Why hasn't tech pay risen in the UK? Why hasn't tech pay risen in the UK?
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  1. #1

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    Default Why hasn't tech pay risen in the UK?

    I was born, bred & educated in the UK, but left for Canada a couple of years into my career for better jobs and opportunities.

    When I left the UK nearly 20 years ago, Canadian salaries were about 20-30% higher than the UK for comparable positions. Over the years, particularly the last 5 or so, I've seen North American engineering salaries increase at quite a pace, but I just don't see this happening in the UK. Salaries in my field (embedded software / high-tech) seem stuck at £50-60k tops, whereas the differential to the US/Canada is now close to 100%. Taking approximate local living costs and working hours into account

    The cost-of-living seems to have increased at a comparable pace, perhaps even more so in the UK. The exchange rate has varied in that time, but I would have expected pay and costs to adjust accordingly over time to match.

    It's puzzling.

    I hope this doesn't come across as vulgar - that's really not my intent, it's an honest question. I'm curious as to why.

    A few reasons I can think of, with no particular evidence to back it up:

    (1) EU membership - whenever workers demand more money, cheaper labour from eastern Europe comes in instead, depressing salaries. During the great recession US & Canada temporarily closed it's doors to some skilled workers from abroad to protect its' labour market. While not a popular decision in some quarters, it was a necessary short-term measure to protect the standard of living.

    (2) Lack of free-market mindset - Americans are more likely to proudly vote-with-their-feet on money. Whereas Brits like to just grumble and moan, but carry-on regardless.

    (3) Is there some kind of tax-credit or tax-bracket thing going on that I'm not aware of, dis-incentivising moving jobs for higher pay, or stopping companies paying more?

    (4) Geographic spread. North American markets are typically focused in several mega-cities meaning it's easier to change jobs without moving home, meaning less workforce 'inertia'. The UK, on the other hand, seems to have the jobs spread out, meaning that changing jobs from say, Bristol to Cambridge, will likely result in house and school moves also, and therefore less likely to happen.

    I'm curious, what are peoples thoughts?
    Last edited by v6g; 30th May 2020 at 14:47.

  2. #2

    Respect my authoritah!

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    Concerted effort by the UK government to allow Indian companies to bring resources in cheaply.
    Down with racism. Long live miscegenation!

  3. #3

    Contractor Among Contractors


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    North America embraces entrepreneurship. The UK embraces the old boys club and pushing down wages for the benefit of the priviledged by making it easier to offshore roles to cheaper countries.

    North American people typically stand up for themselves. UK people are, generally, disinterested, bordering on stupid, and will continue to vote for those that tell them what they want to hear.
    Last edited by Paralytic; 30th May 2020 at 18:26.

  4. #4

    Fingers like lightning


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    Sadly both responses to this thread have been spot on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paralytic View Post
    UK people are, generally, disinterested, bordering on stupid, and will continue to vote for those that tell them what they want to hear.
    Sadly the above is so true.
    Last edited by ShandyDrinker; 31st May 2020 at 08:45.

  5. #5

    More time posting than coding


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    Disinterested is usually a great thing to be. Uninterested, on the other hand...

  6. #6

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    Because egg-head embedded programmers are not that special/skilled like a engineer or doctor


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  7. #7

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    Average IT salaries in Canada aren't particularly high.

    IT salary - Average salary

    Just like in any country there will be hot sectors. In the UK that is Finance, in Canada that is probably some sector that involves embedded software. It's true that in the UK embedded development job are not well paid, but then there aren't really any outstanding companies in that sector. I used to work on embedded software projects a long time ago before offshoring and it was badly paid then too.
    Last edited by BlasterBates; 31st May 2020 at 10:37.
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  8. #8

    Contractor Among Contractors


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    is the Tech sector different to any other sectors? I started contracting in 2008 and I suspect if I returned to permanent employment I would be lucky to get £5k more than I was earning then. As people have said the industry got flooded with outsources in the interim.

    That said I am not sure many sectors in the economy are that different.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by SussexSeagull View Post
    is the Tech sector different to any other sectors? I started contracting in 2008 and I suspect if I returned to permanent employment I would be lucky to get £5k more than I was earning then. As people have said the industry got flooded with outsources in the interim.

    That said I am not sure many sectors in the economy are that different.
    The OP is suggesting that he can pick up embedded software jobs for $170000 in Canada.

    This is a more typical advert for embedded software in Canada.

    Embedded Software Engineer Jobs, Employment - May 2020 | Indeed.com

    Salary$$55,000 to $75,000YEAR annually for 40 hours per week
    I'm alright Jack

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paralytic View Post
    North America embraces entrepreneurship. The UK embraces the old boys club and pushing down wages for the benefit of the priviledged by making it easier to offshore roles to cheaper countries.

    North American people typically stand up for themselves. UK people are, generally, disinterested, bordering on stupid, and will continue to vote for those that tell them what they want to hear.
    Quote Originally Posted by SussexSeagull View Post
    is the Tech sector different to any other sectors? I started contracting in 2008 and I suspect if I returned to permanent employment I would be lucky to get £5k more than I was earning then. As people have said the industry got flooded with outsources in the interim.

    That said I am not sure many sectors in the economy are that different.
    Precisely this. Every time I've felt weak and considered permie roles I am always shocked that salaries haven't moved on in 12 years since I started contracting, also in 2008. If anything, I suspect I suspect they're lower.

    We're in for tough times ahead and with an emergency budget, now mooted for July, I can only wonder how much more of a kicking the contracting sector is going to get then.

    The retraining plans I've been reading about won't fix any problems. You need people opening businesses and more to the point having the confidence to open businesses.
    Last edited by ShandyDrinker; 1st June 2020 at 07:00.

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