Govt, Defense IT Salaries Buck Trends

Government and defense IT salaries spiked 7 percent in 2002.

Government and defense IT salaries spiked 7 percent in 2002, likely as a reaction to terrorism, a looming war and the push for homeland security, according to a recently released salary survey from online IT job site Dice Inc.

This, however, was the exception: There are few sectors of IT in which salaries are growing. Overall, the Dice 2002 Annual Salary Survey concluded that technology salaries in 2002 slipped slightly to an average of $67,900 versus last years average of $68,400. Besides government and defense positions, another exception to that trend was the area of medical/pharmaceutical, where salaries were up 5 percent to an average of $68,900 compared with year-ago results.

Geographically, traditional tech meccas were a mixed bag. Silicon Valley remained the top-paying area, although the locales average 2001 salary of $87,700 receded to an average 2002 salary of $86,800. New York and Boston, two other top tech salary cities, also saw salaries fall: from $80,800 to $78,000 in New York, and from $79,100 to $75,600 in Boston. The remaining cities among the top five, Denver and Atlanta, saw some salary growth: Denver was up to $76,800, from $75,300; Atlanta was at $73,700, up from $71,900 in 2001.

Other cities experiencing higher-than-average salary growth included Seattle at 4.1 percent, San Diego at 2.17 percent, and Detroit at 2.17 percent.

Top regional salaries by industry were found in the pharmaceutical industry in the North Atlantic, with an average IT salary of $79,000 in 2002; finance in the North Atlantic, at $93,800; government in the Mid Atlantic area, at $69,400, and in California, at $68,500; and computer software in California, at $85,800.

As eWeek reported earlier this week, the gender gap is also growing. The Dice report found that women in IT are making 14.4 percent less than their male counterparts. The gap was smaller among consultants, as female consultants earned 12.4 percent less than men. The gap was widest, at 21 percent, in the Midwest, and narrowest in the Mountain region, at 5 percent.

Here are sample salary differentials between women and men in IT: For technical support, women earn an average of $46,800, or about 4 percent less than male counterparts $48,900. Female application developers earn an average salary of $69,300, or 16 percent less than males average of $75,200. The gap is widest in salaries earned by database administrators: Women reported an average salary of $64,400, compared with mens average salary of $80,400, or a 22 percent differential.

Top-paying titles for either gender were consistent with 2001 results. IT management topped the scale at $102,900. Project managers earned second place, at $89,100.

Technical support workers saw the largest salary increases—5.88 percent—while Web and systems developers and programmer analysts salaries dropped the most, at 7.8 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.

The survey was based on responses from 21,000 technology professionals who visited over the past year.

For more salary information based on location, job function, skills and education, click here.

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