New York IT Salaries Top The Charts - InformationWeek

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New York IT Salaries Top The Charts

New York City delivers the highest pay for US IT managers. Here's salary data you need as you network your way in at Interop New York.

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If you want to get paid the big bucks, New York City is where you want to work.

New York topped the list of cities with the highest salaries for IT managers in the US for the second year in a row, according to InformationWeek's annual IT Salary Survey. New York -- along with Washington, D.C. -- edged out San Diego ($132,000), Los Angeles ($130,000), Boston ($130,000), and San Francisco ($130,000) with an average base salary of $135,000.

It's not all good news. While salaries have remained steady over the past few years, growth is slow. And New York's high cost of living not only erodes IT managers' top pay, it also jeopardizes the city's reputation as a top tech hub, said Laura McGarrity, VP at IT recruiting firm Mondo.

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"If you want to be paid top-dollar, New York is the place to be," McGarrity said in an interview. "But with that comes an extremely high cost of living. At some point there's got to be that ceiling of people either choosing to work remotely or moving to one of the up-and-coming tech hubs."

New York is already feeling the pinch. The city slipped to No. 5 for top IT staff salaries at $102,000, below San Francisco ($120,000), Washington ($113,000), Boston ($107,000), and Baltimore ($105,000), according to our survey.

And the news is worse for New Yorkers looking for a raise. The city ranked dead last, reporting no salary increase for IT staffers since 2012, and third-to-last for IT managers with a 1.4% salary increase year-over-year.

"New York will likely become flat and less desirable than other cities that are offering remote work and other perks," McGarrity said. "Startups, especially, just can't afford office space in New York. That's why you're seeing an infusion of startups in IT markets elsewhere without high overhead and costs."

Those up-and-coming tech hubs popped up in our list of cities with the highest pay increases. Houston (2.7%), Chicago (2.6%), Dallas (2.5%), and Seattle (2.4%) topped the list for IT managers in the US, while Philadelphia (2%), St. Louis (1.8%), Seattle (1.8%), and Minneapolis (1.8%) filled the top slots for IT staffers, according to our research.

For IT professionals, pay is important: Staffers and managers cite pay as their No. 1 (48%) and No. 2 (46%) motivators, our report found. But it's important not to lose sight of other factors that can drive salaries up -- including skills -- McGarrity said. Just 15% of managers include skill development on their priority list, while slightly more staffers (23%) prioritize it higher.

"Skill sets in a city like New York are changing rapidly," she said. "What's hot now might not be hot two years from now. It's a constant challenge to consistently stay ahead of that curve."

While New York may struggle to compete with other top tech hubs in years ahead, McGarrity said IT professionals should shift their focus to companies with high growth potential and consider remote working arrangements.

"Being in a company that's innovating is far more beneficial to your career in terms of growth. Smaller companies are more agile and growing more rapidly, but you won't find many of those in New York," she said. "Brush up on your skill set and insert yourself in to a high-growth company. Make sure you consider all your options."

Are you ready to enhance your skill set and network in New York? Build your IT leadership portfolio and learn about today's most important tech trends at Interop New York: Register today.

You can hear more about this article on this week’s episode of InformationWeek Radio. We’ll be talking with the author at 2:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, August 26 — we hope you’ll join us! Register here.

In its ninth year, Interop New York (Sept. 29 to Oct. 3) is the premier event for the Northeast IT market. Strongly represented vertical industries include financial services, government, and education. Join more than 5,000 attendees to learn about IT leadership, cloud, collaboration, infrastructure, mobility, risk management and security, and SDN, as well as explore 125 exhibitors' offerings. Register with Discount Code MPIWK to save $200 off Total Access & Conference Passes.

Kristin Burnham currently serves as's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 11:50:29 PM
Re: New York IT Salaries Top The Charts
This is an interesting topic, and I doubt that most IT pros are not curious to hear what others are earning and what opportunities exist for them out there. After all, discussing salaries is taboo at many companies and in a lot of other contexts... so we often find ourselves sitting in the dark, assuming (that is, hoping) that we're getting a fair deal. No doubt there are tons of studies and surveys out there that can tell you about this topic, but ultimately how much you stock you put in them depends on one thing: how much you trust the source you're getting it from. In this case, I know I can trust the source - because I know you guys surveyed real IT pros with no pretense, and I know there's no bias here. I think that's the way to do it.

As others have said, though (and you point this out in the article, Kristin), there are plenty of external factors and minutiae that make this far from the single deciding factor. 3-5,000 dollars isn't a year isn't really all that much - if you live in San Diego, it might cost you more than that just to move out to the east coast, will you really leave your family behind if you're already making 120,000 a year in your home state, etc. That's all on top of the points the interviewees make about rising overhead cost, stagnation of raises, and telecommuting. So yeah, New York may not exactly be the end-all when it comes to IT Jobs after all. There's still no harm in having these numbers to look at.

D. Henschen
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
8/25/2014 | 3:47:24 PM
This is why firms like MetLife are building tech campuses elsewhere
There will always be a need for NYC headquarters to have IT tech support, but NY-based companies like MetLife are moving lots of development and non-HQ-essential IT work elsewhere. In MetLife's case it's building a 2,000-employee-plus tech campus in North Carolina in the Research Triangle area of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill. Of course, competition for jobs down there is now getting hotter, and with that, salaries are rising, albeit to levels that are still far below the costs of NYC. 
User Rank: Moderator
8/23/2014 | 8:46:53 PM
Interesting Headline
But erroneous: it seems DC and NY are precisely tied for first place.  And in the surrounding suburbs of DC, that salary will buy you a much better quality of life than it would in NYC or its suburbs.  And DC ranks in the middle of the cohort for "top cities for raises" according to your article.

User Rank: Author
8/22/2014 | 2:14:13 PM
Cost of living and quality of life

I agree the cost of living in New York and its surrounding suburbs is very high. For those who choose the commute to escape the stifling cost of New York City living the commute is easily 1.5 to 2 hours each way making work life balance very difficult. The same could be said for San Francisco. The best option is to get a work at home job based in New York or opt for one of the lower cost of living locations where the math with work toward a healthier financial future.

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