How to get a raise in this market
TC is down 15%+ in tech
Exclusive: Tech pay is down 15%+
Paid Corner: How to negotiate in this market
EXCLUSIVE: Tech Compensation Is Down
Inflation clocked in at 5% in March 2023. Did you get a 5% raise?
For most tech workers, no. Most of you got a 15% drop in total compensation. Here’s the story no one else is talking about.
Total Compensation (TC) Is Down Across Tech - Especially PM
Here’s a smattering of recent experiences from your fellow readers:
Coinbase PMs and other tech roles saw a 20% pay cut this year.
A Director of Product revealed his series C company's leadership took a 20% cut amid the layoffs frenzy late last year.
A public company VP of Product is earning >$150K less than last year due to a reduced RSU refresher and lower stock price.
Out of 10 recently laid-off big tech PMs, only three didn't take a pay cut (total compensation) at their new job.
Another PM gets half his TC from RSUs and his company’s stock is down 60% from his grant price.
So, the anecdotes seem clear. But, where’s the data?
One of the best data sources for this information is Carta. They do the cap tables for many startups. Last November, they released a pretty infographic from April to September 2022.
It seemed curious, though, because they didn’t release the equity side of the equation. Equity is where many people are seeing the largest hit. This is from two sources:
Decreased share prices: Most tech workers are selling shares at below their grant price.
Smaller refresher grants: In the zero interest-rates environment, companies were able to print dilutive shares. In today’s market conditions, grants are getting smaller.
So, I was very keen to hear more from Carta. They did give us another update in November, which teased the tide turning to full on decline:
But it was still about salary, not total comp. And, since then, the data hose has seemed dry. Most observers missed that Carta had any updates, but I dug up the data.
Subtly, last month, in a tweet with ZERO likes and a mere 900 views, Carta gave us the latest update:
Equity is down 15% and salaries are down 1%. This tracks with the anecdotes your fellow readers shared above. Overall, on average, tech workers are taking a 16% hit.
The top employees still have leverage
Now, let’s twist the knife in the story. At the same time that companies are laying off, they are also giving out raises to their top performers.
What? Why? Studies show that about half the amount of people the company laid off eventually leave voluntarily after. Smart HR departments know this.
So, they want to minimize the chances that their best employees leave. Some companies even reserve space in the layoff budget. They allocate some of the saved salaries on laid-off employees to reallocate to raises to the highest performers.
Two of your fellow readers got them:
“I suspect that I am under-leveled at work. But, despite a recent 15% layoff, two months later they gave me a 6% raise.”
“Despite the layoff, I got a higher raise this year than last. It seems they now realize I am essential.”
So, if you’re a high performer and your company is doing well financially, a 15% hit to your total comp is not a given. With inflation is at 5%, that’s a 20% hit overall.
In today’s paid corner, we’ll cover:
How to negotiate your salary in this inflationary, down market
The exact positioning you should use with your boss and leadership
Templates to walk you through tough conversations and notes
Even if this newsletter edition increases your expected value of a raise by 10%, that will pay for an annual subscription (your raise will be more than $150).
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Product Growth to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.