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Federal IT Salaries Strong, But Trouble Looms

Government IT still pays better than other industries. But after three years of belt-tightening, half of federal IT employees are looking for a new job, InformationWeek salary survey shows.
to do more with less.

As one federal employee told us, "I chose to work IT for a lesser salary a decade ago in the federal sector due to the job security. That has been shattered this past year. Having our benefits cut and our job security threatened [has resulted in] losing the few qualified IT workers we have."

IT managers, meanwhile, ranked in the top 10 based on median salaries, which average $122,000.

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There are other challenges, too: Mid-career employees foresee fewer opportunities for better pay or advancement as older or more established colleagues continue to count down the days until retirement. And federal IT pros who once counted on continued on-the-job training report that those training opportunities aren't what they once were.

While 48% of federal IT staff and 62% of IT managers attended agency-paid training in the past 12 months, a fifth of IT staffers and a quarter of IT managers paid for the training themselves -- personally laying out a median average of $1,000 and $825, respectively. Nearly three out of 10 IT staff workers said they received no training or certification courses over the past year.

But there's a deeper concern, warns John Palguta, VP for policy at the Partnership for Public Service. As he put it in our in-depth report on federal IT salary trends, "Some employees also resent what they see as unfair treatment over the last three years, and it's going to take a while for that to dissipate. Two years of 1% pay increases are not viewed as cancelling out three years of a pay freeze."

Senior agency leaders counting on IT projects to help them boost productivity ought to be particularly concerned about one set of findings: Half of federal IT employees surveyed say they are looking for a new job -- including 17% of IT managers who say they are looking actively.

Those findings and many more are contained in InformationWeek's special report on federal IT salaries. And don't miss what IT pros across all 30 industries we surveyed this year have to say in InformationWeek's 2014 US IT Salary Survey.

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.

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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
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Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
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Carlo Massimo, Contributing Writer
Salvatore Salamone, Managing Editor, Network Computing