Salaries for U.S. technology professionals rose a measly 1 percent in 2009 to an average of $78,845, well below the annual inflation rate of 2.7 percent for the year, according to a recent survey by technology job board Dice. Furthermore, the lack of wage growth fills technology professionals with a high level of job dissatisfaction.
Nearly half (47 percent) of the 16,908 online participants polled between August and December said their current employers are doing "nothing to keep them motivated," while only 19 percent were being offered challenging work. Responses about bonuses for 2009 were uninspiring too: Only 24 percent of technology professionals polled received bonuses last year.
"With job and salary dissatisfaction at its highest levels in years, technology professionals should be willing to go fight for career advancement," Tom Silver, senior vice president at Dice, said in a statement. "HR and technology managers can win by identifying new motivators to keep staff on board, including compensation, training and career growth."
Of those tech workers who did not receive bonuses, 42 percent responded that they were displeased with their compensation. Of those who did receive bonuses in 2009, only 27 percent were displeased.
"The new war for technology talent is coming and the battle is retention," said Silver.
When you look at salary averages regionally in the Dice survey, you begin to see some ripples of growth. Washington had an average salary of $89,014, up 4 percent from the previous year, with technology jobs in defense and for the federal government. Silicon Valley, despite a tough year of layoffs, is still showing an average salary of $96,299 while New York showed a 1.5 percent increase with an average of $86,710. Texas was faring better too, with Dallas seeing a 2 percent gain and Austin having higher average paychecks.
So who is drawing the best salaries in IT right now? Think application developers and SOA (service-oriented architecture) specialists.
"Continuing to lead the pack in top paid skills is ABAP-Advanced Business Application Programming ($115,916), followed by SOA-Service Oriented Architecture ($107,827), and ETL-Extract Transform and Load ($105,844)," the Dice survey said. These frontrunners were followed by a few newcomers and some solid technology job stalwarts:
"Applications server skills JBoss and WebLogic joined the $100,000 salary ranks with annual salaries topping $101,869 and $100,313, respectively. Individuals with Solaris ($96,672) and AIX ($95,464) skills were the highest-paid [of those with] operating system skills. The [areas with the] highest paid titles include IT Management ($114,874), Information Architecture ($105,247), Project Manager ($103,437), Software Engineer ($91,342) and Database Administrator ($91,283)."