IT professionals still big earners

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Although engineering is 'the next big thing`, the IT profession is still a lucrative and highly-paid industry, according to the findings of ITWeb`s 2006 IT Salary Survey.

Now in its eighth year, ITWeb`s online survey this year captured over 3 000 responses and identified highest and lowest paid skills at both the managerial and staff levels.

At executive management level, CIOs reported the highest median of R47 500 a month (total cost to company), leaving behind CEOs who reported a median of slightly over R34 000.

<B>ITWeb 2006 IT Salary Survey</B>

To access the complete results of ITWeb`s 2006 IT Salary Survey, please click here.

At operational management level, chief architects top the list, with a monthly median of R31 000, while the maximum package of R70 000 was reported by a project manager, an IT manager and a business development manager.

At staff level, the hottest jobs according to this survey sample are those of software architect (R30 000 median and R100 000 maximum package reported), followed by ERP consultants (R28 000+) and systems architects (R26 000+).

At the bottom of the scale are help-desk, call centre and general IT technicians, with a median of slightly over R9 000.

Huge growth

Speaking at the release of the results of ITWeb`s 2006 IT Salary Survey in Rosebank this morning, Susan Haiden, client development manager of Insource.ICT, explained that in the last four years, although her organisation had predicted a 30% growth in the ICT market, it shot to 70% instead.

"High overall remuneration packages in the IT industry can be attributed to four generic factors, the most important of them being supply and demand."

Haiden explained that due to the nature of the industry, the introduction of entirely new technologies, such as voice over IP, as well as newer versions of old technologies, IT continues to be competitive as players try to remain on top of the game.

However, she noted that there is a trend of increased supply emerging, which could possibly lead to flattened salaries. This is largely due to the introduction and implementation of learnerships, especially at low-end salary level. "We are starting to create a smart and motivated pool of young people."

Another key factor for IT salaries being so high is the level of responsibility. IT professionals are often responsible for the core and protection of a company`s functioning - its information. She also noted that the larger the company, and therefore the more information to facilitate and protect, the higher the salaries.

Haiden said an important determining factor is multiplatform experience. "There is a move away from jack-of-all-trades, and a move towards master-of-all."

If IT professionals can manage to stay abreast of and become proficient in emerging technology, they are at a distinct competitive advantage, she noted.

Salary is also determined by the employee`s strategic importance to the business. The more critical to the functioning of a company, the more they earn, she added.

New influence

Haiden warned of a new influence that is taking hold of the IT industry: "There are a vast number of new available jobs in the IT industry."

She believes that because IT professionals now have so many choices due to the market`s "explosion", they have a much higher perception of their worth, and will shop around until they find a job that suits them best.

"Work-life balance is also becoming increasingly important," she concluded.

According to Mark Bussin, executive chairman of 21st Century Business & Pay Solutions, there is more at play when it comes to an employee`s staying power.

"It can clearly be seen from the survey that money is not the primary determining cause of whether a worker stays or goes," he explained. "In fact, money comes only third after challenge of job and job atmosphere."

Bussin added that other studies show only 25% of the reasons an employee stays with an employer is because of remuneration and a large part of the remaining 75% can be attributed to a boss` reputation.

"People join companies," Bussin says, "but they leave bosses."

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