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IT Wage Increases Are Lukewarm--Unless You're Hot Stuff

If you're a network security expert or an Oracle database administrator, try asking for a raise, report says.

Pay for IT workers has remained relatively flat through the first half of 2005, and it has even dropped slightly since this time last year, according to a new report from Yoh Services LLC, a provider of outsourcing and professional staffing services.

"Demand is strong, but productivity is also strong--good resources are doing more work, so that doesn't translate to wage increases," says Jim Lanzalotto, VP of strategy and marketing at Yoh. "You see wages pop up a little, then they pop back--there's been a little momentum, but not sustainable."

Average hourly wages for IT pros in the second quarter was $29.38, nearly flat from $29.31 in the first quarter. The second-quarter pay was down 1.2% from average hourly pay of $29.75 in the second quarter of 2004, according to the Yoh Index of Technology Wages.

The index is based on wage data pertaining to 5,000 IT pros working on short- and long-term projects at 1,000 large employers in sectors such as aviation, engineering, manufacturing, utilities, IT, and telecommunications. The data is compiled from Yom's 40 U.S. field offices.

Compared to a base score of 100, which was set according to average IT wages paid in January 2001, pay in the second quarter of 2005 hit a score of 105.19, down from 106.53 in same quarter of 2004.

Despite the slight year-to-year drop in average hourly wages, there are still a number of skills that are in heavy demand and receive higher-than-average pay, Lanzalotto says. Those include network security experts, who in the second quarter were paid an average hourly wage of $65.01; application developers, who received $54.10; Java developers, who earned $52.59; Oracle database administrators, who made $53.81; and C#,.Net pros, who got $52.09.

Demand was also steady--and pay solid--for ASP .Net experts, who earned an average hourly wage of $50.90; C and C++ programmers, who received $49.97; Cisco network engineers, who made $47.88; and developers of embedded technology, who received $49.46.

Yoh field offices report that demand continues to stay particularly strong for network security professionals and Oracle database administrators, Lanzalotto says, adding, "We're also seeing more application development work, still around Sarbanes-Oxley, and also around ERP."

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