Report: IT Salary Increases Holding Steady, Staffing Down

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2008-07-30

The good ol' IT research-events-consulting-analyst folks at Gartner released the 2008 IT Market Compensation report today, and it shows a slight decline in hiring for this year, but pay increases are "at a level similar to previous years, with the reported median salary increase budget at 3.6 percent," according to the news release.

I won't bore you with the details and quotes from Gartner executives in the release about how companies supposedly don't have formal work force planning in place, and that most companies aren't ready for the near-future market changes. I'm not sure I buy the impact of that, even if most companies say they don't have a formal staffing plan in place. Planning for staff can change quarterly, if not more rapidly in this cautious, wait-and-see climate pervading most budgets and economies lately. Gartner essentially reports that things are very much a wait-and-see climate here anyway. Is it surprising that formal work force planning isn't a priority now?

Here is the relevant info with the numbers in it, not the crystal ball.

According to a survey of 285 U.S.-based IT organizations, 57.9 percent projected an increase in IT staff levels (including full-time employees and contractors as supplementary staff) during the survey time period (March 1, 2008 through February 28, 2009). However, this is a notable drop from 66.3 percent reported in the 2007 study. At the same time, the survey also showed the percentage of organizations projecting a greater than 10 percent increase in head count also dropped from 15.7 percent in 2007 to 12.1 percent in 2008.

This is pretty in line with other recent research and an IT Worker Confidence index looking at similar trends and perceptions, and yet other recent government data research has computer-related jobs pegged at all-time highs. The government numbers are interesting, but they also include a fair amount of non-IT worker data, so it's a bit confusing.

From the CIO Insight article "Computer Jobs Hit Record High":

Not every person employed by IT services firms--officially labeled by the government as computer systems design and related services--is an IT pro, but a majority are. A 2006 government report estimates that 53 percent of IT services firms' workers hold IT jobs such as programmers; software engineers; computer, network systems and data communications analysts; or database, network and systems administrators. Another 3 percent are computer and IS managers. The remaining employees--44 percent of payrolls--encompass non-IT managers and administrative and operational support personnel, including those in finance, human resources and sales.

Brian Watson over at CIO Insight wonders why there is a disconnect around employment numbers. He received some very detailed and thoughtful comments on the disconnect subject from readers, and you should take a look.

Here are some other pertinent quotes from Lily Mok, research vice president for Gartner's CIO work force:

"We do see a relatively more conservative projection for 2009 across all sectors, with a budgeted median increase of 3.5 percent. Same budget amounts are reported for non-IT jobs for both years," Mok said. "...The survey indicates that the top 10 percent of performers in the IT work force on average received from 3 to 4 percent more in base pay increases in 2007 than the bottom 10 percent performers."

Are you seeing a disconnect in areas like hiring freezes, job prospects, salary increases and the numbers?

Rocket Fuel