Get the complete picture on IT staff and management salaries based on our exclusive survey of 11,662 US IT pros. Is your compensation hot or not?
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When it comes to IT salaries, tech pros know that boring isn't all bad. In our survey, IT staffers report a 1.6% median total compensation rise, and managers report a 2.4% boost. While those raises aren't busting income tax brackets, a raise sure beats the pay freezes and cuts of 2010. That year, 55% of IT pros reported a pay freeze or cut; this year, just 15%.
Median total compensation hit $92,000 for staffers and $120,000 for managers, the survey of 11,662 US IT pros finds. Base salaries are $88,000 for staffers and $112,000 for managers.
Deep tech knowledge is in demand. Five IT staff titles command median salaries of $100,000 or more: architect (the highest, at $120,000), systems architect, software engineer, project leader, and systems programmer. The "general IT" title earns median base pay of $62,000; help desk, $48,000. Staff roles demanding top pay include those related to cloud computing, application integration, data integration and warehousing, and ERP. The list is similar for IT managers, with security and app development also high on that pay scale.
At some companies, the IT skills in demand are changing because IT's role there is changing. Customer-facing apps put a premium not just on application development skills, but also on the people who build the data architectures and infrastructure platforms that feed those apps and deliver a snappy response.
Capital One, for example, is going from 70% outsourced IT to about 70% insourced. Competing in financial services, says CIO Rob Alexander, will increasingly mean delivering new "software-enabled customer experiences" -- and that takes operating like a software company, turning out new app features every few months. To do that, Capital One is hiring software and infrastructure engineers that in the past it got through outsourcers.
"If you wind the clock back several years, we didn't consider building software to be an essential capability of competing in our business," Alexander says. "We needed to be really good at integrating, customizing, managing third parties -- those things were really important." Now Capital One wants to go toe to toe against top tech vendors in recruiting development and engineering talent.
What kind of IT salary market awaits hiring managers like Alexander? What factors beyond pay concern IT pros most? What's their long-term outlook on the IT career? Here are some key findings from our 2014 Salary Survey.
Employee Satisfaction: Pay Not As Big A Priority
We listed 24 job-satisfaction drivers and asked which seven are most important. Staffers cite base pay most often (48%); managers cite having their opinion and knowledge valued (46%).
As recently as 2009, 60% of IT staffers listed base pay among their most important factors. The drop in importance shows employees are more confident and comfortable that they'll have a steady paycheck, as the economy and employment picture stabilize.
The next most important factors to staffers are job stability, benefits, flexible work schedule, and vacation time. The least important factors are company reputation, involvement in setting company goals, bonus opportunity, and effectiveness of immediate supervisor.
In the middle are factors that relate to having an impact on the company: 22% of staffers and 34% of managers put a premium on doing work that's important to the company's success.
Whirlpool CIO Michael Heim makes the case, however, that IT morale can sink if tech pros lose that sense of purpose. Heim's team has been working on a Google Apps software implementation to replace a dated version of Lotus Notes. While the technology is far from bleeding edge, seeing how much the new Google Apps capabilities can improve collaboration is giving the IT team a lift. "You just don't do that many projects in this business that touch everybody in the company," Heim notes.
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.
Just one in 10 IT pros feels insecure at work, with the rest saying they're secure or somewhat secure.
But IT hiring managers can't get complacent about compensation and must make sure they're paying market rates. The No. 1 reason to look for
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 ... View Full Bio
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