Recently, at Javaabu we had increased the salaries of all our developers for the new year 2023. Since we hired our first staff in 2018, every year we had been incrementing staff salaries to match their improving skill and education levels. However, I have always wondered whether our salaries were in-line or competitive with the rest of the Maldivian Software Development industry and public sector Software Engineering positions. So, to put an end to this burning question, recently I undertook an industry-wide survey to understand exactly how much Software Engineers were earning in the Maldives.
Without reading any further, if you just want a single number, according to my survey, the average monthly developer salary in Maldives is MVR 24,734.70 (USD 1,604.07). The median monthly salary is MVR 20,000.00 (USD 1,297.01). These numbers have a margin of error of roughly 8%, meaning the actual average salary is between MVR 22,755.92 and MVR 26,713.48. If you want a more fine grained average based on your education and experience level, then take a look at the table at the bottom of this article. Keep reading the rest of the article to see how I arrived at these numbers.
The survey was conducted online through a Google Form between 31st January 2023 and 9th February 2023. Respondents were asked 4 questions:
- How much is your (monthly) salary in MVR?
- Which sector do you work in? (With 3 options; Private, Government and State Owned Enterprise (SOE))
- How many years of experience do you have? (With 12 options; ranging from Less than 1 year to 10+ years)
- What’s your education level? (With 8 options; No formal education, O’level, A’level, Certificate Level, Diploma Level, Degree Level, Masters and PhD)
The survey link was shared publicly on Twitter and on the Telegram MV Developers group. I had also personally shared the link with several developer friends from Maldives I knew and had asked them to share the survey with the rest of their work colleagues. Potential respondents were instructed that this survey was only for Software Developers working in the Maldives at local positions. One frequent question that arose was how do I define a Software Developer, since a lot of people tend to write code at their jobs for various tasks, but not necessarily as their primary work. So, for the purposes of this survey, a Software Developer was defined as someone who writes and/or maintains code as their primary job. Under this definition, based on different estimates from the community, there are estimated to be around 970 Software Developers in the Maldives.
With great support from the community, I had received a total of 125 responses for my survey. This is roughly 12.9% of the estimated target population, and enough data to draw some statistically significant conclusions.
First lets look at the overall distribution of the monthly salaries. The minimum salary recorded was MVR 4,000 and the highest salary recorded was a staggering MVR 140,000!. As can be seen from the graph below, the most common salary was MVR 20,000. The 75th percentile salary was MVR 30,000, meaning 25% of developers earn MVR 30K or more every month. To be among the top 10% of earners, you need to earn MVR 43,241.40 or more per month. And if you want to join the coveted top 1%, you need to earn at least MVR 128,560.00 per month (USD 100K per year) (This is close to the average Software Developer salary in the U.S)!wpDataTables encountered an issue trying to display chart. Please edit the chart in the admin area for more details.
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Salary by Sector
According to the survey results, the majority of Maldivian developers work in the public sector, with 55.2% of developers working in either Government or SOE jobs. Private sector employees make up only 44.8% of the respondents.wpDataTables encountered an issue trying to display chart. Please edit the chart in the admin area for more details.
The results show that there is significant difference between Developer salaries across the 3 sectors surveyed. As expected, Government jobs have the lowest average salary at MVR 19,854.98. Surprisingly, Private jobs pay the best, with average salaries at MVR 28,528.73.
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Salary by Years of Experience
Majority of the respondents (20.8%) to the survey were seasoned developers with 10+ years of experience. This may have skewed the overall average salary towards the higher end of the spectrum as the data shows that those with more experience tends to get higher salaries across all sectors.wpDataTables encountered an issue trying to display chart. Please edit the chart in the admin area for more details.
One interesting observation here is that, even though the Private sector had the highest average salary, the Private sector seems to pay less for less experienced developers than the other 2 sectors. This could be because, the Private sector is more meritocratic through market forces.wpDataTables encountered an issue trying to display chart. Please edit the chart in the admin area for more details.
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Salary by Education Level
According to the survey, most (49.6%) professional Software Developers in the Maldives have at least a Degree Level certificate. 14.4% have Masters Level qualifications and none of the respondents had a PhD.wpDataTables encountered an issue trying to display chart. Please edit the chart in the admin area for more details.
Interestingly, unlike years of experience, education level does not seem to directly correlate to salary amount. Rather, it seems to be more of a convex relation, with those with little to no education, and those with degree level or higher education earning the highest. The lowest earners are those with either a Certificate or Diploma Level qualification. This suggests that you need either mad-skills or a quality education to earn well in the Maldivian software industry.wpDataTables encountered an issue trying to display chart. Please edit the chart in the admin area for more details.
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The below table summarizes the average salaries in relation to both education level and the years of experience you have. If you are just entering the Maldivian software industry and have no idea how much you should be paid, you can use the below table and look up an average monthly salary based on how much coding experience and qualification you have. Note that the averages for some combinations of education and experience are significantly deviated from the overall average due to a lack of samples. Use those averages with a degree of caution.
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I am really thankful to everyone who contributed to this survey, and I hope that my findings will be beneficial for everyone in the community. This data could be useful for employers to set realistic pay scales and for job seekers to demand a fair salary. We at Javaabu would definitely be considering these findings next time we revise our staff salaries.
Future research into this area could look deeper into salary discrepancies by gender, geographical location, developer specialty (Frontend, Mobile, Fullstack, etc.). It could also be expanded to include Maldivians working for foreign companies, look into remote vs on-location jobs and possibly include jobs from the rest of the IT industry as well.
Anyway, that’s it for now.