IT Professionals See Bigger Pay Gains

An increasingly competitive hiring market drives up IT compensation

By Stephen Miller, CEBS May 1, 2015

After several years of slow gains, there are signs of notable compensation increases for information technology (IT) professionals in a range of positions, according to results published in April 2015 from Computerworld’s 29th annual IT Salary Survey.

Over 4,500 IT professionals in the U.S. responded to the survey through Dec. 18, 2014.

Average total compensation (salary plus bonus) for IT professionals increased 3.6 percent for 2015, compared with an average of 2 percent in the three preceding years, the survey showed. Some professionals with the "hottest" IT jobs saw considerably higher pay increases (see box below).

Raises also were more widespread than in years past: 67 percent of respondents reported receiving a salary increase for 2015, compared with 60 percent for 2014, 57 percent for 2013 and 47 percent for 2012.

The most common types of bonuses received by respondents were annual (29 percent), performance-based (25 percent) and profit-sharing (14 percent) bonuses.

Skills in Demand

A major factor in the rise in salaries was an increasingly competitive hiring market. Some 43 percent of managers said they expected their organization's IT head count to increase in 2015, up from 38 percent in 2014.

Managers also noted that they've been having a hard time filling open positions in the past two years: 36 percent said it has taken three to six months to fill open positions, while 15 percent said it has taken more than six months.

Among staff positions, application development remains the most in-demand skill, selected as a growth area by 41 percent of managers who plan to hire IT staff in the next 12 months. Other hot staff-level skills include help desk/IT support, business intelligence/analytics and security.

At the managerial level, chief security officers and chief information officers saw big pay gains. Among middle IT management, information security managers and technical support managers came out ahead.

Hot IT Jobs for 2015

Job Title

% Change in Total Compensation from 2014

Director/VP of systems development


Chief security officer


Database developer/modeler


Information security manager


Network engineer




Database administrator


Chief information officer


Software engineer


Vice president of IT


Project leader


Application developer


Help desk/technical support manager


Information security specialist


Business intelligence analysis


Help desk/technical support specialist


Source: Computerworld's IT Salary Survey 2015. Total compensation includes salary and bonus.

Pay Is Prime Motivator

Money is a big motivator for IT professionals. Among survey respondents looking for a new job, 60 percent said they were motivated by higher compensation. And 74 percent of all respondents—not just those looking for a new job—said a salary increase would entice them to change jobs.

Despite rising salaries and bonuses, only about half of survey respondents (52 percent) reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their total compensation, while one-quarter said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him on Twitter @SHRMsmiller.​

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