Salary Survey 2023: IT crowd is older, often on the move
Posted on
January 17, 2023

This feature first appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.

Where will most working IT professionals be in five year? Probably not at the same job they have now.

A lot can change in five years. In or around 2265, a 32-year-old hotshot with a storied background at Starfleet Academy and a sterling service record was promoted to captain and given command of the U.S.S. Enterprise (NCC-1701). By 2270, bold explorer James T. Kirk had crisscrossed the galaxy, initiated numerous first contacts with alien races, racked up an impressive list of mortal enemies, traveled through time (as well as space), toppled governments, survived body swap and mind control schemes, and even survived an infestation of tribbles.

Your average certified IT professional probably won’t become one of the most renowned adventurers in space exploration in the next five years, but she or he or they may change jobs, quite possibly more than once. There’s a core of survey respondents, 6.7 percent of those surveyed, who clearly value stability and have been with their current employer for more than 15 years. Quite a few others, however, are far more nomadic.

A whopping 66.2 percent of survey respondents have worked for their current primary employer for five or fewer years. It’s three or fewer years for 46.2 percent of all respondents, and zero years (1 to 11 months) for 11.3 percent of all respondents. With that many folks just settling in, relatively speaking, it seems clear that IT professionals, probably for a variety of reasons, are prone to change jobs.

Some might argue that all of those new and relatively new arrivals are merely the vanguard of a rising generation of IT workers flooding in from colleges and high schools. Weighing rather heavily against that line of reasoning, however, is the fact that most of those who responded to the survey are not spring chickens.

A topic of concern for many in the tech industry is the general aging of the workplace population, and this year’s survey, like the last handful we’ve done, bears out that trend. A sobering 29 percent of those who responded to this year’s survey are 45 or older, and 34 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44. By contrast, just 31 percent of respondents are between the ages of 25 and 34, while a mere 5 percent are younger than 25.

That’s roughly 63 percent of today’s certified IT professionals who were either born, coming of age, or (gulp) already in the workforce the year (1987) that President Ronald Reagan, during a speech at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, issued his famous challenge to General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Where will most working IT professionals be in five year? Probably not at the same job they have now.

Speaking of timing, 12.8 percent of survey respondents worked in IT for less than a year before getting their first certification. And you don’t have to stretch that timetable very far to capture a much larger slice of the pie. A striking 48.8 percent of those surveyed earned their first certification after working in IT for 3 or fewer years.

As we’ve learned from past surveys, there are IT jobs at every rung of the corporate ladder. We’ve found pretty consistently, on the other hand, that the highest concentration of skilled tech professionals tends to reside at the senior specialist level.

That was the case this year as well, with 23.8 percent of all survey respondents declaring themselves senior specialists. The next largest groups are the ones directly above and directly below senior specialist on the standard-issue company org chart: 19 percent of those surveyed are managers, 18.5 percent are senior managers, and 11.5 percent are specialists.

No matter what job title accompanies the picture on their I.D. badge, there’s a pretty strong degree of confidence and satisfaction among most survey respondents. A sturdy 58 percent of those surveyed have no intention of seeking a different job in 2023. (Given the indicators discussed a few paragraphs above this one, it sounds as though at least some IT workers who are about to change jobs just don’t know it yet.)

And though the IT industry as a whole has certainly been subject to employment upheavals in recent years — there were front-page-news-level layoffs at such towering tech firms as Facebook and Twitter last year — most workers are feeling secure, at least in the short term. The hopeful flip side of our earlier ruminations on this topic is that 80.5 percent of survey respondents do not anticipate being laid off in the coming year, while 81 percent are confident they won’t have to deal with a pay cut

TABLE TALK: How does your professional profile compare to that of other IT professionals?

TABLE TALK: How do you compare to other IT professionals?

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

Posted to topic:
Jobs and Salary

Important Update: We have updated our Privacy Policy to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

CompTIA IT Project Management - Project+ - Advance Your IT Career by adding IT Project Manager to your resume - Learn More