Silicon Valley tech workers are lowering their expectations as they see signs of trouble from some area companies, according to a new study.
The average salary sought by engineers and other tech professionals dropped by almost 13 percent in the first quarter of 2016, according to data provided by job-hunting platform Woo. Workers asked for $142,174 in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with $124,285 in the first quarter of this year. That data comes from information submitted by about 5,000 tech workers who use the platform, mostly in the Bay Area and New York.
The change comes as Silicon Valley startups are having a harder time finding funding, and a volatile stock market has all but dried up the area's IPO activity.
Woo Chief Marketing Officer Nimrod May said the uncertain climate in Silicon Valley has made tech workers more willing to compromise on salary in order to find a job.
"The general feeling is that something might happen," May said. "We're all traumatized by what happened in 2008."
Woo is a startup operating out of San Francisco and Tel Aviv that runs an invitation-only job-search platform for tech workers. Job seekers anonymously fill out information about their experience and what they are looking for -- such as flexible hours, a raise or a better commute -- and wait for companies to come to them.
The Woo data match what Kim Anderson, lead technical recruiter for Embedded Resource Group, says she's seen in her role finding jobs for Silicon Valley engineers.
"They're not looking for an increase," she said. "They're just looking for stability."
Tech workers surveyed also preferred large companies to startups, with almost 83 percent looking for jobs in big companies, compared with almost 77 percent looking for jobs at startups.
Anderson said she's seen a reluctance among engineers to join startups, especially from those who have been victims of layoffs.
"They refuse to go to a startup after that because they have families," she said. "They can't afford to risk their employment."
In another sign that Silicon Valley isn't as gilded as it once was, more tech workers want to leave, according to the Woo data. Almost 30 percent of Bay Area workers surveyed in the first quarter indicated they wanted to relocate, compared with 22 percent in the quarter before. New York was highest in demand.
There are a number of growing tech hot spots outside Silicon Valley, May said, most of which have a lower cost of living. And that ties into the fact that people surveyed are putting a greater emphasis on work-life balance.
"People are changing their priorities," he said.
There's evidence the exodus away from Silicon Valley has started already. In 2014 more people left Silicon Valley than moved in, for the first time since 2011, according to a study by the Silicon Valley Competitiveness and Innovation Project. More than 7,500 residents hit the road, the study found. The researchers blamed quality of life issues such as skyrocketing housing prices and increasing traffic congestion.
Eugene Lupario, president of Bay Area staffing company SVS Group, isn't buying it. He says he hasn't seen a decrease in expected salary or an exodus away from Silicon Valley among workers who use his company's services. Workers who use SVS make an average salary of $40,000 to $65,000 -- less than half the average salary on the Woo platform.
"People are always asking to earn more if they're coming out of one job and going to another," Lupario said."
Contact Marisa Kendall at 408-920-5009. Follow her at Twitter.com/marisakendall.