The IT job market may finally have bottomed out, according to salary trend research recently released by Janco Associates, Inc., a Park City, Utah, consulting company.
According to the Janco survey of 204 large companies, total compensation levels needed to retain top performers across a range of 71 positions rose as of January by 1.29 percent compared to 2002.
Among mid-sized companies—defined by Janco as having gross sales below $500 million—total compensation levels needed to retain top performers was unchanged as of January compared to the prior year.
Mean compensation for all IT positions—not just those held by top performers—rose even faster, according to Janco. Among large companies, mean compensation across all 71 IT positions surveyed rose 6.54 percent compared to a year ago. Mean compensation for IT positions at mid-sized companies rose 3.8 percent.
According to Janco CEO M. Victor Janulaitis, one factor driving the higher salaries has been a willingness by enterprises to hire senior, experienced staff to fill openings. While this has resulted in relatively few opportunities for individuals with fewer than five years of experience, it has enabled many organizations to upgrade IT skills, Janulaitis said. Many of the experienced, senior staffers being hired have been forced to defer retirement plans because of shrinking 401K and other retirement portfolios, Janulaitis said.
While IT pay levels overall have stabilized, some positions—including senior-most IT jobs—have continued to see erosion in total compensation, according to the Janco survey. Mean total compensation for chief information officers, for example, dropped in the most recent survey by 3.28 percent to $168,788. Mean total compensation levels for other top titles, including vice president for information services and vice president for technical services, also fell. Janco attributed the continuing fall in senior-level compensation to lower bonuses.
Compensation levels rose fastest, said Janco, for individuals in data security, voice/wireless, object programming and data warehousing positions. Data security administrators at large enterprises, for example, saw total mean compensation rise 51.4 percent on average to $78,433, the study said. Voice/wireless communications managers experienced an average increase of 18.6 percent in mean total compensation to $92,813, according to the study.
Although many companies are willing to pay a bit more to attract and retain talent, overall IT budgets remain under pressure, the Janco report indicated. While salaries have stabilized, many organizations have eliminated training, planning and infrastructure-oriented positions.