Is CIO Salary Increase a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?


Just last month, I interviewed Anna Frazzetto, VP of Technology Solutions for recruitment firm and IT service provider Harvey Nash. Frazzetto told me that many CIOs these days feel less strategic to their companies and more unfulfilled in their careers.


CIO respondents to a recent Harvey Nash survey seemed happy with their salaries, however, with 80 percent of them saying they were either satisfied or very satisfied with financial compensation. These results were echoed in a CIO Insight survey that found executive compensation hasgrown 27 percent over the past six years.


Frazzetto points out that there may be a dark cloud hovering over these silver statistics. Noting that 20 percent of respondents reported receiving retention bonuses in 2007, up from 13 percent the year before in 2006 and 6 percent in 2005, she says:

We are seeing that, unfortunately, turnover rates within the IT leadership are very high when compared to other senior management. CIOs, CTOs are churning at a pretty fast rate. So companies have been throwing money at the problem. Base salaries have gone up. But benefits largely haven't changed, with one big exception: retention bonuses.

Attractive CIO salaries present a challenge to sectors that cannot always match the going market rates. To address this issue, the Army's Office of the Chief Information Officer created a Knowledge Leaders Program that is designed to fast-track recent college graduates for the executive suite, reports Government Executive.com. Program participants are given a crash course in Army culture and etiquette and then placed with teams working in such high-level areas as portfolio management, business systems management or acquisition policies.


Even though the Army can't pay its tech execs as much as the private sector, notes the article, it can appeal to young workers' desire to do good. Says Thaddeus Dmuchowski, the man in charge of the program:

We tell them it's not all about money, and they can have a higher mission to serve the men and women of the Army.

Just two of the program's 37 graduates have left the public sector to pursue private-sector careers. Younger workers tend to exhibit more altruistic tendencies than their older colleagues. As I blogged just last week, Generation Y employees say they are more willing than boomers to take a cut in compensation in order to work for a socially responsible organization.