Support Driven Compensation Survey

Earlier this year the compensation survey for the Support Driven Community was passed around. In the survey Support Pros from around the world answered questions regarding their experience, company size, city size and other factors that go into a salary. Out of 60 response the average salary of someone who has completed the survey is $65,874. Today I break down the survey in greater detail.

The raw data I used can be found here

Male v. Female Pay

The question I was most interested in learning about was "Which gender earns more?". I think it's well documented that men earn more than women, even in a field like nursing and I wanted to know how true that is in the support world. I was incredibly happy to see there wasn't a bias towards men. In fact, the women who took our survey average $5,892 more than the men. As a data point we had 21 female responses and 39 male responses (One individual chose not to share their gender).

The Averages:

  • Female $69,591
  • Male $63,688

The Median:

  • Female $60,000
  • Male $56,700
Company Size

The next interesting stat I pulled was pay compared to company size. I always assumed working at a larger company meant more money and this helped affirm this assumption. This category does suffer from 34 of the 60 respondents being from small companies though. It could be that with 20+ more respondents from large companies the salary for those workers would come down. To me the biggest surprise was 5 of the 9 respondents from large companies receive equity. Assuming the company is doing well that would be another major benefit in the future.

The Averages:

  • Small $61,339
  • Medium $71,369
  • Large+ $74,856

The Median:

  • Small $57,600
  • Medium $60,000
  • Large+ $77,000

* As a note I combined the Very Small & Small categories as well as Large & Big Corporate when getting these numbers.

Experience

The Support Driven community confirms an assumption of mine - The more you know, the more you'll be paid. In the experience section those who said Support is a "Way of Life" earned much more than newcomers to the field, making an average of $27,449 more than the newbies. The current labels might be interpreted differently from person to person.

The Averages:

  • New $49,125
  • Few Years $60,967
  • Way of Life $76,574

The Median:

  • New $49,250
  • Few Years $55,000
  • Way of Life $70,000
Remote Worker's Pay

Looking at another variable I was curious if working remotely would cause a major change in pay. Personally I romanticize the idea of working from a co-working spot of my choice or at home feet away from the coffee maker or on the deck - I always wondered if having that freedom meant taking a hit in salary. From the data working remotely gives you a higher Median pay by $4,900 (There's someone who works from an office making $180,000 who throws off the average). To me that's slightly surprising as I would have thought companies might pay a little less if you have the benefit of remote work.

The Averages:

  • remote $63,560
  • non remote $67,031

The Median:

  • remote $62,500
  • non remote $57,600
Local Cost of Living

This was one of the more surprising pieces of information for me. The cities were broken into 3 major categories: $$ (e.g. Tallinn, Warsaw, Bucharest, Santiago), $$$ (e.g. Nashville, Birmingham, Vienna, Austin, Vegas, Tel Aviv), and $$$$ (e.g. San Francisco, Hong Kong, Sydney, London, Paris, New York). There was also a $, but there was only one responder to that size. I expected there to be a large bump with each city size increase, but from the data both $$ and $$$ are nearly the same. The difference between the $$ / $$$ and $$$$ in average salary was nearly $20,000. At first this seemed like an unreal benefit of living in a larger city, though I quickly remembered that salary isn't everything to take into consideration. I went to the CNN Money Cost of Living Calculator to compare Nashville to San Francisco. A $55,000 salary in Nashville would have to translate to a salary of $101,994 in San Francisco for a similar take home salary with cost of living included. After doing that it's clear that while $$$$ might have a higher average salary those in smaller cities most likely have a higher take home salary after you take out cost of living (Now of course maybe everyone in a smaller town is driving a Maserati and living in a mansion).

The Averages:

  • $$ - $60,500
  • $$$ - $62,126
  • $$$$ - $72,595

The Median:

  • $$ - $58,500
  • $$$ - $55,000
  • $$$$ - $76,000
How do you maximize your salary?

After breaking down the data I can make some suggestions on how to maximize your salary: Work remotely, live in a city with a medium cost of living (Sorry, Silicon Valley) and stick at support to gain the necessary experience to ask for the higher salary. That might sound like common sense, but it's really cool seeing real data back that information up. Working at a large company and being a woman wouldn't hurt either.

A special thank you to Alicia (!!!), Chase, Scott, and Bill from the Support Driven Chat for providing invaluable feedback on this post. Not a member of the Support Driven Chat? Join here.