Inside Look


Wednesday March 20 2019

What Would You Get Paid in San Francisco? Tech Salaries in Sydney vs Silicon Valley.

Written by Akshay Sachdeva

November 22, 2017

For skilled tech candidates in Sydney, there are a lot of job opportunities. The city ranks 10th in the world for funding, 12th for talent and 13th for global market reach according to The Startup Genome Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report 2017.

Like Sydney, San Francisco is a beautiful coastal city. South of the Californian hot spot, Silicon Valley has driven massive growth to the region. It has long been the epicentre of the tech industry.

As two very different cities at opposite ends of the world, with varying costs of living and a huge difference in size and density,  it wouldn’t be wise to draw direct comparisons between the two when looking at salaries you may expect working in tech.

However, we thought it useful to look at the roles in significant demand and set them up side by side, allowing us to take a deep dive into the current state of Sydney tech salaries, to see how they compare on a global scale. It also offers some insight on the skills in demand overseas, that may follow suit as our market evolves.

Our aim of this research is to empower candidates to understand their value based on their skills, experience and scale so they can approach the job searching process armed with information.

We’ve looked across the scale from low to high as several factors often impact pay bandings including:

  • Skills
  • Certification
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Current Salary
  • Job label categorisation
  • Maturity of a company
  • Number of direct reports

The data

We researched several sources of data within a two week period. For each job category, we looked at low, medium and high ranges – Payscale and Glassdoor were our main points of reference.

Something to keep in mind

A quick glance at the data gives the impression that salaries in San Francisco are astronomical, especially when compared to someone who works in Sydney in a similar with comparable experience.

Technically, that is correct. But here’s the catch: salary in San Francisco is adjusted to cost of living, and cost of living is astronomical as well. The median price for an apartment in San Francisco’s city center is $3,400, but only $2,300 for Syndey.

On top of that, USD 1 is approximately AUD 1.3, so USD 100,0000 is the equivalent of around AUD 130,000. A Hired recent report highlighted $83K (A$107K), is the equivalent of making nearly $150K in San Francisco when factoring in the cost of living.

In the end, your absolute salary is irrelevant. Financially, what matters is the relative value of that salary compared to cost of living.

Highest Paid

The highest paid salaries are similar across both cities, with Drupal Developers making it to Sydney’s top 5.

Sitecore Developers, fall into the top two pay bands across both countries, with higher end salaries reaching $179,000 and $279,000 simultaneously.

Sydney (Top 5 by Median)

  1. Sitecore Developer – $128,000
  2. Devops Engineer – $111,000
  3. Product Manager – $103,000
  4. Data Scientist – $102,000
  5. Drupal Developer – $86,000

Silicon Valley (Top 5 by Median)

  1. Data Scientist – $152,000
  2. Sitecore Developer – $133,000
  3. Product Manager – $125,000
  4. Android Developer – $118,000
  5. Devops Engineer – $116,000

The size of the scale

When looking at the differences between low and high, to see where the potential is for progression and negotiation, most roles in Sydney had a wide banding.

AngularJS Developer is the only role that has a higher median salary than the Silicon Valley counterpart.

Silicon Valley pay scales frequently come back wider, with triple-figure numbers between the lower and higher end pay bandings.

A few factors that may drive this include;

  • Size of the market
  • Skills shortage
  • Variety of maturity levels between tech companies (smaller startups battle for tech talent without blowing budgets, more established billion-dollar startups offer the world’s best talent highly competitive packages.)

Sydney (Biggest variance in Low: High Salary Bandings)

  1. Marketing Manager – $77,000
  2. Product Manager – $78,000
  3. Java Developer – $85,000
  4. Sitecore Developer – $89,000
  5. Sales Engineer – $96,000

Silicon Valley (Biggest variance in Low: High Salary Bandings)

  1. Java Developer – $117,000
  2. AEM Developer – $124,000
  3. Salesforce Marketing Cloud Consultant – $144,000
  4. Product Manager – $163,000
  5. Sitecore Developer – $220,000

Check out the full role breakdown in the infographic below

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Written by Akshay Sachdeva

November 22, 2017

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