IT Compensation Growth Modest

While the average yearly increase for IT pros was higher than the rest of the U.S. workforce, a considerable number got the same as or less than last year.
Those that fill director/vice president of networks positions were graced with the largest IT pay raises in 2003, as IDG's Computerworld annual salary survey indicated an average 6.8 percent increase for the execs, followed by e-commerce managers who got a 4.6 percent hike.

The survey, conducted from May through July 2003, found that the average raise of the nearly 15,000 respondents was about 6.7 percent, surpassing the 4 percent average increase the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics expects workers to receive.

Nearly 3-in-10 (29 percent) of IT workers saw no change in their base wage, while 9 percent reported a loss. The number of respondents exhibiting pay cuts in 2003 is 8 percent compared to 9.5 percent in 2002.

Average IT Compensation and Increases
Title 2003 2002 %Change
CIO $153,969 $151,593 1.6
CTO $149,716 $149,342 0.3
Director/Vice President of Networks $135,425 $126,858 6.8
Director of IT $104,517 $102,134 2.3
Product Manager $99,397 $97,384 2.1
E-commerce Manager $96,481 $92,210 4.6
Information Security Specialist $75,011 $73,306 2.3
Software Developer $72,518 $71,562 1.3
Help Desk/Technical Support Manager $68,291 $67,507 1.2
Quality Assurance Specialist $66,123 $69,949 -5.5
Programmer/analyst $65,019 $63,762 2.0
Technician $42,996 $44,224 -2.8
Source: IDG's Computerworld

A 2003 study from META Group, Inc. found that IT salaries increased an average 5 percent over 2002. Three-quarters of firms continue to pay IT employees higher salaries than their non-technical counterparts, which is a marked increase from 67 percent in 2002.

According to META Group, Inc., 54 percent of the surveyed IT managers were offering IT employees an annual year-end bonus, while 44 percent are using sign-on bonuses as a means to attract higher-level IT employees.

The Computerworld study found that bonuses were harder to come by, as 71 percent of IT workers reported no change in compensation from a year ago, and the 15 percent of workers who reported decreases in bonuses said they fell by an average of 45 percent.

Despite modest pay raises and inconsistent bonuses, IT professionals realize it could be worse: the nation's unemployment rate continues to hover above 6 percent, and the U.S. Census Bureau found that the 2002 median household income was $42,409. This silver lining attitude was exhibited among 54 percent of the Computerworld respondents who indicated that they were satisfied with their overall compensation.

Only 22 percent of workers said they are dissatisfied with their overall compensation, even though many are working longer hours and shouldering heavier workloads because of permanent staff layoffs at their companies. Nearly 70 percent of IT professionals report regularly putting in more than 40 hours a week on the job, with 1-in-4 working between 46 and 50 hours a week.

Some U.S. regions are more lucrative than others, according to the Computerworld survey. Total IT compensation in the Pacific region — Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, and Guam — were frequently higher than the remaining areas, particularly for network managers ($77,990); programming/application development managers ($100,624); database administrators ($86,490); help desk/technical support specialists ($52,235); Software engineers ($91,882); and systems architects ($107,735). High earners were also found in the New England region — Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.






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