IT leaders focused on digital employee experience earn nearly double the industry average salary

96% of business leaders are giving more support to DEX-related IT work, according to a new Nexthink report.

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Source: Nexthink

Employees in DEX positions earn an average salary of $116,501 across the U.S., UK, Germany and France, according to the 2021 Digital Employee Experience Career Capital Report, based on an independent survey by Nexthink. In senior DEX-focused roles in the U.S., they earn almost 83% above the average IT salary ($148,045), according to the report. The average IT salary in the U.S. is $80,832, according to the report.

The survey findings highlight the emerging focus on DEX, the measurement and improvement of employees' experiences and interactions with workplace technology, Nexthink said. As work environments evolve, IT teams have had to adapt to make remote, hybrid and in-person offices more equitable, reliable and flexible for employees. The study found that one in five IT professionals now spend over 70% of their week working on DEX-related activities.

Over one-third (35%) of respondents agreed that the proportion of DEX roles increased considerably in 2020, according to the report. As companies look to reimagine the future of work, providing a seamless digital experience for employees will be key to attracting new talent and retaining existing employees, the Nexthink report said.

SEE: It's time to create a Chief of Workforce Experience (TechRepublic)

In fact, 96% of respondents said that their business leaders show support for DEX-related IT work, the report said.

"These findings correlate with what we're seeing in executive search: Companies want their IT teams to drive digital transformation and create superior digital employee experiences that support employee satisfaction and productivity," said Martha Heller, CEO of Heller Search Associates, an IT executive recruiting firm specializing in CIOs, CTOs and VP-level senior technology leaders, in a statement. "As IT roles evolve from closing tickets to reimaging the digital strategy of an organization, employees will be better prepared to pursue more strategic positions later on at the director or executive level."

Respondents admitted that DEX-related projects and tasks have started taking up a considerable amount of the workweek. On average, (44%) reported spending nearly half of their week on DEX-related areas, and nearly one-fifth (16%) of respondents admitted spending over 70% of their week exclusively working on employee experience tasks, according to the report.

The report also found that DEX workers are setting their sights on top IT roles. Seventy percent of respondents said they see themselves moving into a director, C-suite or CEO-level position within the next five years. Most often, (41%) their career paths progress with internal promotion based on merit, but DEX professionals are also ambitious and 25% will apply internally for more senior positions, the report found.

"Change in the IT industry is accelerating," said Nexthink Chief Strategy Officer Yassine Zaid in a statement. "Companies that take an employee-centric approach to a digital strategy empower their employees by putting them first. When employees are empowered to succeed, business at every level thrives."

Because of this, Nexthink is seeing titles and positions such as chief digital experience officer or director of digital transformation become more prevalent than ever, Zaid added.  

As companies across the world transition to adopt remote or hybrid work models, digital experiences are often the only experiences their employees and candidates have, making it an increasingly critical focus for leadership. To support companies through this significant shift and thrive in the future of work, Nexthink has announced the launch of DEX Hub, a destination for IT professionals to share expertise, ideas and pain points, to enable individuals to grow their career and skill set in DEX.

DEX Hub will also offer users a salary calculator to help further lift the veil on the IT industry's salary standards. Users can input their current salary and see how they compare to other DEX workers by industry, company size and country. This information is key for salary negotiations and ensuring employees are being compensated fairly as IT continues to evolve and grow, the company said.

"DEX Hub will serve as a major industry resource, helping IT professionals grow their skillset towards a more lucrative career by learning from their peers," Zaid said. "The role of CIOs has never been more important. And this resource will help IT professionals at every level expand their knowledge, improve their internal practices, grow their careers and more."

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By Esther Shein

Esther Shein is a longtime freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in several online and print publications. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of Datamation, a managing editor at BYTE, and a senior writer at eWeek (formerly PC Week)...