IT Salaries See Slight Rise in 2012: Report

Computer Economics said IT businesses would need to take steps to retain key workers due to the rise in voluntary turnover rates.

Despite generally healthy growth in the overall IT jobs market, IT workers hoping to improve their standard of living in 2012 will not likely find relief through annual salary raises, according to the Computer Economics "2012 IT Salary Report," which found IT organizations are planning to hand out average raises of 2.8 percent this year.

Employment by technology companies grew more than 2 percent last year, while the unemployment rate for all workers stood at 8.5 percent at year's end, according to the report whose findings are based on a fourth-quarter survey of more than 130 U.S.-based IT organizations.

The report said that even organizations at the 75th percentile are budgeting for only a 3 percent wage increase for employees, which lags well behind the 3.4 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index for the 12-month period through November 2011. On a positive note, most IT workers will get some measure of increase. Even organizations at the 25th percentile are increasing salaries for existing employees by 1.8 percent, which was deemed an improvement over the no-raise policy that prevailed last year in the bottom quartile. Still, the typical raises planned for 2012 are somewhat compressed across all quartiles and show little variation by job function or level, according to the study's findings.

"Developers with skills in mobile app development will remain in tight supply, as will those with experience in supporting infrastructure virtualization," the report said. "In the IT world, there are always skill shortages in the growth technologies, and many IT organizations have no choice but pay up for those skills or turn to service providers for in-demand expertise-and pay a premium."

"Although there are modest improvements in the general employment picture, our research indicates hiring by IT organizations across all sectors will remain weak in 2012, especially among large organizations," the report said. "If the domestic economy continues to improve, we anticipate some upward pressure on wages, however."

The organization said IT businesses would need to take steps to retain key workers due to the rise in voluntary turnover rates. Voluntary turnover rate for IT organizations, after dropping to nearly 2 percent in 2010, is on track to return to normal levels in 2012. Turnover rose to 4 percent to 2011, and Computer Economics said it anticipates the rate returning to the 5 percent level, which was typical during the period prior to the 2008 recession. "As such, IT organizations will face demands for higher pay from some workers," the report noted.

In the full study, available for purchase via the company's Website, Computer Economics projected total salary (base pay plus incentive pay) for 65 IT job functions. The study estimated total salaries for 20 sectors and more than 400 metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas. The company publishes salary tables in a searchable Excel workbook, where the first worksheet provides salaries by metropolitan area and the second by sector.

The latest IT jobs report from online job site Dice suggested tech hiring managers are resolute in their staffing priorities for 2012; they need innovative professionals who design, code, build and operate. The report found that developers dominate the new year's most pressing hiring needs for a second straight year, although ops professionals made their list debut. According to data compiled from nearly 1,200 tech-focused hiring managers and recruiters, Java developers are the top priority. Demand for tech professionals with Java know-how has grown year-over-year for more than two years as measured by job postings on Dice.