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Survey: IT workers expect raises in 2004

14% believe their salaries will increase at least 8%; only 12% expect no rise

By Grant Gross, IDG News Service
December 24, 2003 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - More than four out of 10 U.S. IT workers received no raises during 2003, but 60% expect to receive a raise of at least 3% in 2004, according to a survey released last week by skills assessment firm Brainbench Inc.
[Computerworld's annual survey of nearly 15,000 IT professionals showed an average salary increase of about 6.7%, with 29% saying their base salary hadn't changed (see charts).]
Only 12% of IT workers surveyed by Brainbench expect no raise in 2004, while about 14% expect raises of 8% or more, according to the e-mail survey of more than 2,100 registered members of Brainbench in the U.S. Those numbers show a more optimistic IT workforce following a year that was even worse than 2002 for IT salaries, said Mike Russiello, president and CEO of Brainbench, in Chantilly, Va.
"The look toward the future part of the survey was surprisingly optimistic," Russiello said. "After three years of declining raises, you could take one view ... that it's going to get better."
IT hiring managers may want to pay attention to those salary expectations in 2004, Russiello said. "As a manager, I look at that, and think, So these guys have expectations that had better be met or we could lose some talent," he added. "These folks must be seeing something to make them optimistic."
IT workers are choosing to think positively about salaries, although they're getting at best a mixed message about demand for IT workers in the U.S., he added. While there are signs of the U.S. economy improving and predictions of increased IT spending in 2004, the media continues to report a growing trend among IT companies to outsource IT jobs or move them overseas, he noted.
"I hear from the IT guys in our group that the job market has heated up for them," Russiello added. "If they want to leave and find work elsewhere, it's there for them. They don't have to hunker down anymore; that seems to be the attitude."

See the full report on Computerworld's 2003 IT salary survey of nearly 15,000 IT professionals..

In 2003, 43% of IT workers received no raises, while another 23% received raises of 1% to 3%, according to the survey. Just 9% received raises of more than 8%. In 2002, 36% of those responding to the Brainbench survey received no raises, 26% received raises of 1% to 3%, and another 28% received raises of 3% to 8%.
Elsewhere in the survey, 27% of respondents indicated that they received an IT certification in the past year. Only 6% said the main motivation for the certification was to receive a higher salary, while 49% said their motivation was to increase their skills. Another 21% said their motivation was to move to a new job or a new job focus, and 11% said the certification was necessary because they perceived a lack of their own skills.
Brainbench didn't ask its 2002 respondents why they received certifications, but 65% of those receiving certifications in the 2002 survey received raises of 5% or more, according to the 2002 survey. About 28% of respondents in 2002 received certifications.
Money appears to be less of a motivating factor for certifications than in the past, with certifications becoming less attractive to hiring managers since the late '90s, Russiello said. IT hiring managers during the past couple of years have tended to look for experience, instead of only certifications, he said.
A lessened focus on earning certifications as a way to get salary increases may indicate the maturing of the IT workforce, he added.
"It almost makes you think the IT workforce has morphed a little bit and is no longer full of new entrants who are only there because they heard IT was the place to make a lot of money," Russiello said. "It's more people who genuinely enjoy and have dedicated themselves to being a professional in this space."
Brainbench's customers are companies looking to improve the skills of their IT staffs, either by testing the skills of current staff or testing the skills of IT job applicants, and Russiello said he's optimistic about the coming year. "We're hopeful for '04," Russiello said. "I'd definitely say we've seen an uptick in [customer] activity in the last three months."

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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