Strategic CIO // Team Building & Staffing
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6/30/2014
06:00 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
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IT Salaries: Looking For Love

We asked whether you felt fairly compensated for your IT role. More than half of you said no.

In our flash poll "IT Salaries: Do You Feel The Love?" we asked whether you think you're fairly compensated for your IT role. More than half of you said no. That's 54% of 2,631 poll respondents -- a hefty number. While the online poll, which ran May 19 to June 1, isn't scientific, it's at least an indicator of how you're feeling about your work situation these days.

Of course, we can't discount the lucky 18% of you who said you're making WAY more than the work you're doing is worth, or the cheery 28% who said you're paid fairly for your IT role.

Here are the full poll results:

Table 1: Do you feel fairly compensated for your IT role?

Yes, I'm paid fairly 28.09%
No, but I doubt I can get a better position 16.50%
No, and I'm looking now for a job that pays better 24.55%
No, and I plan to ask for more money. If I donít get it, I'll start looking 12.50%
Are you kidding? I make WAY more than the work I do is worth 18.36%
Source: InformationWeek Flash Poll, May 19 to June 1, 2014; 2,631 survey takers.

So what gives with the majority of unhappy IT workers? Is dissatisfaction your default setting? Or is there something more troubling going on?

For answers, let's first turn to the 2014 InformationWeek IT Salary Survey, which polled (scientifically, I might add) more than 11,000 IT employees, ranging from the highest executive ranks to entry-level roles. According to the salary survey's results, the median annual base salary for IT staff in 2014 is $88,000, and for IT managers it's $112,000.

[Is your salary lower than the median? Is It Time To Ask For A Raise?]

Respondents to the InformationWeek Salary Survey are happier with their total compensation than those who took our flash poll: 58% of IT staffers and 63% of IT managers said they're either satisfied or very satisfied with their compensation. Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents in both categories are neutral about their compensation -- can I get a "meh," please? -- while 18% of staffers and 13% of managers are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their pay.

So while the respondents to the InformationWeek Salary Survey skewed higher on the "meh scale" than did the respondents to our online flash poll, neither poll suggests that IT folks are exactly jumping for joy about their compensation.

Of course, you could see things the other way and say how wonderful it is that fully 46% of our flash poll respondents are satisfied with their compensation. But what fun is it to look at a glass half full?

Let's look at the bigger picture instead. Since 2000, median IT base pay tracked by InformationWeek's research team increased at compound annual growth rates of 3.4% for staffers and 3.1% for managers. In that same time period, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index has increased anywhere from 1.6% to 3.8% per year, with the exception of 2009, when the CPI declined amid the recession.

(Source: Pixabay)
(Source: Pixabay)

Comparing the two sets of figures, if the Bureau of Labor inflation calculator is accurate, the cumulative rate of US inflation since 2000 is 38.2%, meaning that it generally costs consumers $1.38 today to buy something that cost $1.00 in 2000. Meantime, median IT staff salaries are now 60.0% higher than they were in 2000, rising from a median base of $55,000 that year to $88,000 in 2014. Likewise, IT manager salaries are 55.5% higher, up from $72,000 in 2000 to $112,000 in 2014. This suggests that the average IT pro is better compensated today than he or she was 14 years ago. Maybe IT salaries aren't doing so badly after all.

OK, if it isn't base pay that's displeasing some IT pros, perhaps it's the lack of perks? According to the 2014 InformationWeek Salary Survey, beyond health insurance and 401K matches, non-cash benefits are hard to come by in US IT jobs:

Table 2: Please specify the type(s) of noncash and indirect cash rewards you expect to receive in the next 12 months

 Rewards   Staff   Management 
Health insurance 81% 81%
401K match 72% 70%
Company-paid smartphone 34% 56%
Further education or training 30% 28%
Tuition reimbursement 24% 25%
Certification reimbursement 21% 20%
Stock purchase plan 15% 14%
Health club membership 12% 12%
Stock options 10% 16%
Company-paid phone, fax, cable-modem, and/or DSL lines 8% 13%
Company-paid home Internet access 8% 11%
Sabbatical or extended vacation 3% 4%
Company car or car allowance 3% 8%
Day care or day-care subsidy 3% 3%
Other 5% 5%
Note: Multiple responses allowed; base: 5,945 IT staff and 5,717 IT managers; Source: InformationWeek 2014 US IT Salary Survey, February 2014.

What else am I missing? What's making so many IT workers dissatisfied? If you're among the unhappy respondents, tell us why. Maybe you're just "meh" about your salary -- and we want to know what that's about, too. And if you're flat-out thrilled with what you're earning, please provide your company's HR contact details.

Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators. Read our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue today.

Susan Nunziata works closely with the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community. Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for ... View Full Bio
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progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Moderator
6/30/2014 | 10:12:40 AM
Re: Re : IT Salaries: Looking For Love
My point was mainly satisfaction can lead to complacency, which can lead to professional stagnation.  If you are constantly in that mindset of constantly wanting 'just a little more' I think it can make you more aggressive professionally.

Maybe that's not always a good thing - has been for me though.
Hospice_Houngbo
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Hospice_Houngbo,
User Rank: Strategist
6/30/2014 | 10:04:02 AM
Re: Re : IT Salaries: Looking For Love
@Sunuta:

"Many Indian IT workers are unhappy because they are getting salary hike in the range of 10-15% but this raise is offset by steep inflation."

Sometimes employers cannot afford to raise salaries above a certain level due to some constaints and employees will have to understand that. 
Hospice_Houngbo
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Hospice_Houngbo,
User Rank: Strategist
6/30/2014 | 9:49:42 AM
Re: Re : IT Salaries: Looking For Love
@progman2000:

" I think most people will never be satisfied with their salary (and really, should you be?)."

It depends on the work load and employees' responsibility in the workplace and how they feel connected with the company. If they feel that they are overloaded with duties when the leadership is reaping all the benefts, they will never be satisfied with both their work and salary.
progman2000
IW Pick
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progman2000,
User Rank: Moderator
6/30/2014 | 8:51:45 AM
Re: Re : IT Salaries: Looking For Love
I'd like to know how satisfaction with compensation correlates to length of tenure at an employer.  In other words, are the most satisfied the longest tenured, shortest or neither?

Then again I always question metrics like this, because I think most people will never be satisfied with their salary (and really, should you be?).
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2014 | 8:13:53 AM
Re : IT Salaries: Looking For Love
@Susan, thanks for the post. Its not surprising to know that more than half of the respondents said they are  not happy with the compensation. Many Indian IT workers are unhappy because they are getting salary hike in the range of 10-15% but this raise is offset by steep inflation.
<<   <   Page 4 / 4
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
InformationWeek surveyed 11,662 IT pros across 30 industries about their pay, benefits, job satisfaction, outsourcing, and more. Some of the results will surprise you.
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