Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Good news for IT: Bonuses are back, pay rates are up

Bonuses for IT pros are back as pay rates return to 2008 levels
Compensation and hiring for IT professionals are gradually rising and have just reached January 2008 levels, according to a study from Janco Associates titled "Mid-Year 2012 IT Salary Survey." Layoffs have tapered off, companies are bringing more IT operations back in-house, and IT pros are even seeing bonuses. However, hiring overall will remain soft in coming months, particularly with the presidential election in the United States and economic turmoil in the European Union.
The report is a mixed bag for IT pros. Enterprises are bringing help desks and data center operations back under their control to improve service levels and reduce costs, which has led to higher demand for data center managers.
According to Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco, several factors are driving that shift away from offshoring. Among them, "cost savings versus customer service now is starting to weigh in favor of on-shore operations," he told InfoWorld. "[Also], customers are getting very frustrated with off-shore help desks where non-native speakers do not communicate well with U.S. English speakers. Many help desks already have U.S.-based second-level support to deal with customers who do not interact well with off-shore help desk support."
Additionally, Janulaitis said that "high unemployment rates are tugging at the corporate conscience of senior management."
Demand for IT executives (leaders and staff IT professionals, in Janco parlance) at midsize companies has also been particularly robust, a precursor for future IT staff hiring and spending, according to the report. Yet companies are hiring more contractors and part-timers to work on key projects, which is great if you're a freelance IT worker but less so if you're hungry for full-time work.
"Our main conclusion is that for information technology, the recession has not bottomed and that hiring of IT professionals will remain soft for the next several months," said Janulaitis. "However there still are a number of companies who will proceed to expand IT departments in anticipation of the start of a strong recovery in the first and second quarters of 2013."
Mean compensation (including bonuses) for all IT professionals has increased from $77,229 to $78,759 since 2011. IT executives at large enterprises are now earning a mean salary of $140,515, representing a slight decrease from $140,879 in late 2011. IT execs at midsize companies, meanwhile, have seen a slight increase since 2011 from $124,967 to $124,363.
IT professionals have witnessed changes to benefits in the past year, most of which are positive though still generally below levels from a couple of years ago. Among them, there was a 5 percent increase in the number of employees receiving personal performance bonuses and a 4 percent increase in those receiving enterprise-based performance bonuses. "Bonuses are a leading indicator that companies are looking for enterprise revenue improvements and want to motivate employees to focus on improving the company's bottom line over and above everything else," Janulaitis said.
According to the study, 92 percent of IT professionals now have health insurance, up from 86 percent in 2011. (The number was at 95 percent in 2008.) However, according to the report, IT pros are contributing more to those costs. Sixty-five percent of IT pros enjoy 401(k) benefits, up 2 percent from 2011, though down from 71 percent in 2007. There's been a 2 percent increase in work-related trips (trade shows, training, and off-site meetings, for example), up from 49 percent last year but overall down 63 percent in 2007.
Meanwhile, there was a 2 percent dip in the number of IT professionals with flex time, down from 56 percent in 2011 and way down from 67 percent in 2008. Only 14 percent of IT professionals receive stock options, down 4 percent since last year and down 31 percent from 2006.
IT positions that are highest in demand at large companies -- and that have seen the largest compensation increases in the past year -- include:
  • CIOs, whose mean compensation package has increased by 1.75 percent from $176,659 to $179,742
  • Computer operations managers, for whom the mean compensation has risen by 3.19 percent from $94,309 to $97,318
  • Quality control managers, whose mean compensation has increased by 5.76 percent since last year from $75,817 to $80,186
  • Production control analysts, whose mean compensation is now $62,613, up 7.29 percent from $58,358
  • Digital-record librarians, whose total mean compensation has reason by 2.95 percent from $46,010 to $47,096
  • Voice/wireless communications coordinators, who are earning a mean total of $73,268, up 4 percent from $70,452
Here are some of the hot jobs with increasing salaries at midsize companies:
  • Directors of IT planning have seen their total mean compensation jump by 2.22 percent, from $98,529 to $100,714, in the past 12 months
  • Information center managers are earning 6.61 percent more, from $63,986 in 2011 to $68,218 today
  • Application development managers were earning a mean of $69,689 last year and now take in $72,437, an increase of 3.94 percent
  • Quality control managers' mean compensation has increased by 8.92 percent, from $56,205 to $61,219
  • Data entry supervisors have a mean compensation package of $46,149, up 4.38 percent from $44,213
  • Hardware installation supervisors have seen their annual take rise by 3.74 percent, from $53,781 to $55,794
  • Total compensation for librarians at midsize companies is up 7.15 percent, from $45,694 to $48,961
On the other side of the compensation coin, wages and benefits to some IT positions have dropped year over year. Among the losses at large companies:
  • Total mean compensation for VPs of consulting services is down 4.99 percent, from $131,095 to $124,553
  • Training and documentation managers have seen an 8.05 percent drop in total mean compensation, from $78,066 to $71,782
  • Webmaster pay has dropped by 6.92 percent, from $ $63,752 to $59,339
At midsize companies, the overall decreases in total compensation have been less significant:
  • E-commerce specialists saw their total mean compensation drop by 2.33 percent year over year, from $61,553 to $60,120
  • Production support managers are earning 1.23 percent less in total mean compensation, from $84,590 last year to $83,547 today
  • VPs of technical services have seen their overall compensation decrease by 1.14 percent, down from $137.388 last year to $135,815 in 2012

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