IT Professionals See Salary Increase but Job Security Remains Top Concern

A new survey from Dice shows that IT salaries increased 4.6 percent in 2008 for an average annual pay of $78,035. However, the Dice study also found that job security concerns, fewer pay increases, keeping skills updated and canceled projects remain the top worry for IT professionals as they head into 2009. While the U.S. recession has hit Wall Street the hardest, those IT professionals working in the banking and financial services industry collected an average annual salary of $87,000, according to Dice.

IT professionals saw their average annual salaries increase 4.6 percent in 2008, but concerns about keeping IT skills up-to-date and job security remain top priorities heading into 2009, according to a new Dice survey released this week.

The 2008-09 Annual Salary Survey, which Dice released Jan. 21, found that the average annual salary for IT professionals stood at $78,035 in 2008, an increase of more than 4 percent from 2007. While the recession in the United States has hit Wall Street the hardest, IT professionals in the banking, insurance and financial services industry saw their average annual salary increase more than 5 percent for an average annual salary of $87,257.

The Dice survey is based on the responses of more than 19,000 technology workers who were interviewed between August and November. The complete survey is posted on the Dice Web site.

Although IT professionals saw a bump in salary, many of them were worried about a variety of issues heading into 2009. About 22 percent reported they were worried about keeping their skills updated, while 20 percent were concerned about layoffs.

Other concerns in the marketplace included lower salary increases this year - 14 percent - canceled projects - 12 percent - and an increased workload due to staffing cuts - 10 percent. Dice also reported a 67 percent increase in the amount of new resumes posted to its site in the fourth quarter of 2008, but that most IT professionals were conducting "passive" job searches as concern about the U.S. recession spread.

However, the Dice report did not take into account the wave of anxiety that has happened since the start of January, when several of the world's largest IT companies, including Microsoft, Oracle, Advanced Micro Devices, Sony and Ericsson, announced layoffs and other cost-saving measures that could impact thousands of IT professionals.

In addition, Intel announced this week that it would close five of its manufacturing facilities and eliminate between 5,000 and 6,000 jobs worldwide.

Still, the Dice report did have some good news to report.

Those with an IT Management title earned the most in 2008 -- $111,998 - and those with a title such as system administrator earned the least with an average annual salary of $70,307, according to Dice.

The report also found that salaries in major technology centers such as New York, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., increased, but those working in non-traditional tech areas saw significant salary increases. For example, IT workers in Charlotte, N.C., saw salary increases of 14.7 percent for an average annual salary of $81,426 in 2008, while tech professionals in St. Louis saw pay increases of 12.5 percent for an average annual salary of $72,819.

The Dice survey also found that women IT professionals as a group earned 12 percent less than men on average. However, when women IT professionals were directly compared to their male counterparts and issues such as experience, education and job titles were taken into consideration, the "gender gap" disappeared.