etc) and meanwhile I graduated and been arguing about software on the internet for years
but my compensation was around 130% of minimal wage <LOL>
I decided to quit and multiplied my salary by around 3.4 - 3.5 times
and meanwhile I told my friend who had like month or two experience with C# from college, that he should apply there, told him to learn about databases/sql and do some C# programming for like a month - so basically we have really newbie with little experience (let alone commercial) and he received like 140-150% of minimal wage
ridiculous, ain't it? but I'm happy with both outcomes :)
The biggest fear (or risk?) a business owner might have is to be held hostage by a employee whose function/knowledge/skill is essential for business continuity. This gives the employee undue leverage, which lowers the profits, and allows said employee to extract close to 100% of the value they produce.
Therefore, a business would actually prefer a set of replaceable cogs rather than irreplaceable (but higher performing) employees. The business process could be adjusted so that the downsides of replaceable cogs is mitigated - such as strict processes or procedures and docs, or rely on technology that is can be easily hired for, rather than niche tech that would require finding a particular engineer with such knowledge of the niche tech (even if such niche tech is more productive!).
And this leads to the situation where employees' pay are market rate, but only at the time of hiring. Old employees, even tho they are experienced in the business's particular domain, aren't valued higher than a new hire.
I agree that's what they fear, just saying that they already wield 1000x the club the employee does.
That's why everyone quits is because it's literally the only action they can take. The only button employees have is the big red one.
How did the company do long term? Was it growing/successful/profitable?
If so, maybe high turnover worked for that particular business. Doesn't match up with what I've seen from software businesses in general, though.
Would be interesting to see if there was any research on the impact of attrition on business success.
There always is a barrier of changing things. Especially changing the job involves a lot of decisions and brings risk. The pay increase in the new job (and maybe a signing bonus) is trying to convince you to switch.
I guess what this means in the end is that you are seen as replaceable and are not valued enough. I heard similar statements from middle management once, when a bunch of junior colleagues left the team. They didn't realize that, although junior, they were doing a great job. It's funny because a good raise for them would still have been quite "cheap".
Choose to jump or not, but make an informed decision.
The biggest jump came in 2017-2018 when I moved to Washington, from $25/hr to $35/hr to $48/hr in 18 months and it increased again in 2020 when I moved to my current job.
Idk if I am extremely lucky or if I don't recognize the value my skills as well as my employers do. All I know if I am not averse to negotiating a little and that I keep my resume up to date and I test the waters from time to time just to see what's out there.
a 5% risk free return is not bad. I would actually say that if your job did not change over those decades, it might not make sense to get paid more than just matching inflation!
I've never really understood this line of thinking. Of course in retrospect now that all information is known, we can linearly quantify a per year rate of return as "non ideal".
But what is the point of that I wonder. This company took a chance on OP and they feel gratitude. This is enough imo.
> If you haven’t stayed in a fast-moving company for more than four years, there is a great experience you’re missing.
There is some amount of chance and experience involved in choosing a job in a company that is fast moving and gives you right amount of challenge to push oneself.
The unfortunate reality is that companies value outside talent a lot more than in house talent. So unless one does not switch jobs every 2+ yrs or so, you're significantly underpaid. This year inflation alone counts for ~ 7%. So, unless your compensation is not increased by that amount, you're taking a pay cut. IMO, the people who stay longer in a company are the ones who are not able to clear interviews. Obviously there are exceptions to it.
I am all for folks who want to engage themselves in new challenges. It takes effort to get good at breaking down complex problems and reason through first principles. If you stay in a team for too long, you'll eventually lose the ability to do so and rely on institutional knowledge to execute. Eventually, one stops innovating in such an environment.
I see some comments in the HN scorning at folks who move jobs every 2 yrs. I personally dont feel its a fair to blame employees, if the company cannot pay market salaries. I have no obligation to work for same salary when you bring an outside hire for 2x my salary.
In Canada, you become a veteran at 18 months it seems.
There are 2 types of companies:
One type will frequently re-evaluate compensation and prioritize employee retention. Compensation follows or exceeds market rate.
The other type will lock in compensation at hire time and try to skate by on 3% raises, or moderate raises at periodic promotions. Employee churn is high.
The latter type of company tends to be smaller shops run by older generations of managers who grew up in different times. They also tend to be unpleasant places to work for numerous reasons. But it's not really the norm in any modern tech company that knows what they're doing.
How many modern tech companies "know what they're doing" when it comes to retention though?
Why would you do that to yourself?
In saying that, I've stayed longer in some rolls than the money would imply, but that is because some places are amazing, and there is a lot to be said for a place which treats you well.
My first internship at Toyota barely paid anything (relative to a bay area internship), but I stuck around for 4 years because the work was interesting and fun. It helped hone my technical skills, and the value from networking from that job continues to pay off 12 years later.
Since I graduated, I've been at three different companies. I've stuck around to see projects through their hardest points, and only left for exciting new technical opportunities. The first one with the lowest salary has in time been worth the most in equity. The one with the highest salary has in time been worth the least, but the liquidity at that point in my life was nice. I took a huge salary cut when joining my current company, but I had a feeling that it was a good group of people. It's been almost 6 years now, and I can only describe my experience as an embarrassment of riches.
You could write my experience off as luck or individual talent, but I think a part of my success has come from my work ethic. I work to feel useful, solve interesting problems and create tangible value. It seems like if you focus on that, everything else tends to fall into place. A college age friend once joined a project I was on, as a remote contract technician. He asked me for advice on how to become a full time engineer. I told him to figure out how to be as productive as possible by automating his job away, and document it. He ended up being 4x more productive than the other techs getting paid 3x as much, and six months later was a full time employee with a bay area salary and equity.
Having never heard of this acronym before, I'd be curious to know how that list was put together. Is it a function of the size of their engineering teams, compensation, or something else? What would be the next company or two in line for this list?
Which in part is "number of engineering teams" rather than the size of any one of them.
You can change project / pay scale without changing company.
A few short jobs is not a problem, but when someone has a resume full of 12-month jobs and constant churn it's not a good sign. If you do have to hire a job hopper, you have to be careful to not put them on critical tasks or anything long-term because it's not like they're going to suddenly decide to stay at your company for 4 years when they couldn't do it anywhere else. It's not a mystery.
How come companies don't price that in accordingly then?
first job out of college- 2 years, left because I didn't want to work on legacy php anymore
second job - got laid off after one year(funnily enough I was hired on to contact 2 months after the lay off)
third - left after 3 years because the company was having payroll issues.
I've been at my current company for 1.5 years. I love it a lot but I'm seeing the market and could likely make 2x what I'm making now so I'm considering entering the job search to at least see what I'm actually worth to negotiate with my boss.
you would probably throw my resume in the trash but I feel like I left for legitimate reasons at all my jobs. do you have any suggestions to avoid being perceived as a job hopper
For example, if you are building a new e-commerce platform and can hire someone with 1.5 years of experience shipping a successful project at Shopify, you should do that. They will give you more than someone chipping away at a non e-commerce SaaS for a half dozen years.
Point is, context is key. But I can't speak to outside of the US.
Or as one of my colleagues so aptly put it, "SWEs are not fungible."
For some reasons, PM are thought to have a great understanding of both functionals and technicals of a solution, while at best, the only good they are at is navigating the organization and shielding the team.
So in a word, management is most likely useless and PM even more, especially if the management believes that a PM can handle a few projects at a time for cost saving (!).
I know you are venting, and even agreeing with me, but I wasn't trying to make this a SWE vs PM thing. The dynamic you describe hasn't been my experience, at least so far.
Wherever you work, I hope you find ways show the value of your work to your management chain too.
The longer you go without moving the more divorced from industry standard practices you are.
Worked at google for 10 years and can’t spin up a docker container to save your life?
Every organisation has their own internal stacks and the longer you spend using them the more productive you get and the less productive you’ll be without them.
So… you know. Just remember the longer you stay, the less able to move you become.
There’s good things about, but also risky things about it.
But I think this is a real big difference to the valley (or at least it was pre-covid) - first of all if you didn't want to move, then the job market was only good in a few places in the whole country (Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne region, Ruhrgebiet) - everywhere else it wasn't really possible to job hop willy nilly. Also we seem to value stability a lot more than Americans, which is not surprising per se, it's kinda hard to get rid of employees (which is a good thing imho) so if you bought a house or have a family, the status quo might be good enough. If YOU switch you have this 6 month period where you can be easily laid off.
Also the ranges weren't so big. As a medium-level developer the VAST majority was making between 40 and 100k. And probably more likely 50 than 90. I basically never heard of anyone doing +100% jumps. No big surprise in this range. I think it's changing, esp. with remote work - but I am still amazed every time I hear about these 300k salaries. Disclaimer: Have not talked to many people about salaries in a while, but a few years ago I'd say my experience wasn't too uncommon.
> If you’re leaving your company because the market is hot right now and your company can’t give you a raise that might not even change your life, then maybe you should question again.
If your company cannot afford to give you a raise, and that raise isn't excessive, then it sounds like the problem is still your current company.
My advice is the opposite: Make your decision on quantitative not qualitative measures. I've seen a lot of people leave a good position that pays well to go work in a technology or domain that they think will make them more satisfied in their career and then realize they left a team they enjoyed for one they didn't. If you are moving for $25k increase in salary, it makes the risk more tolerable.
I love my job, and give it 110% (and I don't even count in binary when I say that), but at the end of the day, it doesn't define me. It's a means to an end. I believe in the company and what we're building, and as such I'll stay until I retire. I'm not going to jump ship over pay.
For someone from Mexico (parable of Mexican fisherman and investment banker) it all looked extremely stressing.
After working in Germany and France for a bit, I realized that there are other cultures that value personal well being and work life balance way more than money. In the eyes of ultra-competitive cultures they may look lazy. But it's just that they have different priorities.
Personally, I hop about every two years. Work-life balance is super important to me, and I do not invest myself overly in my job. I have consistently scored 30-40% raises on those hops. The absolute best raise I've ever gotten internally was 14% and my boss (probably the best boss I've ever had) had to go to war for it. Even including that 14% raise and a 9% raise offered at an earlier job in similar circumstances (i.e. active fear of losing headcount after people started leaving), my average internal raise is still only around 7%. If you aren't moving, you're leaving a substantial amount of money on the table. That can be justified, but quality of life is not the justification that a lot of folks here seem to think it is.
I'm not sure this boiled down set of people is the set of people considering changing jobs very often, so I'm not sure who is left in the audience of this advice.
Are people really searching for jobs just because?
Change may end boredom or progressing burnout. Change is refreshing.
At my employer, employees typically stay less than 3 years, or basically retire with the company. There is very little attrition after 5 years. The company also provide continuous long term incentives once you reach certain level to retain talent. Annual increases outpace inflation, and there are reasonable promotion opportunities every few years (with corresponding compensation increases.) Good healthcare, Good vacation plan, 40hrs workweek, but mostly middle age people with families.
It's not FAANG money, but maybe 1.2 times national median income before bonus and 1.5 time national median after bonus and long term incentives.
But you don't then need to repeat this ad nauseam. Once you then go into your next job after your first long stint, you should instantly recognize the tradeoffs and be able to ascertain whether they were known or unknown. After a few years doing that, then you are probably ready to be staff level, although the likelihood of internal promotion is likely slim.
I'd say the ideal tenure history looks similar to (not precisely):
new grad > 1-2 years > 1-2 years > 5 years > 3 years > whatever
You need those quick hops initially to a) see at least a couple different work environments, and b) to get your salary up quickly, which is especially important early on. Then, yes, after 2-3 of those shorter stints you need at least one longer stint to gain the real wisdom that you didn't get with your early on "same year of experience multiple times". Then you need to hop again for both salary and promotion, and to see how your wisdom applies to another environment. After that, optimize for whatever your life wins and losses have guided you towards.
Of course (!) YMMV. Sh_t happens. Or you might have hit a lottery at your very first company. Who knows what else. I'm just suggesting what an "ideal" progression might look like, not considering how life throws things at you, or how companies vary in their quality making it bad to stick to some prescribed progression.
EDIT: I see the author actually followed (is following) my exact suggested trajectory. I find it a little odd then that the advice given doesn't capture that at all.
The title isn’t even really his argument, but most people are upvoting and discussing the title.
I don't doubt that engineers can hop from job to job making tremendous increases these days, although that wasn't my experience when I was a web developer in the late 2000s and early 2010s. I generally did get an increase, but it was not like "woo my salary doubles every time a recruiter sneezes on it," which is kind of the vibe HN has given off for the last five years or so. I'm not convinced that's a sustainable model for the industry long-term, though.
I suspect it's mostly personality differences that lead to the difference in motivation and thus longer tenures, and not so much the reverse where longer tenures causes different personalities.
I don't see a whole lot wrong with either changing jobs frequently or staying at one place. I know people on both ends of that spectrum, one guy I know started at a Japanese bank before the 87 crash and is still there, another guy has had 6 jobs in 12 years.
I would say go have a look now, though. Just to stay informed on what's out there and what people think your value is.
Its the sort of workplace where you start one day, stop and look up and suddenly its 10 years later.. you were so damned busy building a business that you never noticed the time go past, or that you somehow bought two houses and had two kids....
I've got a heap of long service leave as well.. I should consider taking it.
Please include time outside work spent studying for your next job.
I said this elsewhere in this thread, but in tech in the US, you can now live almost anywhere (except for SF/NYC/Seattle/maybe LA?), make an amount of money that will put you in the top 1-5% of wage earners wherever you are, and still have a pretty chill life. I don't know if that'll still be the case in five or ten years—there is so much money sloshing around right now, it's unreal—but for now, I think it's foolish not to try to catch the wave and bank as much as you can.
I wonder what he feels the difference between say 2yrs and 4yrs at the same company is, because it definitely seems possible to see and experience the things he's talking about in less than 4yrs.
My question is - is it consistent even after 10 years of doing so? Or is it just first 2-3 times you see 300% raise and you don't know what will happen next time?
We will see how it goes in the future, but I have a hard time believing that one can truly develop high level skills by switching annually.