5 Key steps to determine the appropriate compensation range for Cloud Engineers in 2023

You’re ready to hire your next Cloud Engineer or Architect – WHEW HEW!  You’re probably feeling a little anxiety as you’re ready for help now, and you’re not sure you can afford what you most want.  

You’re looking at your budget, what you pay your existing staff, and are compiling your list of all the skills and experience your ideal candidate should have.  You’re very aware the market went a little crazy in 2021/2022 for top talent Cloud techies. So, what’s the status of this market now?  How do you ensure you pay a FAIR rate so you can hire the people you really want?

To pick a ‘standard’ salary band and associating that with your wish list isn’t always the best approach. A little research and a focus on the actual “must haves” can be a better starting point. Once you’ve established your requirements, you in a better position to select an appropriate salary range 

Here are 5 steps you can take to help ensure you find the best candidate at the fairest compensation.

Step #1 – Get a current market perspective

You can look at some online sources like Glassdoor, Payscale, and even ChatGPT.  These can provide a good starting point, but they provide a broad range and won’t understand the level of problem solver you need, especially if you are looking for a Rockstar. As we all know, the traits you are looking for will be unique to your environment i.e. the team makeup and tech stack. We recommend you ask a recruiter who specializes in the area for which they are hiring! It’s best to have a live conversation with this person to help them understand the nuances of your role.

Step #2 – Focus on what you really MUST HAVE today vs. what you can teach

If you want someone coming in the door with everything on your wishlist, you will limit your pool of candidates. Also, the extra experience likely means they could be above the range you wish to pay.  Decide on the core skills you need to have, then look for a history of learning and growth that should translate into them being a fast learner in your environment.  

Step #3 – Focus on how your opportunity aligns with what most Cloud Engineers want in a career

Growth, New Tech, Culture, and Leadership.  While money is always important, it’s NOT typically someone’s #1 or #2 factor in choosing a job. When candidates take the highest paying jobs, especially if it doesn’t address their core desires, we often hear from them again in less than a year. We always ask why someone is looking for a job and what factors they’ll use to choose their next job. Most often, the #1 reason is career and technological growth. 

Candidates, like all humans, can get bored if not learning, growing, and being pushed a little. Focus on how your environment can excite someone and how they’ll expand their capabilities and experience. The next factor we hear is the team/culture! People want an environment where they can collaborate and learn from more senior resources on the team and feel supported by their manager. Automation, DevOps, Security, PAAS, and SRE are big growth areas we hear candidates would like to learn more about…as well as more complex environments.

Step #4– Put your best employees in the interview process.

I can’t tell you how many times a candidate has chosen a job because “I really connected with the people / team there”.  We all spend more time ‘at work’ (even in a WFH world), and more time with our coworkers than our family & friends. That’s why this can be such an important factor in someone’s decision. If you don’t include some of your most friendly staff in your interview process, please add it now!  Those coworkers are the most trusted source on what it’s really like to work someplace, and therefore have a big influence on someone’s decision. 

Step #5– Leverage Momentum

– Keep a good interview process flow throughout the entire process.

You should get them feedback within 24 hours, and set up that next step within 48 – 72 hours. And when you’re ready to make an offer, get that offer out quickly. Present the offer verbally (ideally on a video call) and present it with enthusiasm and include all the reasons they should come work for your company! Discuss the tech stack, career, culture, people, philanthropies, work life balance, benefits, and TOTAL compensation, don’t leave anything out! Make the offer, then sit quiet… 

Our Observation over the last 3 – 6 months is that candidates are staying on market longer, being more flexible and valuing other things (including stability, management, reputation, financial health) besides just compensation. Compensation is important, it’s why most people work at all, but in a world of choices of where to work, these other factors can greatly affect someone’s motivation to take a job. And just to include a data point, Certified Cloud Engineers make about 26% more, on average, than their non-cloud counterparts.

Need to hire a Cloud or Cyber Rockstar? Contact us now for a free consultation!