In recent years, the main talking points in the IT sector have been both the shortage of experts as well as the salary level for software developers. In just over four years since its founding, Talented has met thousands of software developers and talked with virtually all of them about salaries. Most developers we met have worked in the most prestigious workplaces in Finland in the role of senior developer. At the same time on the other side of the table we have been talking to hundreds of IT employers, all the way from startups to listed companies. Discussions on both sides of the table keep us informed about salary level and aspirations of senior software developers, as well as how and on what grounds the salary is formed.
How is the salary determined?
Salary is a fee for the work done by the person and the value it generates to the company. In other words, salary is always justified.
Some of the most prestigious consulting houses in Finland include Vincit, Reaktor, Gofore and Futurice. They all build digital business for their customers, receiving compensation for the hours spent on projects. Naturally consultants working on these projects are paid, and in that the consultant’s billing is central. The hourly rate for an experienced developer falls on both sides of €100, the hourly rate for a specialist can be close to €200.
For example, for a developer earning €5,000 per month, a salary with expenses would mean a cost of approximately €6,500 to the company (gross salary * 1.3, which roughly includes the costs associated with paying wages). Operational and administrative costs, from premises to sales, will be added to this, which will significantly increase costs. Especially in the above-mentioned companies, where the framework for work is top-notch, this part of the cost is also relatively high. However, as a consultant, you mainly work at you client’s premises, which can be frustrating when you still have to contribute to your employer’s luxuries and amusements at the office, where you rarely spend any time.
Product houses, i.e. companies that build and sell their own products, are in theory the only environment where high pay is possible. Successful product houses include Smartly, Unity Technologies and Supercell. In these developer-built products are distributed and sold throughout the world, so the financial benefits obtained can be really significant in some places. However, software developers’ salaries in these are mostly fixed, rather than tied to the success of the company’s business.
Salary level for software developers in Finland 2021
The gross monthly salary for experienced software developers is between €4,700 and €6,000. At the top of the range tasks often involve responsibility either in terms of design or team management.
The above-average salary can also be obtained by software developers who have sales responsibility for customer service and the salary is partly based on performance. Performance-related salary refers to a model in which part of the salary is tied to the work carried out, for example the employee’s personal monthly billing from the customer. Projects sold at a higher hourly rate generate more euros not only for the company, but also directly benefit the employee in the form higher monthly salary. If, on the other hand, the employee is away from work a lot or the client is not prepared to pay for their expertise, the performance-related salary will be reflected in a lower than average wage amount.
Examples of different performance-related salary models in Finnish IT companies
Fixed €3,500/month + 10% of personal billing
€3,500 + €95/h * 150h * 10% = €4,925
€3,500 + €110/h * 150h * 10% = €5,150
Fixed €3,000/month + 10-20% of personal billing
€3,000 + €95/h * 150h * 10% = €4,425
€3,000 + €110/h * 150h * 20% = €6,300
In performance-related salary, the employee’s experience and competence greatly affect the salary. Customers are usually willing to pay more for experienced software developers, and more experienced employees tend to have a higher share of billing.
Basic salary amounts in Finnish IT companies
In the case of more traditional remuneration, the amount of money earned by the employee is directly correlated with the benefit generated for the company. More inexperienced software developers make less money and those with design responsibilities clearly earn more. Roughly speaking, we have identified the following wage hikes by experience level:
Junior Developer: €3,000 – €3,800
Developer: €3,800 – €4,700
Senior Developer: €4,700 – €5,700
Architect/Lead Developer: €5,800 – €7,000
Outside the capital area, the salary level is a few hundred euros lower.
There are exceptions, of course, and even in Finland you can find a few SuperCoders™ with monthly earnings of more than 10,000 euros. However, if your current salary level falls well below these ranges, it may be appropriate to raise the issue with the company or find a new job.
In Finland, high tax rates effectively offset the benefits of higher cash wages. However, talking only about cash reward is misleading, especially when it comes to the most prestigious employers, as many of these companies offer their employees many different benefits with monetary value.
In our discussions with developers, instead of salary, we aim to focus on the dreams and career development aspirations of the developer, and thus find the most fun and comfortable job for the applicant. However, you can increase your own level of pay by, for example, learning new skills through a hobby, pursuing a senior or lead role, or changing companies.
What are your needs and criteria for your next career move? Tell us, and our Agents will find you a job or consulting gig of your dreams free of charge.
Talented aims to shake up the usual way to recruit software professionals in Finland and around the world. We help senior level IT and digital experts to find better jobs and projects. In addition, we help companies to develop digital competence and distinguish themselves in the developer market.
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