The Dice salary survey completed in January 2008, based on 19,000 tech professionals, offers some good news and some not-so-good news.
On the cheery side:
IT wage growth in major metropolitan areas like Atlanta and Boston, and especially Silicon Valley, keeps chugging along. (Here's a chart of IT salary growth by city.)
While the days when tech salaries were zooming upward are behind us at least for now certain IT specialties are still enjoying healthy boosts. If youre a project manager or an MIS manager, employers will show you the money.
Overall, tech workers are still some of the best paid workers across a wide array of professions. The 2007 average tech salary was $74,570.
Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor data, the unemployment rate for IT professionals remains blissfully low, at 2.1 percent, versus a national average of around 5 percent.
But everythings not rosy. Check out these gloomy tidbits:
Between 2006 and 2007, the average IT salary grew a measly 1.7 percent not even keeping up with inflation.
IT newbies workers with less than 1 year of experience suffered a 2.2 percent decline in average salary, to $41,457.
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Scot Melland, CEO of Dice, says that the IT sector has proven resilient in the face of dark economic headlines.
Theres definitely a lot of gloomy news out there for the economy as a whole, but if you look at the tech sector in particular, the news is actually a little bit better especially in the labor market.
The low IT unemployment in tech, at 2.1 percent, shows the tightness in the labor market, Melland tells me. He notes that economists talk about full employment as any figure less than 4 percent; by that measure, tech professionals are a highly desired bunch.
After all, employment will likely never get to that mythical 100 percent figure; if the 2.5 percent tech unemployment figure is to be believed, virtually every qualified IT professional who wants a job, has one. (Whether that job is their dream job is another question.)
More than 93,000 tech job openings are posted at Dice, with the average job listing staying up for about 14 days, Melland says. New jobs are constantly opening up. You might see 90,000 plus positions, but those positions are always changing.
(The total number of U.S. technology professionals is 6-8 million, by Dices count, with other organizations putting the number at around 10 million.)
As Melland sees it, the stagnant wage growth between 06 and 07 is not as bad as it seems. The paltry 1.7 percent increase was a slow down after the robust increases of 05 and 04; such salary boosts simply couldnt be sustained.
Moreover, bonuses and stock options are not reflected in the salary figures, he says. And theres more use of bonuses and stock options than in years past. These one-time rewards are less risky for employers than ongoing salary increases.
The Dice salary survey shows that its a great time to be a project manager or MIS manager. These specialties saw the biggest increases. Melland says that demand for project managers has increased 25 percent per year for the last two years.
Those project manager positions, and architect positions, are less impacted by the threat of outsourcing, he says. Many companies still want their project leader domestically based, even if they ship development work overseas.
The year 2008 should be at least a reasonably good one for IT workers, Melland predicts.
I think were going to see a continued tight job market with low unemployment. The tech sector has not been impacted by the slow down in the economy, he says. On the salary front, its difficult to predict, theres all sorts of other factors that work in there. But I think its fair to say that there will be healthy job market for tech growth throughout 2008.
Salary figures provided by Dice:
Note the significant salary boost for Project Managers. Also, that's not a mistake for Systems Developers - they really saw a more than 12 percent increase.
|IT Management (CIO, CTO)||$102,326||$106,272||$107,830|
|Quality Assurance Tester||$64,486||$68,280||$68,952|
|Desktop Support Specialist||$42,204||$44,909||$46,458|