Mismatch in IT Salaries, Responsibility?

Susan Hall
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I've written about the modest raises and bonuses for IT workers in 2010 and also about reports that raises will be in the offing for 2011.


A salary study by SearchCIO.com, however, found a narrow gap between the average pay of senior executives, midlevel managers and even IT staff.

Considering the salaries some hot skills are commanding, that's not surprising.


Though some in financial services made more, the average IT salary across industries was $148,380 for senior IT executives, $121,979 for midlevel IT managers, $95,032 for IT managers and $89,803 for IT staff members.


One IT manager in financial services is quoted as saying:

I have guys on my team that make [$25,000] less than I do, but I'm responsible for so much more. What's driving that is demand for skill sets: people doing the heavy lifting in technologies-network, database, IT support administration; skill sets for Java and C++.

And in that industry, especially, employers have to shell out some dough to keep their IT pros happy.


For 2011, the senior IT executives surveyed expect raises of an average 5.3 percent. Increases of midlevel executives are forecast to be 4.5 percent and 4.1 percent for IT managers. IT staff member raises were pegged to be 3.2 percent.


Midlevel IT managers, who got the biggest raises in 2010, also reported greater satisfaction with their salaries than senior execs or IT managers. Those who were dissatisfied pointed to the amount of work they were expected to do. Said one at a company that employs more than 10,000 people and is worth more than $5 billion:

Given the responsibility, it doesn't seem like it matches.

Also coming into play is the idea that IT now is expected to drive business growth. No pressure there.


In an interview with Federal News Radio about its report on retaining federal workers, Booz Allen Senior Executive Advisor Ron Sanders makes the point that money isn't necessarily the make-or-break issue in whether a worker leaves the job. The report stresses improving relationships between worker and boss, co-workers and more closely aligning the worker with the agency mission as ways to "balance or even trump" the limits on monetary compensation.


But companies clearly can't ignore worker satisfaction with their salaries-not only those highly skilled IT workers, but also their bosses can surely make a statement with their feet. As veteran management adviser and author Ram Charan told The Wall Street Journal, companies that are not actively working to retain their key people will be losing them.

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