Strategic CIO // Team Building & Staffing
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6/30/2014
09:26 AM
Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham
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IT Salary: 10 Ways To Get A Raise

Do you deserve a bigger IT paycheck? Here's how to negotiate with bosses, navigate counteroffers, and avoid mistakes.
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Asking your manager for a raise and negotiating a higher salary probably rank right up there with a trip to the dentist's office on your list of fun things to do. The good news: The number of IT professionals who received a salary increase in the last year is up -- and with a bit of preparation, you too can walk away with more money.

According to InformationWeek's 17th annual US IT Salary Survey, IT staffers and managers cite pay as their No. 1 (48%) and No. 2 (46%) workplace motivators. In the last year, 41% of professionals reported a raise of up to 5%; 15% said they received a raise of between 5% and 10%; and 1 in 10 of professionals reported a raise of more than 10%, according to our data.

"IT pros have stayed remarkably consistent in their satisfaction with pay and their jobs overall in recent years: Around two-thirds say they're satisfied or very satisfied, a bit less than one-fourth are neutral, and a bit more than 10% are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied," the report states.

But that's no reason to get complacent: Money is also the No. 1 reason that IT professionals look for a new job, according to 72% of IT staffers and 70% of managers. As the economy and overall satisfaction with the industry improve, more IT pros are considering their options.

Another data point: In our recent flash poll on IT salaries, more than half of respondents said they do not feel fairly compensated. See IT Salaries: Looking For Love.

This year, 42% of our salary survey respondents indicated that they are somewhat or actively looking for a new job, up from 39% in 2012. Higher compensation, more interesting work, and increased personal fulfillment top the list of reasons for both staffers and managers.

Mark Berger, senior technical recruiter at Steven Douglas Associates, says that while you may be tempted to jump ship if you're underpaid, you should consider asking for a raise first.

"Have a conversation with your manager before you make a change. Employees sometimes don't see the value in their own work and think the only way to get an increase in pay is to look elsewhere," he points out. While sometimes a move may be the right choice, it's not your only option.

When a new job is on your horizon, prepare yourself for the inevitable negotiation -- and counteroffer. "Counteroffers happen more and more these days as employers really do value the talent they have," Berger notes. "They don't want to lose a good employee for a few thousand dollars."

Obtaining the salary you deserve -- whether it's through a raise or negotiations at a new employer -- requires that you prepare and research accordingly, then follow smart tactics. These 10 tips from industry experts will help you succeed. What's your salary negotiation advice? Share with your peers in the comments section.

Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
7/17/2014 | 10:08:02 PM
Re: Workplace Reality and the Tech Low Ball
Hi Kristen, Thanks again ! This is exactly what I needed ! And thank you IW ! Great information.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
7/17/2014 | 10:01:49 PM
Re: Workplace Reality and the Tech Low Ball
Hi Kristen, I had not and thank you for the link. ! I am sure I need to update what is in my head. : )
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
7/8/2014 | 10:46:23 AM
Re: Workplace Reality and the Tech Low Ball
@Technocrati, have you checked out the full results from our IT Salary Survey? You can download it here and find a breakdown of average salaries based on location -- that may help you determine whether you're paid fairly. 
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
7/8/2014 | 10:38:41 AM
Re: When to rock the boat?
How happy are you in your position? Is your work challenging and rewarding? Are the skills you're learning and using preparing you for what's next? If not, it may not be worth it to stay just for the purpose of stability in your resume. If your job isn't meeting your expectations, that's something you can discuss with hiring managers if they question your short stint. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/8/2014 | 9:04:03 AM
Re: A rising tide lifts IT's boat
We have seen some commoditization of certain IT jobs, for sure. It's one reason IT professionals want to continue receiving training on new techs -- that, and because it's generally something IT pros are genuinely interested in doing for themselves, as well as for career development. As in many careers, specialization helps. If you become adept in a specific vertical -- finance, healthcare, retail, etc. -- as well as an area of technology, you will most likely be in more demand and command a higher salary than someone who is a generalist. 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/8/2014 | 7:11:24 AM
Re: Workplace Reality and the Tech Low Ball
@Rich, I love how the top of the industry plays this game.  IT is a hot industry, everyone is making millions with their feet up on a desk watching the datacenter monitors.  I see IT becoming more like factory assembly jobs, people are looking for work and they decide to go get some training and IT is a field where lots of training is available and the money is decent.  So we get various levels of skill sets that can be hard to sort out.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
7/7/2014 | 10:07:55 PM
Re: Workplace Reality and the Tech Low Ball
Since 2005, that is when the economy fundamentally changed into what we have today.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/7/2014 | 4:47:17 PM
Re: Other advice?
Thanks very much! I am hoping something breaks soon.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/7/2014 | 7:18:21 AM
Re: A rising tide lifts IT's boat
I find this funny because if you think about it many "bosses" in popular media are portrayed as micromanaging tyrants.  I've only worked for a couple that were like this so I can't say it's the majority of leaders who behave this way but there is a real awareness for this type of boss so you would think that people put into those positions would be careful not to become "that boss".
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
7/3/2014 | 2:14:49 PM
Workplace Reality and the Tech Low Ball
Thank you for some really  great advice Kristin.  It seems to be a constantly battle to find the right balance in the area of salary.

It depends on the location I understand, but I have the distinct feeling I have been "low balled" my entire career.  To say it isn't frustrating would not be truthful, but I know I am not alone.   And this is not because I am not a good negotiator, but in this economy one can rarely bargain from a position of strength.  Companies know this  unashamedly take advantage and probably have been since the first transaction.

Regardless, of the fact that IT salaries have in general been on the rise for the past decade.  Real salaries have for the most part become stagnate.

So your advice will be useful to everyone regardless of role and for the most part - position.
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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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