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5/19/2014
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IT Salary Survey 2014: Benchmark Your Pay

Get the complete picture on IT staff and management salaries based on our exclusive survey of 11,662 US IT pros. Is your compensation hot or not?

another job, cited by seven out of 10 IT pros in our survey, is higher pay. The next closest factor, more interesting work, was cited by less than half.

Tech Career Prospects And Outsourcing

For staffers, 48% think an IT career is more promising than it was five years ago, while 55% of managers think so. Both of those percentages represent a 15-point increase from a recent low point in 2011.

Concerns about outsourcing are always close to the surface in any discussion of US IT careers. Just over half of the pros in our survey say their companies are outsourcing some IT jobs; 42% say they're not. In 2010, 64% of IT staffers blamed outsourcing for fewer IT jobs, a percentage that dips to 56% this year. Our 2014 survey shows similar small declines in several other negative factors related to outsourcing, but outsourcing continues to be seen as negative to IT careers and salaries. Few see much upside -- just 20% of managers and 13% of staffers say it has led to their getting more responsibilities. But most haven't felt outsourcing's downside personally: Two-thirds say it has had no impact on their career paths.

Our survey shows no big change in the number of companies doing outsourcing -- 53% this year compared with 50% in 2010. But anecdotally, we have seen a number of high-profile examples of big companies bringing some outsourced IT work back in-house, as they see competitive advantage from having employees who know their businesses very well working to innovate with new technologies.

We mentioned Capital One earlier as an example of insourcing, but General Motors is conducting probably the largest and most sweeping such effort today. CIO Randy Mott is driving a switch to 90% insourced IT from 90% outsourced, hiring thousands of IT pros in the Detroit area as well as in new development centers near Atlanta; Austin, Texas; and Phoenix.

If IT employees understand their industry and company well, and internal IT can deliver projects consistently, Mott thinks that success will change the relationship IT has with business units, as they work together on critical projects.

"You really want to change 'the ask' -- you want them asking for things that are bigger drivers to helping their business and driving business results," Mott said at this year's InformationWeek Conference.

Major Pay Variables: Industry, Location, Gender

Male IT staffers make about 16% more in median total compensation than females, and for managers the gap is about 11%. That gap is about the same as last year for staffers and managers, and up three points from 2012.

Huge pay differences exist depending on the industry in which IT pros work. For managers, the top industries in terms of total compensation are Wall Street, biotech, energy, consumer goods, financial services, IT and electronics, and consulting, all topping $140,000 in median total compensation. IT managers in education, nonprofits, and state and local government make the least, at $94,000 median pay or less.

For IT staffers, Wall Street, IT and elec¬tronics, biotech, and energy are the top industries, all earning $107,000 or more in median total compensation. The lowest-¬paying industries for staffers are the same as for managers, where they earn $72,000 or less. A typical Wall Street IT staffer makes nearly twice what an IT staffer in K-12 education does.

Geography also influences salaries, of course, with companies on the West and East coasts paying the most. Six metro areas offer median base IT staff salaries of $100,000 or more: San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; Boston; Baltimore; New York; and San Diego (from greatest to least). For managers, companies in those six cities, but minus Baltimore and plus Los Angeles, pay the highest salaries: $130,000-plus.

IT leaders at companies outside the San Francisco Bay Area continue to debate whether they need to set up shop in that high-salary market to get an innovation injection. GM in its hiring blitz opted not to, thinking that its four dispersed centers let it reach most of the country's tech talent

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Chris Murphy is editor of InformationWeek and leader of its Strategic CIO community. He has been covering technology leadership and strategy issues for InformationWeek since 1999. Before that, he was editor of the Budapest Business Journal, a business newspaper in Hungary; ... View Full Bio

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Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
5/21/2014 | 9:34:27 AM
Stuck In A Rut
I always find it interesting to see what motivates professionals of any field to stay engaged at their jobs. No one wants to be underpaid, of course, but since most professionals are unlikely to accept a position that doesn't pay a competitive salary, what then makes someone want to stay at an organization? Apparently many organizations heeded IT pros' past requests for ongoing training and access to newer technologies. I'd recommend, based on this survey and a two decade-plus knowledge of this industry, that organizations provide technologists in the trenches with more access to working with business units. They'll give IT pros a stronger career path and have more productive, more challenged technologists who work in enhanced synergy with their ultimate end customers.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
5/21/2014 | 9:29:36 AM
Re: Women in Technology-close the gender pay gap
That's a big gap -- 16% -- especially at a time when so many big tech companies, such as IBM, EMC, and Dell have ongoing diversity programs in place to recruit and retain women (among others). Is it because women are said not to ask for raises as aggressively and often as their male counterparts or are women undervalued by managers? As you point out Gretchen, there are several great resources out there to help tech women increase their salaries, bonuses, and promotion chances. Organizations like the Anita Borg Institute or Society of Women Engineers may also be good starting points. They're usually extremely supportive and helpful.
GretchenP736
IW Pick
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GretchenP736,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/20/2014 | 5:56:04 PM
Women in Technology-close the gender pay gap
Chris, Appreciate the comparisons you point out-tech-centric cities enjoy the highest median pay. Great to see jobs coming home again, as evidenced by CapitalOne's US IT job growth. The persistent gender pay divide is significant, troubling and merits attention and action. I don't expect all the IT guys to take a 5% pay cut to even things out. It is up to the worker to know the market and ask for what you are worth. One place that we can push to close the gap is negotiating for competitive pay, either with the boss during the annual review cycle or when you get your next offer. NYT posted some basic quick tips for salary negotiation. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/25/your-money/moving-past-gender-barriers-to-negotiate-a-raise.html?_r=0

Ladies, Let's speak up!
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
5/20/2014 | 12:30:45 PM
Re: A real world summary
Chris, that's correct.  Uncle Sam is pretty stingy right now when it comes to bonuses. But when you look at what shows up in your paycheck, not to mention your pension plan, it looks like the Feds are paying out pretty decent paychecks.  The question is, is what some might consider hardship pay worth it?
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
5/20/2014 | 12:18:47 PM
Re: A real world summary
Federal IT workers rank a bit lower if you factor in total compensation, since they get very little pay through bonuses, but your point stands Wyatt that federal IT workers fair pretty well in this survey -- certainly compared with their state and local government counterparts. 
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
5/20/2014 | 10:20:05 AM
Re: A real world summary
I agree, Charles.  I found it interesting and a bit surprising, that federal government IT staffers ranked in the Top 5 of 30 sectors the survey covered in media salaries (at $100K)-- and federal government IT managers ranked in the Top 10.  We'll report more on that in an article due out here on InformationWeek tomorrow.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
5/19/2014 | 10:03:00 PM
A real world summary
Chris Murphy has offered a good, real world summary of what's going on with IT salaries here.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
5/19/2014 | 5:18:23 PM
Re: One disconnect
Laurianne, I completely agree, IT should not have to work in isolation, especially, when understanding their industry and company can create greater productivity. There are many procedures that can create this distance between IT and business units, one such example is when an admin staffer has to create a request to the IT manager for the creation of a sign-on credential for a new hire, even when they know the IT staffer responsible for creating the credentials.

This is bad for IT employees, but things become worst when the new hire is already at their desk but their computer is not accessible, resulting in capital lose. 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
5/19/2014 | 3:02:28 PM
One disconnect
"The IT managers in our survey spend much more time with business units." I am surprised at the disconnect between managers and staff on this measure. IT Staffers, are your managers grooming you to work hand-in-hand with business leaders?
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