Salaries, Perks Down

Only professionals with sought-after skills can expect to see salaries inch up
Salaries for technology professionals are likely to average 1.6% less in 2004, according to analysis of thousands of job orders received by Robert Half Technology, a provider of IT staffing and consulting services.

There is good news, too: Demand and pay for some highly skilled positions, particularly those in security and systems auditing, are increasing, says Melissa Maffettone, a Robert Half Technology regional branch manager. It's the positions where talent supply exceeds demand, such as IT support and help-desk jobs, where salaries are falling.

For instance, base compensation for desktop-support analysts next year will drop 5.3%, with starting salaries in the $47,000-to-$65,000 range. But pay for sought-after data-security analysts will rise 2.1%, up to $90,750 annually. Base salaries for CIOs on average will fall 2.6% to between $115,500 and $196,250. Beverly Lieberman, president of IT executive search firm Halbrecht Lieberman Associates Inc., says she hasn't seen a decline in base salaries for new CIO positions, although CIO pay raises are flat or in the 5% to 10% range. But, she says, "companies are much less willing to offer sign-ons or to guarantee first-year bonuses."

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