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2010 CIO and IT salaries and career survey: Read our special report

CIO and IT salaries are bouncing back in 2010 after a tough 2009. In this special report, learn about IT salaries by industry, CIO job tenures and more.

Although many technology executives expect raises following a dismal 2009, the mood around IT salaries remains gloomy. Budgets are still stretched thin, staffing is still below pre-recession levels and there's still uncertainty about what 2010 will bring, according to the results of our annual IT salary and careers survey.

The survey, conducted among readers of SearchCIO.com and SearchCIO-Midmarket.com in the fourth quarter of 2009 via email, garnered 952 responses across 21 industries and all regions of the U.S. It defined a senior IT executive as having a title of vice president, executive vice president, senior vice president, CIO, chief technology officer or chief information security officer. Midlevel IT executives were defined as those at the director level, and IT managers as having one or more direct reports.

In this special report, learn how IT salaries vary by industry, the truth about CIO job tenures, how IT shops are demonstrating their value to the rest of the organization and more.

This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefings section.

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2010 pay increases for IT executives

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Will most IT executives get pay increases for 2010, and if so, how much? The annual SearchCIO.com annual IT salary and careers survey shows a big rebound from 2009, with an even half expecting pay increases next year, and some healthy digits.

In all, some 50% of the respondents to our salary survey expect to get a pay increase in 2010, compared with 38% in 2009. They expect an average pay increase of 4.8% for 2010, and a median pay increase of 3.5%. There is also considerable variability among industries.

Learn more in "Half of IT executives expect pay increases in 2010." Also:

CIO and IT salaries by industry

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The highest-paid CIOs and senior IT executives may be in retail and health care, but director-level IT managers do better in financial services, according to the results of SearchCIO.com's annual IT salary and careers survey.

Not surprisingly, the higher one's title in the IT organization, the higher one's compensation. The best-paying industries? That often depends on your rank -- but not tenure, which doesn't always correspond with more money, according to our survey.

Find out more in "How CIO, IT salaries vary by industry." Also:

  • Salaries vary by industry, 2010 raises expected
    How much do midmarket IT executives make? See salary averages by industry and title and learn which industry is expecting the highest pay increase.

CIO outlook for 2010

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Although many economic barometers indicate that the recession will subside in 2010, the IT outlook for more enterprise organizations is a feeling of pessimism rather than optimism entering the new year, according to the results of SearchCIO.com's annual IT salary and careers survey.

Their 2010 outlook revealed that pessimism is highest among IT shops working with computer-related retailers, wholesalers and distributors (63.6%). Their gloomy view is followed by IT shops in the computer and data processing and consulting industry (46.7%), and IT in media, marketing and advertising (45.5%).

Learn more in "More pessimism than optimism in IT outlook for 2010." Also:

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    The mood of CIOs whose projects we profiled in this year of the Great Recession is sober. Never mind about the familiar doing more with less mandate -- one CIO says he feels like he's being asked to do more with nothing.
  • Eight qualities of a good leader during a recession
    These qualities of a leader during a recession show how CIOs can guide their organizations in tough times, making the right IT budget cuts and inspiring employees.

Tactical vs. strategic work: A CIO dilemma

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Did the Great Recession put a crimp on how much time CIOs devoted to long-range IT strategic planning as opposed to short-range tactical decisions? For half of all IT executive respondents in SearchCIO.com's annual salary and career survey, it sure did.

Industry analysts who cover CIO careers will no doubt debate whether this shift to tactics signals a professional step back for strategic-minded CIOs. In following up with survey participants, however, one thing was clear: businesses relied heavily on IT to get them through the tough economic year, suggesting that tactical decision makingwas the new IT strategic thinking, at least in 2009.

Find out more in "Tactical decisions outweighed IT strategic planning for CIOs in 2009." Also:

  • How do you balance IT strategic planning and tactical decisions?
    How much time do you devote to IT strategic planning, as opposed to tactical decisions? Not surprisingly, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression made its impression. Tactical decisions outweighed IT strategic planning for CIOs in 2009 -- a lot more, for some.
  • Gartner's top 10 strategic technologies for 2010
    Gartner's list of technologies that bear examination during the next three years shows an agile, mobile, secure enterprise that can spot early warning signs and predict trends.

CIO and IT job tenure

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It might be lonely at the top of the IT executive job ladder, but the perch appears relatively stable. The average tenure for senior IT executive jobs is now 6.3 years, according to SearchCIO.com's annual salary and careers survey.

The longevity of people in the top echelon during the worst recession in more than 50 years is a stark change from rough economic patches in past decades, when the typical lifespan of a CIO was 18 months -- suggesting that the CIO role is maturing.

Learn more in "IT executive jobs average 6.3 years, a testament to IT and business." Also:

  • CIO management mistakes that can harm CIO careers, cause IT failures
    Are you an effective CIO or senior IT leader, or are you poised for failure because you've made one of these mistakes? Here's what you might need to change before it's too late.
  • 10 ways to keep your IT job and move along CIO career path in a recession
    IT careers are just as vulnerable as other jobs in this recession, but here are some tips to surviving layoffs and staying employed in the downturn.
  • Experts: CIO moving more into business, process optimization
    The role of the CIO was under the microscope at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, where industry executives and academics offered scenarios that bring CIOs deeper into the business.

IT staff members demonstrate their value

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The year and the economic downturn took a toll on many IT departments, as cuts in IT staffing and budgets drove down employee morale. Yet some IT managers said the changes worked out for the best, allowing IT to focus on specific business needs and become more involved in decision making and strategic planning earlier on.

In our annual IT salary and careers survey, 50% of more than 640 IT managers at midsized organizations said their IT budget was lower in 2009 than it was in 2008. Some 41% of IT organizations at companies with 100 to 1,000 employees also shrank in size, 63% of those by layoff, with the balance by attrition or reorganization. And 54% of the IT executives and IT managers reported having a significantly increased workload, with 50% reporting more operational duties than before.

Find out more in "Teams rally to bring value after cuts in IT staffing." Also:

  • Tips for enhancing IT's role in improving the current economy
    IT can help improve the current economy by participating in a strategic planning process that includes cutting costs, measuring performance and prioritizing projects.
  • CIO best practices: A self-assessment guide for top IT professionals
    Some CIO best practices held steady in the recession, while others have shifted. See if you've kept up by taking the quizzes in our self-assessment guide for top IT professionals.

IT staff members demonstrate their IT salaries, careers

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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.

"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.

Learn more in IT salary survey shows no growth in 2009, but that could end in 2010." Also:

  • IT Salary Report 2008: Telecommuting increasingly common option for execs
    With high gas prices, IT execs who value productivity and work/life balance have now turned to telecommuting options for their staffs.
  • IT Salary Report 2008: In a tough economy, CIOs have few job-security concerns
    Despite a weak economy, IT is seen as an asset in operational efficiency, not a money pit. SearchCIO.com's recent survey indicates that many CIOs feel secure in their jobs.
  • IT Salary Report 2008: CIO recruiters offer tips on getting the job you want
    Headhunters specializing in CIO searches all say the same thing: If you're good, we'll find you. We give you the inside scoop to make sure they do.
  • IT salary survey 2008 surprise: CIOs, managers optimistic, despite economy
    Despite an uneasy economy, CIOs and IT managers continue to make six-figure salaries, and they remain confident about future job security.

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