Salary Survey 2008
BackBy Agatha Gilmore, Mike Prokopeak, Kellye Whitney, Deanna Hartley, Lindsay Edmonds Wickman, Brian Summerfield1 | 2 | 3 |
Financially speaking, 2008 has been quite a year. The ups and downs were drastic, and the downs pretty much took over in September, when the mortgage and credit crises exploded and major banks crumbled. The woes on Wall Street hit the economy hard, and many organizations were forced to pull back spending and undergo layoffs.
Yet, it appears the field of IT is resilient. According to the results of our Salary Survey, which polled more than 35,000 IT professionals worldwide, the average IT salary rose from $49,170 in 2007 to $58,520 this year. In the U.S. alone, the average total salary — including benefits and incentives — rose from $76,920 to $88,640.
[For our list of average 2008 U.S. salaries by certification, please click here.]
And when it came to pay raises, the majority of respondents said they received a raise in the past year, typically between 5 and 10 percent (see Fig. 1).
Globally, respondents averaged a 15.6 percent increase in pay, down from last year’s 17.1 percent but still significantly better than wage increases across industries. The number of people receiving at least a 25 percent increase dropped from 25.8 in 2007 to 21.8 this year, however.
In the U.S., the top five highest-paying certs shuffled around a bit compared with last year. Brocade Certified SAN Designer (BCSD), sometimes referred to as the Brocade Certified Fabric Designer (BCFD), came in on top with a whopping average salary of $120,770. At a close second with $120,330 was Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), which moved up from third place last year.
The next three highest-paying certs all still brought in more than $100,000. ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) placed third with $109,410, followed by EMC Proven Professional Technology Architect (EMCTA) with $109,060. The Open Group’s IT Architect Certification (ITAC) placed fifth with $109,000.
In the U.S., the overall average salary of those holding popular certifications — certs with more than 50 responses each — rose from $75,640 to $84,500 this year.
Meanwhile, the certs with the lowest average salaries in the U.S. were Certified Internet Web Professional (CIW), with $57,780; Java Associate, with $59,490; SAS Certified Base Programmer for SAS 9, with $59,500; Convergence Technologies Professional (CTP), with $63,730; and Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST), with $63,910.
In the U.S. at least, it seems the gap between the highest and lowest earning certs closed a bit, with the lowest-earning cert making 67 percent of the average 2008 salary, up from 41 percent last year.
Further, the lowest average IT salary by certification jumped above $50,000 again to $59,490, after a dip last year.
Perhaps the most significant observation that resulted from our Salary Survey this year, however, was that being certified carries greater value today than yesterday — even if the difference is slight. The average number of certifications rose from 3.3 to 3.4, with more respondents reporting that they hold more than three certs. The percentage of respondents holding more than six certifications jumped 6 percent to a total of 16.9 percent, while the percentage of those holding no certifications at all decreased more than 14 percent to 2.8 percent of all respondents (see Fig. 3).
While the financial turmoil on Wall Street and the government’s resulting bailout package likely will take their toll on the economy in general, it seems the impact on IT is yet to be determined. Want to shed a little more light on it? Head over to our 2008 Salary Survey forum discussion board to tell us your story, offer some advice or give tips on how to better align IT compensation to performance.
– Agatha Gilmore, firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Are You?
It’s not just a question politicians ask their opponents during the election season. It’s also a valid question to ask when analyzing the 2008 Salary Survey.
According to the results, an overwhelming percentage of you are men — just a hair more than 90 percent. (For a deeper look at the IT gender gap, check out this feature article from the November issue of CertMag.)
Also, according to survey responses, it’s still a young person’s industry. The largest percentage of respondents was the 25-29 age group, with about 24 percent, followed by the 30-34 demographic with just less than 22 percent. The under-25 group stayed consistent with prior surveys, with about 10 percent. There was a slight uptick in the older groups, with nearly 17 percent in the 35-39 range, almost 12 percent from 40-44, 8 percent aged 45-49, and 5 percent from 50-54.
More than half of you have pursued higher education of some sort. About a third of you have a bachelor’s degree and nearly a quarter have a master’s degree. Almost 10 percent of you have received technical training, but no degree, and nearly 12 percent have a high school diploma.
Survey respondents also are overwhelmingly global. Respondents logged on to fill out the survey from more than 150 countries — from Australia and Azerbaijan to Venezuela and Vietnam.
In following previous Salary Survey trends, the majority of respondents this year live outside the United States, but the largest single group remains the U.S., with just more than 39 percent of the responses — or 9,145 respondents out of the 23,188 total who indicated the country where they currently live. The Indian contingent grew this year, with 14.6 percent of responses, compared with last year’s 11.6 percent. The United Kingdom held steady with 4.8 percent of responses, up from 4.4 in 2007, and Canada came in at No. 4 with 4 percent, the same as last year.
Among North American respondents the highest percentage (at 8.1 percent) are in California, followed by Texas with 7.4 percent. The number of respondents from Virginia grew this year, from 4.8 in 2007 to 6.2 in 2008, moving the state up to No. 3. Ontario, Canada, dropped one spot from last year with 5.1 percent of responses, followed by Florida with 4.6 percent and Illinois with 4.1 percent.
About 94 percent of respondents work full time. Only 2 percent work part time, while 2 percent are unemployed and about 2 percent are students. The majority of you, 61 percent, work an average of 40-50 hours per week.
Survey results also indicate that job hopping is fairly common in IT these days. Nearly 60 percent of respondents have been with their current employers for less than four years; 17.6 percent have been with their employer for less than a year; 12.4 percent for one year; 17.7 percent for two years; and 12.1 percent for three years. Less than 11 percent have been with their current employers for more than 10 years. According to the survey, 41.4 percent expect to change jobs in the coming year, while 58.6 plan to stay put.
The size of the companies that respondents work for is evenly spread. While nearly 12 percent of respondents said they work for companies with fewer than 50 employees, the same percentage work for companies with more than 100,000 employees. More than 55 percent of you work for companies with fewer than 5,000 employees, and about 32 percent work for companies with between 5,000 and 100,000 employees.
The majority of respondents have been in the IT industry for less than 10 years, with 24.3 percent having less than five years’ experience and 27.2 percent having five to nine years’ experience. About 12 percent have been in IT for more than 20 years.
According to the survey, almost 95 percent of you are certified in a technical field, with many of you receiving your first certification in the past three years. About 15 percent of you received your first cert in 2008, while 18 percent received your first cert in 2007, and 11 percent in 2006.
The number of respondents who added one new certification in the past year ticked slightly upward this year, to 38 percent from 36.5 percent in 2007. There was a corresponding drop in the number of respondents who did not add a cert to their portfolio this year, from 36.4 percent in 2007 to 34 percent in 2008. There was also a noticeable drop in the number of people who added more than two certifications, from 27.1 percent last year to 11.4 percent this year.
– Mike Prokopeak, email@example.com
Cash Is King
The current economic situation has done more than throw Wall Street and various banks and credit institutions into a flaming tizzy. It also has put cash — and how and where to earn it — on the minds of IT professionals.
Compensation and benefits topped the list of IT pros’ top three extreme concerns, comprising 31.8 percent of the Salary Survey responses. Job security came in a close second at 30.4 percent, and the state of the IT job market followed close behind at 29.7 percent.
It’s likely the continuing effects of globalization, as well as the weakened economy, are reshaping the way information technology departments and organizations do business, and the IT job market is shifting accordingly. More than a quarter of respondents said they are extremely concerned about the future of IT, and 23.6 percent of survey participants report being extremely worried about employer support for certification.
The issues of the value of certification and how certifications are executed stirred up the least concern from the survey respondent pool. Only 10.1 percent of participants are extremely concerned about decertification. The second-lowest area of concern involved cheating, ethics and test security, which may be due to the increasing number of performance-based certifications on the market.
Like an old, familiar teddy bear, the problems associated with IT outsourcing seem to be losing their stuffing year over year. This could be because IT pros are getting used to the phenomenon. Some 64.9 percent of survey respondents said they have not been affected by outsourcing at all. The second largest respondent pool, with 20.7 percent, said they have benefited greatly, as they now work for an outsourcing company. Only 4.4 percent of respondents report losing a job or being replaced as a result of outsourcing. And roughly the same number of respondents, 4.5 percent, reported being repositioned within the same organization.
IT professionals aren’t known as the chattiest of workers, likely preferring to express themselves with explosive lines of code, but those who did take time to submit comments had a wide range of responses to outsourcing.
Some were bad: “Outsourcing has reduced both the number of and pay for technical positions,” “My salary has been forced down and the quality of the support offered has plummeted to the lowest and cheapest common denominator” and “As a contractor it limits my opportunities.”
And some were good: “Received grant diverted from E4B visa programs, allowed MCSE, CCNA, CCA, Novell, and Linux training,” “Am in the process of outsourcing our server hosting; won’t lose my job due to my senior role and key member of the management team” and “Left my old employer — took a new job with outsourcing company that values certification more and demonstrates it financially.”
And some IT pros’ feelings about outsourcing straddled the fence: “I used to be a Cisco TAC Engineer in an outsourcing company, and this made some conflict between two totally different cultures which made me leave. I consider outsourcing excellent for cutting the cost but disastrous for quality of work and stability.”
Outsourcing concerns seem to revolve around several key areas: the increased workload for those left behind, the language barriers and poor levels of support that can follow afterward, and some respondents worry outsourcing is reducing the IT professional’s value and therefore reducing compensation levels.
One participant wrote that outsourcing offers a “greater competitive environment [and creates a] need for solid educational certification status.” This makes sense since one of the key components in globalization is an increase in market competition, and that dovetails the many survey comments that indicated certification became a differentiator.
Certification helped some IT pros find jobs after their companies or departments, or some piece therein, was outsourced. Others were able to gain certifications in their new positions and thus could expand or improve their knowledge and skills, which impacts how easy it is to find a job or be promoted once you are gainfully employed.
One might conclude that certification still has significant value despite the changing and frequently uncertain nature of the IT industry as a whole. This theory is supported by the 21.6 percent of survey respondents that reported being extremely concerned about recertification and maintaining their skills.
It appears that, like cash, it’s better to have certifications than to have none.
– Kellye Whitney, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Effect of Demographics
In keeping with our findings over the past few years, demographics — and we primarily take into account gender, age and level of education — continue to play a significant role in determining the average annual salaries of IT professionals.
An interesting find this year is related to the ever-increasing gender gap in the IT industry. While the phenomenon itself isn’t new, the statistics associated with it are newsworthy. The earning gap reported between men and women almost tripled this year to $6,400 from $2,190 in 2007.
The average annual salary reported by men was $59,140, compared with $52,730 for women. On the other hand, the average salary for all respondents — men and women included — amounted to $58,520 because male respondents constituted 90.4 percent of the total respondents, and females only represented a tiny sliver of the pie.
Age is another component to consider when assessing the average annual salaries of IT professionals. Of course, it should be noted that age itself cannot determine or predict one’s financial earnings in the IT industry. It is intricately interwoven with other factors such as education, professional qualifications and location. The average salaries reported by our respondents and the corresponding statistics can be found in tabular form in Fig. 4.1 | 2 | 3 |