Certification Magazine's 2009 Salary Survey1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
The majority of respondents have been in the IT industry for less than 10 years — nearly 36 percent had less than five years’ experience and 28 percent had five to 10 years’ experience. Nearly 11 percent have been in IT for more than 20 years.
According to the survey, almost 93 percent of you are certified in a technical field, with many of you receiving your first certification within the last three years. Almost 20 percent of you received your first cert in 2009, 17 percent in 2008 and 12 percent in 2007.
The percentage of respondents holding three or more certs was up significantly this year to 52.1 percent, compared with 35.5 percent last year. About a quarter of you hold one certification, and 21 percent hold two.
The number of respondents who added one new certification in the past year ticked slightly downward, however, from 38 percent in 2008 to 37 percent in 2009. There was a corresponding drop in the number of respondents who did not add a cert to their portfolio this year, from 34 percent in 2008 to 33 percent in 2009. There was also a significant rise in the number of people who added more than two certifications, from 11.4 percent last year to 30.2 percent this year.
– Mike Prokopeak
Cash Is the Culprit
It’s been a rough couple years for IT professionals. While their primary concerns from 2008 haven’t changed much, they have been reordered.
This year’s Salary Survey respondents reported their top three extreme concerns are the job market, job security, and compensation and benefits. Other areas of concern include recertification or maintaining skills and employer support for certification — which, rather tellingly, both have monetary components.
Pay cuts were more popular than anyone would’ve liked in 2009, with some 14 percent of survey respondents reporting their pay had been cut in the past year, while about 12 percent expect to have their pay cut in the coming year. Ouch.
Not surprisingly, the economy also did a number on job perks. Some 41 percent of respondents got incentive compensation or a bonus in 2008, but only 34 percent of respondents indicated they received incentive compensation or a bonus in 2009, while 65 percent said they did not.
Though base salaries jumped a bit in 2009, more than 42 percent of respondents intend to change jobs in the coming year. There could be many reasons for this, from employees anticipating company downsizing to employees experiencing things on the job that would prompt them to explore other opportunities when available or when the economy rebounds.
Overwork might be another reason IT pros are eyeing the door. Despite many reduced or stagnant salaries, 59 percent of respondents work more than 40 hours per week, and more than 15 percent work in excess of 50 hours per week.
The Salary Survey did reveal some good money news, however. After receiving their most recent certification, about 36 percent of respondents received a raise, though about half reported that raise was 5 percent or less. About 15 percent said the raise was at least 10 percent; roughly the same number said it was between 15 and 20 percent; and 5 percent of respondents said they received a raise of more than 50 percent.
Judging by the survey results, it also appears that boosting one’s cache of skills via certification is a smart move no matter the market conditions, as certifications were credited with helping respondents get those pay increases. Around 47 percent said they think their most recently earned certification played a role in them getting a raise. Furthering their certification portfolios also contributed to respondents’ career progression. Roughly 1 in 5 respondents received a promotion in the first year after receiving their most recent certification.
Certifications also are credited with helping IT professionals get along better in this volatile market. More than 85 percent of respondents agree that since they’ve become certified, there is a greater demand for their skills. More than 86 percent said becoming certified has improved their problem-solving skills, and roughly the same number report that achieving certification has increased their productivity on the job. There’s nothing like a little focused study to take one’s mind off money problems and rapidly emptying cubicles.
Despite the benefits of certification, the Salary Survey results showed a lack of certification support from employers. Here again, it’s likely money is the culprit. Some 11 percent of respondents report their employers were not at all supportive of their efforts to certify or recertify their skills. Then again, about 77 percent said their employers gave them at least some support.
Outsourcing, once a huge IT career headache, continues to lose teeth year-over-year. It did not affect 63 percent of this year’s survey respondents, which represented a drop of 1 percentage point from last year. In fact, 31 percent of this year’s respondents reported they benefited from outsourcing — up 6 percentage points from last year. These perhaps unlikely beneficiaries were either retrained or repositioned within their companies.
Reskilling seems to be a popular way to combat the recession, as 37 percent of respondents have added at least one new certification in the past year, and 18 percent have added two. Further, 84 percent plan to pursue additional certifications within the next 12 months. So either there’s relief on the horizon, or IT professionals are gearing up to deal with the next wave of madness.
– Kellye Whitney
The Demographics Effect
Demographic factors such as gender, age and level of education have traditionally played a role in shaping the salary earnings of IT professionals. Sure enough, this year’s findings didn’t stray from these fundamental expectations.
Judging by the survey results, women continue to comprise a relatively small segment of the IT industry, accounting for 14.1 percent of this year’s respondents. This number represents an increase of a few percentage points from previous years, although it should be noted that this year we are only factoring in responses from our U.S.-based respondents.
Interestingly, the most prominent salary bracket for both genders — again, we’re looking at U.S. data only — was the $100,000 to $109,999 range, with 10.5 percent of males and 8.4 percent of females reporting said earnings. The $110,000 to $119,000 salary range proved to be the second most popular among respondents, with 6.4 percent of males and 6.9 percent of females figuring into this category.
Another trend that’s in keeping with previous years is the salary earnings gap that arises as a result of age. As might be expected due to lack of experience and credentials, more than half of individuals who are 18 years of age and under, as well as those between the ages of 19 and 24 (16.4 percent), fell into our lowest annual salary bracket, earning less than $20,000 this year.
Meanwhile, the majority — 11.4 percent — of those between the ages of 25 and 29 reported an annual income of $60,000 to $64,999, while the majority of individuals between the ages of 30 and 34 reported an average salary of $70,000 to $74,999. Not surprisingly, most of the individuals in several consecutive age groups — ages 35 to 64, collectively — reported earning an annual salary of between $100,000 and $109,999 this year.
Like last year, there appears to be a drop-off in salary earnings among our eldest respondents — those who are 65 years and older. While the majority (8.8 percent) of respondents in this age group reported earnings of $90,000 to $99,999, the same number of individuals also reported earning less than $20,000 this year. As suggested in the past, this finding isn’t an anomaly and could be attributed to the fact that some of these individuals may have chosen to be employed only part time, thereby resulting in the significantly lower annual income.1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |