IT Salaries Stay Flat, but Job Outlook Improves
Though economic and personnel satisfaction indicators are showing that IT is on the mend, that won't necessarily translate into big salary increases for 2011. Experts say that typical IT wages are relatively flat, except in very special situations.
The most recent CompTIA IT Industry Business Confidence index, a quantified measurement of industry feelings about the economy, increased seven points on a 100-point scale. The CompTIA global survey’s results are compiled into the index which found that 45 percent of U.S. IT firms plan on increasing expenditures on new products and business lines, and 43 percent plan on increasing technology-related investments, a jump of 10 percentage points over the survey conducted in third quarter of 2011. Specifically in regard to hiring trends, one in three U.S. companies said they plan to increase staffing levels over the next six months, but CompTIA reports that this positive sign is tempered with challenges, one of which could be pay levels for IT staffers.
"While the economic landscape is dramatically improved over a year ago, the employment situation is still cause for concern," said Tim Herbert, vice president of research for CompTIA.
Another recent report out by IT employment specialists with Dice found that in 2010 technology workers earned salary increases of less than 1 percent over 2009 salaries, with the average pay equaling $79,384. However, half of IT professionals reported in a Dice survey that they were somewhat or very satisfied with their jobs this year compared to last. This may be attributable to the fact that in 2010 49 percent of workers reported receiving some kind of salary increase, versus just 36 percent in 2009.
Nevertheless, 2011 could be a busy year for HR departments dealing with a lot of IT personnel shifts. Dice reported that 40 percent of tech pros anticipate they can make more money by changing employers in 2011.
A report by IT pay analysts at Foote Partners indicates that the most successful job seekers this year in negotiating higher salaries will likely be those with a high degree of knowledge regarding line of business operations. Foote analysis found that pay premiums for 225 IT certifications declined for a second straight quarter in the last quarter o f 2010, while pay for 241 non-certified skills increased for the fourth quarter in a row.
Foote analysts believe that as IT management is split across departments, functions and product groups, IT professionals are increasingly asked to work outside a technology departmental cocoon and interact more with business professionals.
"Technology and business skills have in effect collapsed into each other, creating legions of what our firm refers to generically as hybrid IT business professionals," observes David Foote, Foote Partners CEO. "Countless new combinations of knowledge, experience, and skill sets that would not have been previously associated with IT departments and traditional IT duties and responsibilities are now considered mainstream as a new breed of IT professional. This is feeding a corporate preoccupation with both skills acquisition and the hiring of non-traditional IT professionals in a very big way"