2012 IT Salary Survey: 12 Career Insights

Nearly 14,000 IT pros took our 2012 salary survey, providing insights into salaries and bonuses. What can you learn to increase your paycheck and career satisfaction?

Chris Murphy, Editor, InformationWeek

April 17, 2012

13 Slides

Let's kick this off by breaking one of our society's great taboos--discussing what you earn. Thanks to 13,880 IT pros who took InformationWeek's U.S. IT Salary Survey, we can say the median U.S. IT staffer makes $85,000 in base salary and $90,000 with cash bonuses, while an IT manager makes $108,000 base and $116,000 with bonuses.

But our 2012 Salary Survey offers more than that bottom line insight, and the charts that follow highlight some of the other critical career trends from our survey. For example, we put numbers on the impact that skills, location, and industry have on pay.

We learn that IT pros are feeling better about the health of the IT career path, but a narrow majority still see it as less promising than in the past.

While IT pros still see outsourcing as a big negative for IT jobs, they're less worried than a decade ago--slightly more than half of IT pros say there are fewer IT jobs due to outsourcing, whereas a decade ago, that figure hovered around 75%.

Yet few buy management's promise that outsourcing lower-level tech jobs will let the remaining U.S. pros focus on more innovative projects. Still, three out of five IT pros are satisfied with their pay and other aspects of their jobs, and most of the rest are in the neutral rather than dissatisfied category.

One of the undisputed truths of our age is that we're all going to have lots of employers in our lives and that stability is a thing of the past. And while it's certainly true that the mythical 30 years-and-a-gold-watch career path is a rarity, our data points to less job hopping than you might expect.

Most IT pros would prefer to stay put at their current employers if they can--the typical tenure at their current employer is more than eight years. Seven out of 10 IT pros have had only one or two employers the past decade.

Staffers and managers put a high premium on stability, rating job and company stability among the most important attributes of a job.

However, employers can't afford to take their employees for granted. Top talent will jump first and foremost for a bigger paycheck, but our survey points to several other key reasons, including a desire to find more interesting work, more personal fulfillment, or to avoid a bad manager or company culture. We explain this and other career insights in the data that follows.

About the Author(s)

Chris Murphy

Editor, InformationWeek

Chris Murphy is editor of InformationWeek and co-chair of the InformationWeek Conference. He has been covering technology leadership and CIO strategy issues for InformationWeek since 1999. Before that, he was editor of the Budapest Business Journal, a business newspaper in Hungary; and a daily newspaper reporter in Michigan, where he covered everything from crime to the car industry. Murphy studied economics and journalism at Michigan State University, has an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia, and has passed the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams.

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