Brain drain tide turns, pale males still dominate IT

Read time 4min 40sec

The IT industry is still dominated by white males, the e-commerce industry is emerging as a top-paying sector, and the IT brain drain is slowing down. These are among the key findings of ITWeb`s 2002 IT Salary Survey, which was released to the media in Johannesburg today.

ITWeb`s Salary Survey 2002

[SidebarPicture]To access the full set of Salary Survey 2002 results click here.

The annual survey tracks the trends in salaries and working conditions of IT professionals, and has emerged as a key indicator of what employees want in the sector. The survey, which differentiates itself by polling local IT professionals rather than employers or recruitment specialists, was conducted exclusively online among ITWeb readers. Remuneration specialist 21st Century Pay Solutions Group was the research partner for the survey.

The majority of the 2 897 responses from which data was drawn this year were from white male IT professionals who work between eight and ten hours a day and live in Johannesburg or Pretoria.

[VIDEO]Says Ranka Jovanovic, ITWeb editor-in-chief: "The survey showed that today`s hot skills include SAP, solid Java and related technologies, business analyst skills backed by experience in the banking industry, middleware and integration. We found that there is no shortage of skills at entry-level and that those entering the industry with just an A+ or entry-level Microsoft certification with no experience are likely to struggle to find employment and are not going to be well-paid either."

Instead, says Jovanovic, employers are throwing money at those with high-end skills, experience and business savvy, despite the IT downturn.

Another finding was that those IT workers who are willing to go the extra mile will add a considerable amount to their take-home pay through their company`s incentive scheme.

The survey shows that while benefits included in IT packages are much the same across the board, achievers can earn up to 60% more through incentive schemes.

Morag May, a director at 21st Century Pay Solutions Group, says it is interesting to note that the majority of organisations (approximately 90%) offer some form of incentive scheme. "This is in line with national and international trends which reflect an increase in the use of incentives to reward performance."

[VIDEO]Almost 70% of executives and 45% of general staff received an incentive in the last year. Incentive value was substantial, ranging between 17% and 20% of the total package.

Other key findings showed that the average monthly salary at senior executive level is R36 900 - fairly high when compared to the average salary for an employee at management level (R23 600) and that of someone at IT staff level (R17 650). The best paid IT sectors are enterprise resource planning, telecoms and e-commerce, while those getting paid the least work in the groupware, networking and training sectors.

"The best paid staff jobs include systems analyst, system architect and e-commerce specialist, while those worst off remuneration-wise are Web designers, data capturers and programmers," says Jovanovic.

According to the results of the 2002 survey, the highest earning potential resides in the IT sales space, with the biggest total package reported being that of a consultant working in the financial sector who earns R1.8 million per annum.

"One of the more heartening results emerging from the 2002 survey is that fewer IT workers are considering leaving SA, indicating that - for now at least - the brain drain has slowed," states Jovanovic. Only 16% of respondents said they are "very likely" to leave, against a more alarming 26% last year. Also, the local crime rate no longer tops the list of reasons for wanting to emigrate and respondents now say monetary gain is the main driver for leaving.

She adds that getting employment equity right is among the biggest challenges in the future. "IT employers in SA are not looking to make token appointments, they need the right skills for the right jobs."

Koulla Koshiaris, research associate at Executive Placements at Deloitte & Touche Human Capital Corporation, agrees: "The challenges are pretty much the same as everyone faces, but for the black executive, the tokenism aspect is gone. You have to prove yourself. You have to have the track record and the skills to be able to deliver. Performance is the key requirement rather than 'find me a black face` for companies at the moment. This makes it difficult for black executives because they get tested and evaluated stringently, which removes any chance of tokenism."

[VIDEO]The complete results of the survey will be available online on ITWeb and tomorrow, and will be available in ITWeb`s Brainstorm in print form in April.

See also