While inflation continues to fall, coming in at 4.9% in April, the lowest figure since June 2022's peak of 9.1%, American workers are still feeling the pinch. This is despite the fact that average hourly earnings are up 4.6% year-on-year; the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that real average earnings for all employees decreased 0.1% in February.

Couple this with recent research which found that middle income families who earn between $30,000 and $100,000 are struggling to pay for everyday living expenses, and you can start to see why salary continues to be the biggest driver when attracting top talent.

Balance of power

Thanks to a series of new local and state laws, salaries are now more transparent than ever before, putting workers in the driving seat when it comes to the conversation around pay.

In New York, California, Colorado and Washington, all employers are now legally obligated to include a salary range for all job listings. In other states including Ohio, Maryland and Nevada, applicants are entitled to ask for, or be provided with salary ranges upon request, or at interview stage.

The logic is simple: by giving applicants a guide on what they can expect to be paid, it's less likely they'll be lowballed when it comes to initial offers or paid significantly less than colleagues with the same skills and experience.

Salary ranges also give applicants leverage during the negotiation stage and if a competitor is willing to pay more, this information can be used as a benchmark when making your case.

Additionally, when it comes to addressing the gender pay gap – something that is particularly relevant in the male-dominated tech industry where just 15% of startup founders are female and women only make up 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – research from the University of Utah's business school showed that the gap reduced by 45% in organizations that disclosed salary information, compared to those that didn't.

Opportunity knocks

While it is possible to use salary information to negotiate a raise with your current employer, the recent spate of tech layoffs mean many organizations have put salary freezes in place and are slashing employee perks too.

If your employer is trying to trim expenditure in the form of salary, employee benefits and perks, seeking out a new opportunity is often the only way to secure more money and job security. The good news is that the TechSpot Job Board is the perfect place to start your search, as it features thousands of jobs with salaries that exceed $200,000 per year, like the three below.

Data Engineering Lead – Genentech, San Francisco, CA

Salary range: $148,800 to $276,400

Genentech is seeking a Data Engineering Lead to help create a next generation data engine that scalably and rigorously ingests and transforms data generated from this initiative so they are ready for machine-driven analysis. You will act as an architect and engineering manager tasked to oversee the construction and operation of this data engine, and exert influence across the informatics organization via presentations and collaborations.

To apply, you'll need seven or more years' experience architecting and developing scalable pipelines, frameworks and platforms to power data science efforts in distributed cloud environments, five years of which are on AWS. View more details here.

Proactive Intelligence, Applied Research Scientist – Generative AI, Apple, Seattle, WA

Salary range: $144,500 to $250,000

Apple is looking for a Proactive Intelligence, Applied Research Scientist. You will be leveraging state-of-the-art Generative models to ship extraordinary products, services, and customer experiences for the iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, iPad and more.

You'll need a Ph.D./M.S in computer science or related field, strong programming skills in Python and/or C++ with 5+ years of experience in using these languages for machine learning (ML) modeling and applied research. See the full job description here.

Sr. Director Software Engineering – Adobe, San Jose, CA

Salary range: $180,500 to $387,200

Adobe is seeking a Senior Director of Software Engineering to lead its conversational, B2B marketing and AI/ML based software engineering projects. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of delivering complex software projects to the market, excellent organizational and communication skills, strong leadership skills, and be innovative.

In this role you'll lead the software engineering team to develop and deliver high-quality software products on time and within budget, collaborate with cross-functional teams to understand business requirements and translate them into technical requirements and manage the software team's workload, priorities, and timelines. You can access more information here.