SQL Server DBA salary surveys way too low?

  • SeattleDBA

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1019

    Just seeking some opinions. Just asking for your anecdotal evidence. I realize that salaries vary greatly based on both experience and location.

    However the salary surveys seem way off to me for SQL Server DBA. Most of the salary surveys seems to be in range of $90,000 to $105,000 range. But lately all of the jobs being offered seem in the $120,000 to $130,000 range. Just for disclosure, I am in the Seattle region.

    1) Is this also your observation?

    2) Is this just a case of salary surveys always being behind? Or is there a bias in the surveys from employers to help keep labor costs down? Feed us bad info?

    3) Or is this perhaps just a recent spike up in salary demand and the surveys have not yet caught up?


  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 125100

    What is the source for the surveys, and what experience level are job postings looking for when they offer $120k? I would expect the average salary offered by prospecting employers for a senior level DBA position to be significantly higher than the average salary indicated from a random sampling of folks with the title "DBA", because the sampling includes a lot of folks who just happened to be standing closest to the database server when the previous DBA left for a better job offer.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • SeattleDBA

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1019


    Database Administrator Ave = $70,827

    Sr Database Administrator Ave = $98,243



    Senior Database Administrator = $105,289


    These are all "average" numbers, so of course there are higher and lower ranges within those salary surveys.

    I am just observing from my recent job search that the lowest base salary I was offered was $115,000 and the highest was $130,000. The range of salaries for Sr. SQL Server DBA seemed well above the ranges displayed in the salary surveys. I don't consider myself a superstar or anything. I consider my skills to be fairly typical for a DBA with 10+ years of experience.

    I was pleasantly surprised that the job market is so strong for our skill set. I was just wondering if others have observed also that the salary surveys seem very low or behind. I am wondering if there is a bias in the numbers to help employers keep salary expectations down.

  • Michael L John

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 25946

    This is normal. I've seen the same thing.

    I am in Pittsburgh. The range offered for a senior level DBA is probably a 50k spread from the highest to the lowest salary.

    The one constant I have seen is when a company is offering more than the going rate it's usually due to the fact that they have been "burned". Either they had good folks who left for better wages, or, they simply have had a series of impostors that were willing to work for a lower wage.

    Good luck in your search.

    Michael L John
    If you assassinate a DBA, would you pull a trigger?
    To properly post on a forum:

  • xsevensinzx

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 25558

    I'm in the Raleigh-Durham, NC area. Keep in mind, the cost of living here is a bit cheaper than Seattle.

    (A salary of $85,000 in Seattle, Washington could decrease to $55,363 in Raleigh, North Carolina)

    Database Administrator (Indeed) = $57,000 Average

    Senior Database Administrator (Indeed) = $89,000 Average

    There was only 3 listings for 100K+ at this current time on Indeed. If you dive into SQL Serve or MySQL, then you may see a slight bump in the averages, but not much.

    Database Administrator (Glassdoor) = $73,991 Average

    Database Administrator (Glassdoor) = $67,672 National Average

    Senior Database Administrator (Glassdoor) = n/a Average, $92,423 from Quintiles

    Senior Database Administrator (Glassdoor) = $105,289 National Average

    Personally, I just get an idea from the local community if I can. Surveys, job sites and so forth can only go so far.

  • SeattleDBA

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1019

    xsevensinzx (10/5/2015)

    Personally, I just get an idea from the local community if I can. Surveys, job sites and so forth can only go so far.

    I agree with that. I find it best to just update your resume online via Dice, Indeed, Linkedin and a few others. Then the phone calls and emails start to roll in.

    Right from the start, ask all of the recruiters what is their salary range or contract rate. No matter what they respond with, tell them you already make more than that and you are not interested in leaving your current position. Then they respond with something closer to the higher end of their salary range or their contract rate maximum.

    I have found:

    - There is always $5-$10 more per hour in a contract rate above what they initially propose.

    - There is always another $10,000 per year in salary above what they initially propose.

    It took us 6 months to find a MS SQL Server DBA for a position we had open last year. That is why salaries are going up 6% to 10% year over year.

  • Alan Burstein

    SSC Guru

    Points: 61087

    I try to keep up on salary trends for data jobs (BI/DBA/SQL Dev, etc). Though I have not posted my resume anywhere In a few years I still get plenty calls and Emails about data jobs (BI & DBA since I have experience doing both). There's a ton of resources out there. I just did a Robert Half 2016 Salary Search for DBAs in Chicago (I'm in Chicago) and it's showing the salary range for DBAs here as: $117,772 - $175,582 with the midpoint being $146,677. I would say that's slightly high, maybe by 5-10%. I recently read that somewhere that data people's salaries should see the biggest jump in years in 2016, an average of 9%. I can't remember where I read that though.

    Remember that sites that use "salary surveys" to calculate salaries are not extremely scientific. This is why there is often some variance from site to site.

    All that said I think DBAs are still hugely in demand and will be for a long time. DBAs with BI or Big Data skills seem to get paid a lot more - something to keep in mind.

    I somehow got on Nigel Frank International's spam list. Unlike most spam, however, I keep their Emails because I find them interesting. They include BI/DBA jobs throughout the country along with Salaries. I copied/pasted some of DBA jobs/salaries below (you can check their website for each job's details:

    Lead MS SQL DBA/BI Architect - Weston, MA - $120-150k + Bonus

    Perm Weston, Massachusetts

    Lead MS SQL DBA/BI Architect - Weston, MA - $120-150k + Bonus (up to 20%) Microsoft End User is aggressively searching for a Lead DBA/BI Architect to oversee a team of DBAs, developers, and data warehouse architects. This is a hands-on technical lead position with incredible op…

    $120000 - $150000 per annum + Bonus

    View Job Details

    Sr. SQL Server DBA/Architect - Waltham, MA - $100-135k

    Perm Waltham, Massachusetts

    Sr. SQL Server DBA/Architect - Waltham, MA - $100-135k This IT Solutions company is searching for a SQL expert to join their elite database team and report directly to the CTO. This position will involve heavy development and architecture in addition to some database administr…

    $100000 - $135000 per annum + 401k Matching

    View Job Details

    MS SQL DBA-SQL DBA-Dallas,TX $100K-$110K

    Perm Dallas, Texas

    MS SQL DBA-SQL DBA-Dallas,TX $100K-$110K A well-known and award winning organization is looking for a Microsoft SQL DBA to join their expanding IT team. Their ideal candidate will have extensive experience with clustering, trouble shooting, and performance tuning, as well as a b…

    $100000 - $110000 per annum + bonus

    View Job Details

    MS BI Developer | Springfield, MA | $90K-$110K

    Perm Springfield, Massachusetts

    A consulting firm is looking to hire a Microsoft Business Intelligence Developer for their Springfield, Massachusetts office. They are interested in hiring an individual with technical and functional knowledge of the Business Intelligence tool. The Company is looking for an eager…

    $90000 - $110000 per annum

    View Job Details

    MS SQL Server DBA - Newton, MA

    Perm Newton, Massachusetts

    MS SQL Server DBA - Newton, MA - $85-110k This non-profit organization in Newton, MA is aggressively searching for an experienced MS SQL DBA to join their growing Database Team. The SQL DBA must have a solid technical and functional understanding of MS SQL Server and infrastruc…

    $85000 - $110000 per annum

    View Job Details

    SQL/Oracle Exadata/MongoDB/DBA New York - 125k-170k + Bonus

    Perm New York, New York

    SQL/Oracle Exadata/MongoDB/DBA New York - 125k-170k + Bonus Top Tier Financial Company is looking for an very strong PL SQL Oracle database administrator with big data experience. You will be working with cutting edge technology such as Hadoop and Exadata. Responsibilities:…

    $125000 - $170000 per annum

    View Job Details

    MS BI Developer/DBA- MS BI- Livingston, NJ- $115k-$120k

    Perm Roseland, New Jersey

    MS BI Developer/DBA- MS BI- Livingston, NJ- $115k-$120k An MS End User in the Greater Metro Area is seeking a MS BI Developer/DBA to join it's team for direct-hire. Ideal candidates have strong development experience using the Microsoft Business Intelligence stack (SSIS, SSRS, a…

    $115 - $120 per annum + bonus

    View Job Details

    "I cant stress enough the importance of switching from a sequential files mindset to set-based thinking. After you make the switch, you can spend your time tuning and optimizing your queries instead of maintaining lengthy, poor-performing code."

    -- Itzik Ben-Gan 2001

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