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Washington State Technology Salaries Increase Average of Eight Percent

2005 WSA Northwest Salary Survey gives proof of regional economic turnaround

Seattle, Oct. 17, 2005 - The average annual salary increase for surveyed technology workers in Washington was 8 percent, according to the 2005 WSA Northwest Salary Survey, conducted between July 11 and September 15 by Payscale, Inc.. Seventy-four technology companies, both public and private and ranging in overall size, participated in the survey.

The survey looked at total compensation through multiple company and organizational structures, including base salary, equity compensation, health care benefits, and sales compensation practices. More than 100 different job positions were included in the survey.

"The Pacific Northwest is known throughout the world as a leading region for technological innovation," said Kathy Wilcox, President and CEO of the WSA. "The 2005 WSA Northwest Salary Survey provides proof that our economy is improving and that our technology-rich environment is once again thriving."

Entry-level software development and quality assurance engineering positions increased at a much higher rate than the more senior level positions in those job families. The entry-level positions, on average, increased over the last year by 9 percent; the intermediate positions by 8 percent; and the senior positions by 3 percent. An entry-level software engineer/developer will make approximately $58,000 in base salary while a senior software development manager will make approximately $116,000.

The survey also looked at executive compensation. The results indicate an increase in Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer base pay. The average CEO salary in the 2005 survey is $175,000, up from the previous year’s $152,250.

"Compensation practices have become more central to business strategies as firms look to meet growth goals by remaining private, leveraging the private equity markets, and creating compensation and benefit programs to retain employees," said Fred Whittlesey, Chief Compensation Officer for PayScale, Inc. the global online compensation database company that developed and administered the survey. "The increased cost of compliance and reporting and increased risk of public ownership is helping to create an environment of more and more private companies."

In addition to an analysis of base salaries, the survey explored various compensation and benefits issues and programs. For example, despite the soaring cost of employee health and welfare benefits, 95 percent of the responding companies provide health-care coverage with the majority of companies paying between 95 percent and 100 percent of the cost for employee-only coverage which, on average, is $299 per month. While many companies do not cover any of the premiums for spouse and children, the median is still payment of 50 percent of the premium cost for dependents – averaging an additional $290 per month for spouse and $478 per month for spouse plus children. This results in a cost approaching $10,000 per year for these benefits, on average, for employers who subsidize dependent coverage.

WSA’s Northwest Salary Survey provides an annual assessment of the region’s pay practices, featuring many development and technology positions. With economic changes, rising healthcare costs, the continued creation of biotech firms, and the entrance of new venture backed technology companies, the WSA Northwest Salary Survey is a valuable reservoir of current compensation and benefits information. Full results are available at

About WSA
Founded in 1984, the WSA (formerly the Washington Software Alliance) is a statewide trade association focused on helping Washington-based technology companies succeed. With more than 1,000 member companies representing more than 50,000 software, Internet, telecommunications and technology company employees, the WSA is a catalyst for setting new industry directions, sharing expertise, delivering key business services, and leading the advocacy of issues necessary to keep Washington a leader in the digital economy. For information, please see

About PayScale, Inc.
PayScale ( is a market leader in online compensation and benefit information, providing access to accurate compensation data for employees and employers. With the ability never before available for uniquely matching job and company specific attributes, PayScale allows users to obtain an unparalleled level of compensation information, providing a precise snapshot of current market pay. The company provides real-time pay information for employees and businesses across the globe. Launched in 2002 and headquartered in Seattle, Wash., PayScale owns the largest online database of employee salary information in the world and has a patent pending methodology for compiling and aggregating compensation data.

Steven Gottlieb
Zeno Group (for PayScale)

Karen Halle
206-448-3033 x115