Walter Scott may not be your typical IT professional. But the circumstances around his current compensation have become all too familiar.
Scott, a 20-year IT veteran, is a solutions architect at Verizon Business in East Meadow, N.Y., where he helps devise IP telephony systems for the company's commercial customers. Scott says he has helped land a few prominent deals since joining Verizon two years ago, including a $30 million contract with a health care customer in 2007.
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But despite his contributions, Scott received a paltry 1.78 percent salary increase in February, and his bosses had to fight for that amount. Verizon's human resources department felt Scott was still learning his position and deserved a smaller raise, he says. Eventually, the HR managers caved in to the pleas of his supervisors, who argued for a bigger, though still minuscule, salary bump.
Like just about everyone else these days, Scott has had to adjust his personal spending in the face of surging cost-of-living increases, including escalating energy costs. After recently paying off their credit card balances, Scott and his wife scaled back their cable TV service and trimmed other extras.
"I've had to do a real drill-down on my budget and make adjustments and still save for retirement," says Scott.
Yet despite his need for financial conservatism, Scott says he's otherwise satisfied in his job. "It's a pretty good gig," he says. "There's no micromanaging. You manage your own schedule, and I get the opportunity to work remotely when I'm not out in the field."
Scott's situation is a snapshot of what's happening to many other IT professionals around the United States as employers are pulling in the reins on salaries. According to Computerworld's 22nd annual Salary Survey, based on responses from 6,801 U.S. IT workers, total compensation (salary plus bonus) rose an average of just 3.5 percent this past year, reflecting little change over the 3.7 percent average increase reported in 2007. Meanwhile, bonuses for IT professionals rose by an average of only 0.2 percent in 2008, compared with 3.4 percent in 2007.