Tech Managers Make $115,000, Staff $87,000. Why Are IT Pros So Worried?
After a decade of hard knocks, IT pros earn modest raises, our annual U.S. IT Salary Survey shows, but they face plenty of uncertainty ahead.
What Matters In A Job
When Lisa Morgan lost her job with a credit card company in 2010, she lamented to her domestic partner that it was the best job she'd ever had. "She said, 'That's what you said the last time you lost a job,'" Morgan recalls. "And now I'm in the best job I've ever had."
An IT fairy tale? Maybe--except for the 10 months of stress, doubt, contract work, and retraining in 2010.
Morgan's now working for an IT contractor, Dynamics Research, focused on government clients. She's doing interesting work on an Army logistics system, and she's impressed by her new colleagues' application development discipline. She's earning more money than she did on her last job, gets better benefits, and has just a 10-minute commute. Morgan's priorities are similar to those of the IT staffers in our survey: base pay, benefits, flexible work schedule, and having their opinion and knowledge valued.
Although base pay was cited by staffers more than any other priority in our 2011 salary survey, it was cited by only half of respondents, down from 60% two years ago. But even at 50%, base pay has climbed in importance since 2001, when only 41% of staffers cited it as a priority. When even middle-of-the-pack IT pros are getting a 9% raise and an $11,000 bonus, few people are sweating pay.
Base pay's importance rose only slightly through the recession, as people put more relative importance on the job challenge/responsibility and job stability. Only in 2005 did the importance of base pay, cited by 48% of staffers as important, approach today's levels. That might have been about the time IT pros gave up the notion that the bonus bonanza of 2001 would come back, making a raise of a couple of percentage points more important.
Look at what fell on IT staffers' priority lists since 2009, and it's not a healthy picture: challenge/responsibility (down 8 points from 2009, to 39%), working on new, innovative IT (down 11 points, to 20%), and working with leading-edge technology (down 5 points, to 21%). Back in 2001 "challenge" was cited as a priority by 64% of staffers, working on innovative IT by 21%, and working on the latest technology by 29%. The upshot is a worrisome lack of excitement about technology.