Salary Survey Extra: Salaries by level of employment, Part 2
Posted on
July 6, 2023

Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Big bosses make big money.

At the end of last year, the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank based in Washington, D.C., published a report with the eye-catching headline, "CEO pay has skyrocketed 1,460 percent since 1978." You know who has not seen their salaries increase by almost 1,500 percent since 1978? That would be a fractional subset of humanity known, in the aggregate, as "everybody else."

EPI estimates that, on average, a CEO at one of the top 350 U.S. companies received the equivalent of $27.8 million (CEO compensation often entails indirect elements like stock options) in 2021. Stop us if you've heard this one before: CEOs have to make hard decisions and create big visions. It's harder than it looks. Maybe. For $27.8 million, there are probably a lot of people out there who'd be willing to take a crack at the job.

At most companies, there's only room at the top for one CEO, so one person is taking home the real cheddar, while everyone else is getting paid ... less. A whole lot less in many cases, it would seem.

As discussed in this space a couple of weeks ago, all workplaces have various levels of everyone elses and pay is often directly or indirectly correlated to where you stand in comparison to coworkers. Each year we ask Salary Survey participants to envision the stratification at their organization and report where they fit in. More succinctly, we're asking what their level of employment is.

This week we're looking at data from the 2023 Salary Survey to formulate a number that corresponds to each of those levels of employment. What could a relatively seasoned certified IT professional — about 60 percent of 2023 survey respondents have worked in IT for a decade or more — expect to earn at each of those respective levels?

We already looked at the respective standings among U.S. IT professionals, so the list below references only certified IT professionals who live in non-U.S. countries. Here’s what we learned:

Employment Tier: Average Salary of 2023 Survey Respondents at This Tier (Percentage of All Respondents at This Tier)
$79,540 (5.2 percent)
Director: $100,450 (7.1 percent)
Senior Manager: $81,510 (13.6 percent)
Manager: $61,930 (17.6 percent)
Senior Specialist: $62,050 (29.8 percent)
Specialist: $45,750 (15.4 percent)
Employee: $31,770 (11.4 percent)

Among U.S. certified IT professionals, there a more even distribution of respondents. Here we can see that roughly two-thirds of non-U.S. Salary Survey respondents fall into three different tiers: specialist, senior specialist, and manager. It’s more rare to hear from rank-and-file IT workers, and also from executives and directors.

It’s also true here, as among U.S. workers, that managers tend to make a bit less than senior specialists. A survey from a small-ish U.S. publication probably doesn't attract the attention of many executives at top companies overseas, which likely explains why the salary number for executives falls considerably below the earnings of directors.

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

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