Inside the "IT Salaries are Rising" Report: Page 2

Posted February 17, 2009

James Maguire

James Maguire

(Page 2 of 2)

This fact alone, depending on how you crunch the numbers, might make IT salaries appear modestly higher. As laid off workers are removed from the average, only the more essential workers remain. These essential staffers are (in theory) better compensated than their expendable colleagues.

But this formulation could certainly be debated by economists and accountants – not to mention disgruntled IT staffers who are still employed yet don’t feel like they’re “better compensated.”

Also contributing to the resilience of IT salaries is the lingering effect of the dotcom crash, with its massive tech bloodletting. IT wages fell, and some disenchanted professionals left the field altogether. College students, witnessing the carnage (and scary headlines about outsourcing) became leery of going into tech. Computer science enrollment has suffered dips in the intervening years.

Acknowledging this trend, the Computer Economics report includes this:

“IT wages experienced no growth and, in some cases, declines following the last recession and only began to recover in 2004. But that recession was led by the technology sector. The subsequent tightening in the labor supply and drive to improve data center productivity has put IT organizations in a better position to respond to this recession.”

I’m not sure how a “tightening labor supply” helps IT organizations – it’s good for IT workers but it actually causes companies’ labor costs to increase. On the other hand, the phrase about “improved data center productivity,” referring to the trend toward automated monitoring, acts to lower IT employment (but theoretically increase the wages of the few remaining IT wizards who understand the monitoring apps).

On a less cheery note, the report also includes this note of unalloyed pessimism:

“The longer this recession persists and the deeper it goes, the more rising unemployment, bankruptcies, and deflation will conspire to put downward pressure on IT salaries, as it will for salaries in other occupational groups.”

Yes, unfortunately that’s true. We can only hope, as the cloud cover gets darker, that the recession ends sooner rather than later. Good luck with survival.

Also see:

For IT Workers, How Bad Will It Get?

How to Not Get an IT Job: 10 Tips

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Tags: IT, IT Jobs/Salary, salary, stats

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