IT Salary Survey 2014: Benchmark Your Pay - InformationWeek

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5/19/2014
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IT Salary Survey 2014: Benchmark Your Pay

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?

while keeping its costs down. GE, on the other hand, has hired more than 600 tech pros in its Silicon Valley office, in order not only to tap certain tech skills, but also to learn the tactics and mindset of fast-paced software development and innovation. "It was as much to change the culture of GE as it was to get the talent," says Jim Fowler, CIO of GE Power & Water.

Skill-Building: Cutting-Edge Tech, Training Neglected

IT pros must keep their skills up to date, right? If doing so means working on cutting-edge tech projects or taking training, too many IT pros don't consider keeping up to date to be a high priority.

Just one in five IT pros considers "ability to work with leading-edge technology" among the top factors that matter at work. Just 23% of staffers and a mere 15% of managers put skill development/education/training on that priority list. (In another question, about half of both staffers and managers acknowledge that "experimenting with cutting-edge technology" is critical to doing their jobs, however.)

Companies do put people through a lot of training. Around half of all IT pros in our survey say they attended company-paid training in the past year, and 17% of staffers and 18% of managers attended company-paid certification. Twenty percent of all IT pros paid for training or certification out of their pockets last year, shelling out a median $1,000. Just 33% of staffers and 30% of managers received no additional training or certification.

Which kind of training is most valued? We asked people to pick two types among a list of nine. For staffers, it's overwhelmingly technology-specific training (73%), followed by certification (45%) and project management (16%). For managers, it's also tech training (54%) and certification (29%), but other areas -- business skills, people management, project management -- were each cited by about one-fifth of manager survey respondents.

Role Of IT

There's a notion that business units are controlling more IT spending than they used to, and we're seeing some evidence of that trend in our survey -- who pays IT pros, where they sit, and especially where they spend their time.

Asked if their salary is allocated to a business unit, 72% of IT staffers in our survey say no. But 21% say half or more of their salary is allocated to a business unit, while 7% say less than half is. The breakdown is nearly identical when we asked IT staffers whether they're physically located in a business unit outside of the IT organization and whether they report to a manager outside of IT. The conclusion: A sizable minority of IT pros have formally budgeted, embedded roles inside business units.

The survey data also shows IT staffers spending a lot of time with business unit peers: 30% say they spend at least half their time with business unit peers, 27% say less than half their time, while 43% say other business units don't apply to their jobs. That might be the most surprising of the stats, actually -- two out of every five IT staffers say they have jobs that don't involve business unit interaction?

The IT managers in our survey spend much more time with business units. Forty percent say they spend at least half their time with business unit peers versus about one-fourth saying such work doesn't apply to their jobs.

The critical business and technical skills IT pros think they need haven't changed in years. For managers, most often cited is aligning business and technology goals (84%), followed by collaborating with colleagues, building vendor relationships, managing vendors, and analyzing data. Lower on their list, cited by 55% of managers, is interacting with customers. Fowler, the GE Power & Water CIO, sees this role of customer-facing IT growing, as IT leaders get called in to help sell company products. In GE's case, the product can be highly technical equipment ranging from power turbines to MRI scanners to jet engines, all of which include data-sharing capabilities along with the operational engineering. As more information technology gets embedded into products, customers are asking hard questions about data security, integration, and analysis -- questions that take an IT pro to answer. Says Fowler: "We're finding that the CIO of our customer is showing up in these meetings."

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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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Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
5/21/2014 | 9:34:27 AM
Stuck In A Rut
I always find it interesting to see what motivates professionals of any field to stay engaged at their jobs. No one wants to be underpaid, of course, but since most professionals are unlikely to accept a position that doesn't pay a competitive salary, what then makes someone want to stay at an organization? Apparently many organizations heeded IT pros' past requests for ongoing training and access to newer technologies. I'd recommend, based on this survey and a two decade-plus knowledge of this industry, that organizations provide technologists in the trenches with more access to working with business units. They'll give IT pros a stronger career path and have more productive, more challenged technologists who work in enhanced synergy with their ultimate end customers.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
5/21/2014 | 9:29:36 AM
Re: Women in Technology-close the gender pay gap
That's a big gap -- 16% -- especially at a time when so many big tech companies, such as IBM, EMC, and Dell have ongoing diversity programs in place to recruit and retain women (among others). Is it because women are said not to ask for raises as aggressively and often as their male counterparts or are women undervalued by managers? As you point out Gretchen, there are several great resources out there to help tech women increase their salaries, bonuses, and promotion chances. Organizations like the Anita Borg Institute or Society of Women Engineers may also be good starting points. They're usually extremely supportive and helpful.
GretchenP736
IW Pick
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GretchenP736,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/20/2014 | 5:56:04 PM
Women in Technology-close the gender pay gap
Chris, Appreciate the comparisons you point out-tech-centric cities enjoy the highest median pay. Great to see jobs coming home again, as evidenced by CapitalOne's US IT job growth. The persistent gender pay divide is significant, troubling and merits attention and action. I don't expect all the IT guys to take a 5% pay cut to even things out. It is up to the worker to know the market and ask for what you are worth. One place that we can push to close the gap is negotiating for competitive pay, either with the boss during the annual review cycle or when you get your next offer. NYT posted some basic quick tips for salary negotiation. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/25/your-money/moving-past-gender-barriers-to-negotiate-a-raise.html?_r=0

Ladies, Let's speak up!
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
5/20/2014 | 12:30:45 PM
Re: A real world summary
Chris, that's correct.  Uncle Sam is pretty stingy right now when it comes to bonuses. But when you look at what shows up in your paycheck, not to mention your pension plan, it looks like the Feds are paying out pretty decent paychecks.  The question is, is what some might consider hardship pay worth it?
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
5/20/2014 | 12:18:47 PM
Re: A real world summary
Federal IT workers rank a bit lower if you factor in total compensation, since they get very little pay through bonuses, but your point stands Wyatt that federal IT workers fair pretty well in this survey -- certainly compared with their state and local government counterparts. 
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
5/20/2014 | 10:20:05 AM
Re: A real world summary
I agree, Charles.  I found it interesting and a bit surprising, that federal government IT staffers ranked in the Top 5 of 30 sectors the survey covered in media salaries (at $100K)-- and federal government IT managers ranked in the Top 10.  We'll report more on that in an article due out here on InformationWeek tomorrow.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
5/19/2014 | 10:03:00 PM
A real world summary
Chris Murphy has offered a good, real world summary of what's going on with IT salaries here.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
5/19/2014 | 5:18:23 PM
Re: One disconnect
Laurianne, I completely agree, IT should not have to work in isolation, especially, when understanding their industry and company can create greater productivity. There are many procedures that can create this distance between IT and business units, one such example is when an admin staffer has to create a request to the IT manager for the creation of a sign-on credential for a new hire, even when they know the IT staffer responsible for creating the credentials.

This is bad for IT employees, but things become worst when the new hire is already at their desk but their computer is not accessible, resulting in capital lose. 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
5/19/2014 | 3:02:28 PM
One disconnect
"The IT managers in our survey spend much more time with business units." I am surprised at the disconnect between managers and staff on this measure. IT Staffers, are your managers grooming you to work hand-in-hand with business leaders?
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