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Survey: IT Pros Get Meager Raises

It's long been true that there isn't one monolithic IT job market, but this recession is causing more fragmentation than usual, our annual U.S. IT Salary Survey shows. Skills have always separated the highest paid from the lowest. This year, salaries and raises reveal sharper shifts based on the industries and regions in which IT pros work.

Around Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York, the typical IT staffer didn't get any raise, while in Washington the median increase was a solid 2.9%. In investment banking, the typical IT manager in our survey makes $12,000 less this year, as bonuses shrink. In biotech, IT pay is growing.

Such disparities are among the most dramatic findings of our survey, which is based on responses from 12,410 IT professionals in the United States. Across the country, IT staffers report a median increase in total compensation--salary and cash bonuses--of just 0.7%, with IT managers receiving a 1.6% increase. Last year, raises were almost 3% and 4%, respectively. Median compensation reported by IT staffers is $80,000; for IT managers, it's $105,000.

IT pros are less secure about their jobs--understandably, with IT unemployment at its highest level since 2004. Thirteen percent of IT managers characterize their jobs as "insecure," compared with only 8% last year. Only 37% consider their positions to be very secure, compared with more than half last year.

Those struggling to find work can relate to Mike Beller, who was CIO at clothing retailer Steve & Barry's until the once fast-growing chain went out of business in January, eliminating about 130 IT jobs. Beller wants to stay around New York City for family reasons, and he was six interviews into landing a job--a new position that an apparel company was creating to combine the CIO and COO roles. Then the company abruptly halted all hiring, including the new executive role. "The company froze with indecision, not knowing what's happening in the market and where the economy is going," Beller says.

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