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IT salary survey shows no growth in 2009, but that could end in 2010

Christina Torode, Editorial Director

In the summer of 2008, we polled IT executives for our annual IT salary survey just as the bottom began to fall out from under the mortgage lending and financial services industries.

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"What a difference a year makes" is an understatement. The CIOs and IT managers surveyed in 2008 -- 400 in total -- were pretty optimistic about IT salaries, bonuses and the stability of their positions. Some said they would sooner leave their jobs than deal with a bad boss.

A prime concern at the time was the cost of gas -- $4 a gallon, causing many CIOs and IT managers to step up telecommuting. Still, the signs of a lagging economy were already beginning to show, with roughly 14% of the 2008 survey respondents reporting a salary freeze at their companies.

In 2009, IT managers shifted their concerns to eking out what they could as IT budgets shrank or remained flat. In a separate survey of IT priorities for 2010, 958 IT managers said their budgets would decrease by 2.7% in North America and 1.7% worldwide.

In the 2008 IT salary and careers survey, three in four IT executives expected a pay raise of about 3% to 4% in 2009, as well as a bonus as part of their compensation. Flash forward to 2009, and the average salary of the 952 respondents to this year's IT salary survey was $148,590 -- in 2008, the average salary of the 130 CIO and IT managers who responded to that question was $152,000. Although not an apples-to-apples comparison, it appears raises didn't quite materialize in 2009.

Then again, that is the average salary across all 2009 respondents. When asked if they received a raise in 2009, 353 or 37% of the respondents, said they did; another 364, or 38%, got a bonus.

On the flip side, 119, or 12.5%, experienced salary cuts in 2009, and 95, or 10%, had to take days off without pay.

The average salary of the 952 respondents to this year's IT salary survey was $148,590 -- in 2008, the average salary of the 130 CIO and IT managers who responded to that question was $152,000.

Looking ahead at 2010, 458 of the 2009 IT salary and career survey respondents said they expect a raise of about 4.7% this year, and almost 50% of all respondents said they expect a raise of some kind.

And there was more optimism, with 38% of the 2009 respondents reporting they were either satisfied with their overall compensation (23%) or extremely satisfied (15%). However, 23% said they were somewhat satisfied, 28% said they were somewhat dissatisfied and 11% were not at all satisfied with their IT salaries.

Job confidence took a hit in the 2009 IT salary survey. When asked how secure they felt in their job, 52% said they were extremely satisfied (23%) or satisfied (29%). In comparison, 67% of the 2008 respondents said they were mostly confident (44%) or very confident (23%) when it came to job security.

Despite lingering gloom and doom, CIO tenures aren't taking a beating, as they did during the technology-focused dot-com fiasco in 2000 and 2001. A survey by Stamford, Conn.-based analyst firm Gartner Inc. shows that the average tenure of a CIO is about 4.4 years, which is about that same as in 2008, the firm said.

Our 2009 IT salary and careers survey found that of the 889 respondents to our question on tenure, 14.5% had been with their company for three years, 12.9% for two years, 11.6% for five years and 10.5% for 11 to 20 years.

Read Senior News Writer Linda Tucci's article on CIO tenure to find out which industries tend to be a safer haven for CIOs than others.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Christina Torode, News Director.


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