Increasing Salaries – Here to Stay

Increasing Salaries – Here to Stay

Over the last decade, we’ve seen a marked increase in demand for candidates in the electronics, embedded, and controls development fields. At the same time, the pool of available candidates has shrunk. There were a lot of questions about the effects of Covid on these trends, and in 2021 we’ve seen a further acceleration of both.

The Candidate-Driven Job Market

The result is a candidate-driven market, with engineers getting higher salaries, more generous benefits (such as unlimited vacation time), remote work options, and aggressive sign-on bonuses. We’ve seen this play out in our recent recruiting efforts. Examples include:

  • A Systems Engineer received a $90K offer; an increase to her current compensation. The interview had been delayed a couple weeks, and in that time she was able to line up 6 interviews, getting a total of 5 offers. One of them was a lead-level position for $120K, which she accepted.
  • We had a client interview a candidate for a critical position. They were interested in him, and made an offer for $115K.. In the meantime, an out-of-state company offered him $140K, which he took.

Companies who were “wowing” candidates a couple years ago are falling behind competitors in 2021.

Salary of embedded software engineer

A Long-Term Issue

The question is whether this is a short or long-term trend. After extensive research, including feedback from other recruiters in our networks, we believe there’s no sign of this letting up.

In the next decade:

  • The growth of engineering and computing positions is predicted to range between 5-13%.
  • There will be more people leaving the job market than entering.

Covid has shrunk the number of engineers coming to the United States. Since they make up a large percentage of STEM graduates, especially at the graduate

  • The reduced number of foreign students in the college pipeline will exacerbate the situation for years.
  • Without an overhaul, the immigration system will continue to fall behind. As mentioned, demand keeps growing but visa numbers stay static.


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In summary, demand will continue to rise with no signs of supply getting better. The US Department of Defense has even identified the software developer shortage as a threat to national security.

Because of this, we can expect salaries to continue their upward climb. How much is an open question, but there’s no sign employers can expect relief on the topic.

For 30+ years, PRA USA has helped our clients and candidates navigate the ever-changing job market in the fields of Electronics, Embedded, and Controls Systems. Contact us to discuss your recruiting headaches, so we can help you find a solution