IT department reorganizations are cited as the main catalyst for spiking IT compensation this year, according to the January 2003 IT Salary Survey from Janco Associates, an international consulting organization in Park City, UT.

The mean IT salary for all positions at large companies has increased nearly $5,000, to $78,687, largely because many businesses have retained more senior, experienced workers during staff reductions, according to Janco.

Yet, as TechRepublic members have noted in discussions on previous salary survey articles, reported findings don’t always mesh with real-life trends. TechRepublic wants to know whether you agree with Janco’s survey results as outlined in this article and whether your IT department has seen a boost in salaries this year. Write and tell us if the Janco salary survey is in line with what’s happening in your organization these days. To get a free summary of Janco’s survey, click here.

Salary survey findings
While tech salaries on average aren’t showing the decline reported in 2002, the current trend doesn’t look good for entry-level workers seeking jobs, according to Janco CEO Victor Janulaitis. Those surveyed aren’t expecting to hire many new professionals and will be seeking to hire more tenured professionals.

Another finding from the survey is that, while the average salary level has jumped, it’s not spiking on the executive level. The mean compensation for a CIO for 2003, including bonuses, stock options, and fringe benefits, is just over $350,000, a level not seen since 1998. CIOs made the most money in early 2001, when the mean compensation was nearly $450,000, according to Janco. Similar findings in 2002 were reported last summer in TechRepublic.

Currently, IT executives are not getting more money, and, to make matters worse, they are being burdened with more responsibilities. CIOs and senior IT managers have more people reporting to them because of cuts in midlevel management, according to the survey.

Here are the top summary findings from the study:

  • The mean salary for all positions surveyed in large enterprises has moved up to $78,687 from $73,856 in January 2002, while in midsize enterprises, it has moved up to $72,619 from $66,554. According to Janco, this is due to the retention of more experienced employees who have higher compensation and the elimination of a layer of management in many enterprises.
  • For comparable positions, compensation of CIOs is now back at 1998 levels as bonuses to top IT professionals now are the exception rather than the rule. Base salaries are higher, but the missing bonuses are still keeping total compensation at these lower levels.
  • Many organizations have eliminated training, planning, and infrastructure positions, such as change control, as CIOs try to retain the employees they need to keep on-going operations staffed.
  • There has been a marked decrease in the number of layers within IT organizations as well as an increase in the number of direct reports that CIOs and their direct reports have.
  • Voice/wireless communication and security positions have been upgraded within many enterprises. Where these positions were low to mid level before 2000, in 2003 and beyond these positions are now mid level to senior level.
  • Demand is high in the network areas of voice/wireless communication, object programming, data security, and data warehousing as enterprises try to prepare for the next wave of the new wireless technology.

Older workers working for less
Another salary trend relates to the near-retirement IT worker population. There are a large number of individuals in the 50- to 65-year-old range who had planned on retiring soon and have seen their retirement portfolios shrink in the last two years.

Janco found that a significant number of these individuals have taken positions that are lower in compensations, responsibilities, and titles in order to stay employed. This in turn has many individuals in key roles within IT enterprises who are “overqualified” and has resulted in better cross training of less-experienced peers and higher productivity levels, according to the survey.

Certain jobs still paying more
At the same time, there has continued to be an increase in the benchmark for certain IT positions. These increases typically are isolated to the security, network, Internet, and e-commerce arenas. Janco states that the surge of compensation for disaster recovery positions has been reversed, as most of those positions have been filled or have been merged with other roles within the enterprise.

Janco’s survey of over 70 technology positions is based upon responses given in extensive Internet polling as well as a “survey of surveys” that included data from across the United States and Canada. The complete study is available in an electronic version for $99, and a paper version is available for $495, plus shipping and tax. An electronic version of the seven-year comparative study for the years 1996 through 2003 is available for $289.