Survey shows IT salaries at standstill

18 Jun 2003

Salaries within the IT sector are staying flat despite growing signs of recovery in the industry, a new survey has found.

The research, from IT recruitment firm Rescon, shows that senior executives working in permanent IT roles can command salaries of more than €100k a year. Topping the salary charts are chief information and chief technical officers who can earn up to €139k and €152k, respectively. IT directors typically earn between €95k and €126k while IT managers usually make up to €70k.

Technical employees usually command considerably lower remuneration, according to the Rescon data. The average pay rates of software programmers ranges from €20k to €50k depending on experience.

Salaries on the contract side, while not as high as at the height of the boom, have remained relatively buoyant, with average day rates for personnel without specialist skills ranging from €225 for a software tester to €400 for a project manager.

The survey also finds that the market for IT contractors has stabilised somewhat after a period of fluctuating demand. The number of contractors who have been out of work for a period between assignments has increased by 26pc. This should benefit employers in terms of more competitive rates and greater availability of skills. Demand for permanent staff, on the other hand, is growing. The number of permanent IT opportunities coming onto the market had risen 44pc in the first quarter of 2003 – a sign that the industry is beginning to expand again.

Software companies also appear to be expanding their testing and development teams “which is a good indication of an improving market and the release of budgets from overseas”, notes the survey.

Another finding is that candidates are changing their approach to job-hunting, with a good benefits package becoming increasingly important. The following features were recorded as the most attractive on top of salary: company reputation/nature of activity including funding and management team (48pc); performance-related bonuses (21pc); share options (17pc) and other benefits – health cover, pensions, training and so on (14pc).

Job security and career progression can also be deciding factors for candidates when applying for or accepting a position, the survey finds. Employers’ list of priorities is also changing, with soft skills becoming as important as technical expertise when selecting new employees. Candidates must now show strong interpersonal skills and be a good company ‘fit’.

On the technical side, the skills most in demand include Oracle, Windows XP/2000, Lotus Notes and enterprise resource planning (ERP).

By Brian Skelly