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4/10/2013
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IT Salary Survey 2013: 11 Career Insights

IT salaries begin to thaw, with median pay for staffers at $90,000 and managers at $120,000.

IT is consistently cited as one of the most-promising U.S. careers, even with the rise of offshore outsourcing. As with most professions, however, compensation is rising only modestly. The IT field still pays well, with staffers earning $90,000 in median total compensation and managers earning $120,000, the 2013 InformationWeek U.S. IT Salary Survey finds. But compensation for staffers is flat compared with last year and up only 3% for managers.

Compensation varies substantially by skill and industry. Staffers focused on enterprise application integration earn a median $110,000, those in general IT earn $73,000 and those on the help desk earn $55,000. A few staff specialties such as cloud computing ($130,000), Web security ($118,000) and mobile ($111,000) pay even higher, though our survey sample sizes are small for those areas. Staffers with the IT architect title make a median $130,000.

IT managers earn six-figure median compensation in 22 of 23 job categories -- help desk managers are the exception, earning $83,000. Among IT staffers, 13 of the 23 functions pay more than $90,000, eight of them more than $100,000.

This marks the 16th year of our Salary Survey, so we have data to track long-term trends. Compared with 10 years ago, few IT employers have dropped health insurance and 401(k) match benefits -- the percentage of respondents receiving those benefits declined only a few points, to 81% and 70%, respectively. The one plunge is in "further education/training," down from 45% for staffers and 46% for managers in 2004 to 29% for staffers and 28% for managers today. And people are our most important asset?

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Here are some other data points that should serve as a warning for IT leaders looking to find and keep talented people.

>> Paychecks are barely thawing, but don't take your talent for granted.

Our Salary Survey shows IT pros getting small raises and only average bonuses despite signs that hiring is picking up. IT staffers report a median rise in total compensation of 1.1% and managers a rise of 2%. As recently as 2010, both staffers and managers reported a change in median salary of 0%.

Bonuses are at best average across industries. The typical manager gets 8% of pay ($10,000) from bonuses and other cash compensation beyond salaries, which is exactly the average bonus percentage over the past 14 years. Manager bonuses are significantly higher in some industries -- as a percentage of total comp, bonuses in the financial, biotech, distribution, food and banking sectors all average in the low teens. Government, education and nonprofit employers pay their tech managers bonuses that average 2% or less of total comp. As for IT staffers, bonuses represented 3% of their total pay this year, a notch below the 5% historical average.

IT hiring appears to be on the rise, even though we aren't seeing enough demand to drive pay spikes. IT accounted for 13% of the 88,000 net new jobs in the U.S. economy in March, according to a Foote Partners analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Monthly IT job growth in 2013 is 53% ahead of the pace last year, Foote finds.

A warning for managers: Even though salaries are growing slowly, don't kid yourself into thinking that your "great place to work" office environment will be enough to keep your most talented people if you're not staying competitive on pay. In our survey, staffers cite base pay as a bigger priority than any other, and it's a close third for managers. More than two-thirds of IT pros cite higher pay as the reason for seeking a new job, and nothing else is cited by even half.

>> Don't learn wrong lesson from Yahoo's no-telecommuting flap.

What matters most to IT pros about their jobs? We asked survey respondents to pick seven priorities from a list of 24. Staffers cite "flexible work schedule" third most often (43%), tied with benefits and trailing only pay (48%) and job stability (45%). Just 26% of staffer respondents cite working at home, putting it in the middle of the pack. Managers put a lower priority on job flexibility (35% cited it) and working at home (15%).

In February, new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer issued the decree that launched a thousand outraged blog posts: No working at home. Inconceivable, the critics cried. Without offering such job flexibility in this day and age, employers won't be able to recruit a talented, diverse workforce, they said.

If Mayer had said that all employees must be stationed at their posts at 8:30 a.m. and can't leave before 5:45 p.m., I'd agree. Employers must recognize that employees have earned the right to come in late or leave early some days in exchange for working long hours other days. And I suspect that even Mayer, once she has Yahoo's culture (and company size) where she wants it, will become more flexible as time goes on. Our data suggests that the ability to work at home isn't necessarily the deal breaker for most IT professionals that the howling outrage about Yahoo's policy would have you think.

>> Not all analytics is created equal.

For staffers, the analytics/business intelligence function lands in the mid-range of compensation. At a median of $93,000, it earns a modest 3% premium over the typical IT staffer pay despite the hoopla over big data. But this category covers a huge range of skills. There's a big difference between the true data scientist and analyst who can tease out insights from huge data sets, or specialists who can create and manage big data infrastructure to let others do that analysis, and those who are building static reports.

Analytics/BI managers earn much higher median total comp. At $132,000, it's tied for fifth among the 23 job categories in our survey and 10% higher than typical IT manager pay.

The pay premiums are much higher in the data integration/warehousing category, with median total compensation of $109,000 for staff (a 21% premium over typical staffer pay) and $130,000 for managers (an 8% premium).

As my colleague Doug Henschen writes in his in-depth InformationWeek report on salaries for analytics and BI pros, the highest salaries among analytics pros go to "difference makers" who can pull together the right data and make sense of it to meet a business need. Writes Henschen: "The trouble is, there are not enough of these visionaries to go around, particularly with the rise of the so-called big data era driving up demand for the most-gifted employees."

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goosegoose35
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goosegoose35,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/24/2014 | 2:05:07 PM
re: IT Salary Survey 2013: 11 Career Insights
you are being baddly paid my friend. I make over 50 and am just a level 2 help desk at the moment.
goosegoose35
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goosegoose35,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/24/2014 | 2:02:59 PM
re: IT Salary Survey 2013: 11 Career Insights
You have worked in the lower end markets. Boston, SO Cal, Austin, NY you will se salries higher than those averages, but also maybe your company does not pay well compared to the average?
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
4/29/2013 | 8:22:22 PM
re: IT Salary Survey 2013: 11 Career Insights
Why do you put "gender wage gap" in quotes? It's a gap, it's not made up. There can be any number of reasons, and we as a society can decide if those are acceptable reasons. But let's not pretend that a 20% gap among managers in the highest-paid field (securities and banking) isn't a gap.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
4/29/2013 | 8:16:41 PM
re: IT Salary Survey 2013: 11 Career Insights
It's more than 14,000 IT pros across the country. It's much more than a few responses.
sdbrannan
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sdbrannan,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/24/2013 | 6:17:54 PM
re: IT Salary Survey 2013: 11 Career Insights
I too have been in IT for over 25+ years and have worked in markets from Dallas to Atlanta to Nashville and wonder what alternate universe they poll for these salaries. I've been a Systems Admin and Analyst for many of these years and at most was paid 76k as a Territory Manager and average 50-60k a year as a System Admin. I'm certainly not seeing the averages they show in these surveys reflected in the Job Searches (CareerBuilder,etc.).

Let's get real and do some more real world polling please!
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
4/22/2013 | 4:49:52 PM
re: IT Salary Survey 2013: 11 Career Insights
You are underpaid in every market in the US from my observations and every recent survey I have read. I work for just under $100K as an IT Dept for a financial institution, not the highest paying industry for mid and small size companies. I am on the west coast, which typically adds $10-20K to many other markets. In my case I feel I am adequately compensated, since we are not a 24/7 shop like many others, and are closed on weekends. The demands on this position are not equal to some other jobs I have held for not that much additional compensation. The benefits here are outstanding (401K, bonuses, company paid or sponsored social activities, training and education assistance), as are vacation and personal time off, so salary cannot be the sole criteria to judge the merits of each job or company. Mike, I think you might have been taken advantage of for your salary and years of service, and management probably thinks you won't leave, and don't realize how much your replacement might cost them.
pdoherty972
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pdoherty972,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/16/2013 | 9:53:04 PM
re: IT Salary Survey 2013: 11 Career Insights
Why do everyone assume any wage gap between women and men must be the result of discrimination? Part of it can certainly be that men and women pursue different careers in some cases, which skews results. Some women seem to favor stability and work-life flexibility over high pay which skews results. Some choose professions like nursing and elementary school teacher which also skews results (since women are more highly represented in those fields than men, and these are not high-paying fields). In addition women, in general, make less because statistically-speaking, they are more likely (at a given age when compared to men of the same age) to have taken months or years out of the labor force to bear and raise children. Which again lowers their average pay through no fault or conspiracy by men or corporate America. When hiring people years of experience is a major measure used to determine compensation. In addition women may be less likely to negotiate their pay in the same way a man would, potentially earning less as a result. Same with raises and promotions. And finally, as evidence that what I say above is true, women who have children, in fact, do earn less than women who did not.

www DOT americanprogress DOT org/issues/labor/news/2012/04/16/11391/the-top-10-facts-about-the-wage-gap/

"10. Mothers earn about 7 percent less per child than childless women. For women under 35 years of age, the wage gap between mothers and women without children is greater than the gap between women and men."
442-mike
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442-mike,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/16/2013 | 9:26:46 PM
re: IT Salary Survey 2013: 11 Career Insights
I'd like to see where these numbers come from. I have 29 years of IT experience and am the IT department manager for a multimillion dollar business in a major metropolitan area, and I make $46k, and had to fight for that! Sorry Chris, but I think you need to get out in the trenches of real IT workers, the ones who get the jobs done, and not just rely on a few survey responses sent in by bored Google employees and fat-cat government/defense contractors.
pdoherty972
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pdoherty972,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/16/2013 | 5:12:30 PM
re: IT Salary Survey 2013: 11 Career Insights
Do you have evidence that the "gender wage gap" isn't the result of the statistical fact that women (of the same age as a given man) are more likely to have been out of the job market (unemployed) due to childbirth? That is to say, when comparing a man age 45 and a woman age 45 both in the same job category, the woman is many times more likely to have been out of the job for months or perhaps years and therefore will command less of a salary due to less experience? Also contributing to the wage gap could be that women are less aggressive/proactive/(confrontational?) about pursuing initial wages and subsequent promotions or raises. Lending credence to my position above is the fact that women who have never had children get paid significantly more than those who have had children.

http://www.americanprogress.or...

"Mothers earn about 7 percent less per child than childless women. For women under 35 years of age, the wage gap between mothers and women without children is greater than the gap between women and men."

There are many factors at play here, and I dislike it when blanket statements make it sound as if there's some conspiracy at work when other factors could easily explain the differences observed.
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
4/15/2013 | 11:53:56 PM
re: IT Salary Survey 2013: 11 Career Insights
It's distressing to see the gender wage gap persist, as well as the striking imbalance in the IT workforce. I wonder if the rise of women in high-profile positions at HP, IBM, Yahoo, Facebook, etc., will help bring more women into technology fields.

Drew Conry-Murray
Editor, Network Computing
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