US IT salary increases modest; gender gap widens

Annual survey shows managers saw best salary increases in 2007

Salaries for IT pros only edged up in 2007 from 2006, and the gender gap widened to the point where women in IT are now making 12% less on average than male counterparts, according to the Dice.com annual technology salary report released Tuesday.

IT professionals on average earned just 1.7% more in 2007 than in 2006, with full-timers averaging about US$72,000 (AU$81,104). Salaries rose 5.2% in 2006 from 2005.

2007 increases in specific job categories fared better, particularly for those in management positions. MIS managers saw a 7.8% increase in salary, bringing their average pay to about US$89,000 in 2007. Project managers experienced an increase of about 5% -- which landed workers in those positions in the US$100,000 and above club. Contractors experienced gains of 3.7%, which resulted in about US$93,000 in salary.

Overall, more than half of the 19,000 tech professionals surveyed said they were satisfied with their salaries in a market that boasted just a 2.1% unemployment rate.

"Technology workers remain among the highest paid employees, especially those with management experience and hard-to-find skills," says Scot Melland, CEO of Dice Holdings, the parent company of Dice.com, a career site for technology and engineering professionals.

But the survey did reveal that gender continues to play a role in salary levels. Women in high-tech positions took home about 2.4% less than their male counterparts last year. Women in 2007 made about US$67,500, while men earned more than US$76,500. Dice.com reports that the gender gap is most severe for women IT pros with more experience.

"Lower skilled positions such as technical support and systems administrators had a smaller gender gap. Women with 1 to 5 years of experience saw the smallest gender gap (approximately 2.3%) while women with more than 15 years of experience had the largest gap (11.3%); hence, women age 40-49 also saw the largest gender gap (16.4%)," the report reads.

On a positive note, Dice.com reports the gender gap in pay is smaller among female consultants at about 8.9%. And project management positions, which now pay six figures on average, pay women more equitably when compared to men.

"There is some good news for female IT professionals -- project managers now make US$100,436, which marks the first time that females in this position have averaged more than US$100,000. This position also compares relatively favorably to male counterparts, who earn US$101,569," Dice.com reports.

Geographic location, not surprisingly, also plays a big role in salary levels, according to the survey. For instance, locations in Silicon Valley, Boston and Baltimore/Washington, D.C. saw higher salary increases in 2007 than others. Technology professionals in Silicon Valley earn the highest salaries, according to Dice.com's survey, bringing in US$93,876 on average -- which represents a 3.95% increase over pay in 2006. Boston ranks as the second highest pay area, with IT pros making about US$83,465 in 2007, a 3.93% increase over the previous year. Baltimore/D.C.-area high tech workers made US$81,750 on average, followed by Los Angeles professionals who earned just more than US$81,000, and New York rounded out the top five locations with IT pros taking home about US$80,770 on average in 2007.

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