A near-forgotten term is back in the lexicon of IT compensation: opportunity. And tech workers are making the most of it. Salaries are on the rise. Promotions are not just title changes in lieu of a raise. Surfing the want ads is more than an exercise in disgust. Plus, the good news extends beyond the job market. Tech pros are pushing out more products and surpassing milestones to make good on an economy on the mend. Getting by with less is steadily giving way to creating competitive advantage with whatever you’ve got.
According to the 2006 InfoWorld Compensation Survey, which polled 789 IT professionals, salaries are up 4.8 percent, the best showing in five years. Bonuses remain healthy. Austere for years, the scene is finally looking up.
Yet budgets are often reined. And though improved, the job market is flooded with more contract positions than ever before. Lessons learned in the downturn have more employers rolling with the multisourcing model. As with any upward transition, however, those who adapt decisively are best positioned to cash in on new opportunities.
Top dog, top dollar
Unlike last year, when raises gravitated toward midlevel managers, this year the money flowed up the chain of command. Nearly three out of four senior managers reported a pay increase in 2006, best among the three employment categories (senior, midlevel, and staff). Raises for most senior managers were modest, with 61 percent receiving an increase of less than 5 percent. But when considered together, tech executives -- less than a quarter of all respondents -- earned 50 percent of this year’s total raises. With C-level salaries growing on average by 8.8 percent -- better than the past two years combined -- it’s good to be driving the train.
Still, there’s a sore point: Senior managers are feeling pressed into even greater levels of service at every turn. But many say they look for more than just bounty in those extra obligations. Jim Poehlman, chief information technologist at Ubicom, says the opportunity to deliver vanguard technology underlies the satisfaction he derives from work. “I drive the entire IT infrastructure for Ubicom and have full flexibility in designing and testing new technology,” says Poehlman, whose company develops high-performance wireless network processors and platforms. “That’s key to my job satisfaction.”
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