Tech salaries have slowly, but steadily increased over the last five years since average salaries declined in the early part of the decade. In 2007, average tech salaries increased 1.7 percent, following a 5.2 percent increase in 2006. 2006's increase was driven by an almost 9 percent climb in the average contractor salary. In 2007, contractors still had the largest gains at 3.7 percent (for a salary of $93,017) while full-time workers experienced a 1.7 percent rise ($72,003). Technology professionals continued to be in high demand in 2007, with an annual average unemployment rate of 2.1 percent, ranking far below the national annual average of 4.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"While technology professionals experienced overall slower salary growth in 2007 than in 2006, the traditional technology hot beds of Silicon Valley, Boston, and Atlanta saw better than average salary growth, and IT Managers saw strong salary increases," said Scot Melland, Chairman, President and CEO of Dice Holdings, Inc. "Technology workers remain among the highest paid employees, especially those with management experience and hard-to-find skills. Additionally, the majority are satisfied with their compensation."
Top Paying Skills and Experience
IT managers are increasingly in high demand, and their salaries reflect this. Dice.com job postings seeking a "project manager" or "project management" have grown by 25 percent since January 2007 and by 50 percent since January 2006. For the first time in the Dice Annual Salary Survey, two titles averaged more than $100,000, with Project Managers joining IT Management in the $100,000+ club. Project managers saw their salaries rise by 5.0 percent in 2007. MIS managers' salaries increased approximately 7.8 percent to $88,934.
Technology professionals possessing certain hard-to-find skills reported higher salaries. For instance, ETL - Extract, Transform and Load ($96,559), ERP - Enterprise Resource Planning ($95,589) and SOAP - Simple Object Access Protocol ($95,387) were the highest paid skills. In 2007, UNIX Solaris was the top paying operating systems skill ($90,321), while VPN - Virtual Private Network ($72,703) was the highest paying networking skill, and JBoss ($92,518) was the top application server skill.
Tech workers age 40 and over had the highest salary increases at approximately 2.3 percent, while entry-level workers, with a year or less experience, saw their 13.2 percent increase from 2006 give way to a 2.3 percent salary decline in 2007. However, entry level tech workers still fared better than many other entry level positions in other industries, as they took home an average of $41,457, which is higher than the Bureau of Labor Statistics median income for full-time workers of $36,140.
The larger the company, the larger the salary increases, as companies with more than 1,000 employees had the greatest increases (2.3 percent) and employees at companies with less than 50 employees reported a 1.8 percent decline in salaries.
Women's salaries held steady in 2007 with an average salary of $67,507. Over the same time period, men's salaries increased 2.4 percent to $76,582. Consequently, the gender gap widened to 11.9 percent vs. 9.7 percent last year.
The gender gap is smaller among consultants. Female consultants ($86,499) earned significantly more than their female full-time employee counterparts ($65,103) and have a more narrow salary gap with male consultants ($94,996) at 8.9 percent.
Lower skilled positions such as technical support and systems administrators had a smaller gender gap. Women with 1-5 years of experience saw the smallest gender gap (approximately 2.3 percent) while women with more than 15 years of experience had the largest gap (11.3 percent); hence, women age 40-49 also saw the largest gender gap (16.4 percent).
There is some good news for female IT professionals - Project Managers now make $100,436, which marks the first time that females in this position have averaged more than $100,000. This position also compares relatively favorably to male counterparts, who earn $101,569. The highest paid industry for women mirrors the overall survey, with banking and finance coming in tops ($74,935). Computer software ($72,651) and telecommunications ($72,122) round out the top three industries. Silicon Valley is also a lucrative destination for women. With an $84,192 average salary, this represents the top paying geographical area for females as well as males. Women in Atlanta saw the greatest increase (5.4 percent), while women in Philadelphia experienced the greatest decline (6.1 percent). Females in Philadelphia saw a large increase in 2006.
Tech pros in Silicon Valley continue to cash in with the highest salaries ($93,876) and the highest percentage increase (3.95 percent). Boston is the second highest paid metro area ($83,465) and has the second largest salary increase (3.93 percent). Baltimore/Washington, D.C., came in third ($81,750), while Los Angeles ($81,039) and New York ($80,770) rounded out the top five highest paying tech cities. Conversely, Phoenix and San Diego saw the largest declines (5.0 percent and 4.3 percent respectively). Both cities saw large increases last year.
E-commerce workers continued to see the largest salary increases, even after 2006's 14 percent gain, pocketing an additional 4.6 percent in 2007. Government/Defense and Computer Software saw healthy increases (both at 2.8 percent) this year, and with the fallout from the credit crisis, the Banking/Financial industry not surprisingly experienced minimal growth (0.6 percent increase).
More than 50 percent of the technology workers surveyed are satisfied with their salaries, with 14 percent categorizing themselves as very satisfied and 39 percent somewhat satisfied. Those who were very satisfied earned an average of $93,065. The 11 percent of respondents who replied that they are very dissatisfied had average salaries of $51,560.
The Dice Salary Survey was administered online among registered Dice job seekers and visitors between August 22 and November 15, 2007, and there were 19,026 participants. Respondents were invited to participate in the survey through a notification on the Dice home page, and registered job seekers were sent an email invitation. A cookie methodology was used to ensure that there was no duplication of responses between or within the various sample groups, and duplicate responses from a single email address were removed.