2006 Salary Survey, Part 4: IT Attitudes

While salaries are rising, angst continues to rise

While IT budgets and salaries appear to be improving, close to one in four IT professionals worry about their jobs being outsourced, a level that has not abated over the past year. In addition, anxiety about job security and outsourcing—usually highest among mainframe staffers—is spreading to professionals working with other types of platforms. Dissatisfaction with income is on the rise.

Paradoxically, while feelings of job insecurity appear to continue to rise, there appears to be more upward mobility—or at least movement—at IT sites, the survey finds. About 65 percent of respondents say they are in the same position as a year ago, down from 72.5 percent in the 2005 survey. For the most part, these professionals appear to be moving up, or at least laterally. About 19 percent report they were recently promoted, up from 16 percent a year ago. Another 11 percent made a lateral move—compared to eight percent a year ago. The average length of time respondents have been employed in their current position is 6.2 years, and 8.6 years with their current employer.

Respondents admit that they are increasingly less satisfied with their salaries than in previous years. About 58 percent say they are satisfied, to some degree, with their salaries and compensation, down from 61 percent last year and 63 percent in 2001, the first time this question was asked.

More than a third of respondents (34%) are, to some degree, dissatisfied with their compensation. This is higher than the 31 percent expressing dissatisfaction in the 2001 survey, and 33 percent in 2005.

While base salaries have finally started moving upward, for many positions this equals the rate of inflation. The economy has picked up steam, and IT managers and professionals recognize that they can take their skills to a more receptive market than in recent years. The percent reporting they are “extremely satisfied,” 12 percent, is down somewhat from 14 percent last year.

Some respondents report feeling stymied by their organizations’ tight compensation policies. “As we add more technology the need for additional expertise is increasing, but salary rates are not,” said one respondent.

When looking satisfaction levels by platform, the survey finds disenchantment growing in the ranks of large systems staff. Respondents at midrange systems sites were far more likely than last year to express dissatisfaction (37 percent, up from 31 percent), followed by mainframe staffers (rising from 30 percent to 32 percent). Ironically, there was no increase in salary dissatisfaction among the lowest-paid respondents found in this survey – those at distributed systems sites (Windows and Linux).

For the most part, respondents feel secure about their jobs. Eight out of ten report that they basically feel secure about the state of their current job security, not too far off from 82 percent last year. About 16 percent report otherwise; that they feel their jobs are insecure. As shown in Table 5, this sense of job insecurity runs higher among IT staff members (18 percent) than managers (14 percent). Insecurity also notched up slightly (but not significantly) for both categories, up from 17 percent of IT staff and 12 percent of managers feeling job insecurity in the 2005 survey.

Full Report Available in PDF Format

We break out salary and job satisfaction, examine job security, and opinions about the likelihood IT jobs will be outsourced in the final part of our survey, which is part of the complete Enterprise Systems 2006 Salary Survey available as a compressed (ZIPped) Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file online. (A short registration—your name, job title, and e-mail address where we should mail the download link—is requested. This information will not be shared or sold, and we ask for your job title to help us improve next year’s survey.)

To download your copy, visit