2009 Salary Survey methodology

How we compiled Computerworld's annual survey of IT compensation, satisfaction and hiring trends

Computerworld's 23rd Annual Salary Survey was administered via the Internet. Computerworld print subscribers and visitors to Computerworld.com responded to the survey and were included in the results.

Starting on May 27, 2009, the following methods were used to invite participants to take the survey:

• An invitation was posted on the home page of Computerworld.com.

• Each visitor to Computerworld.com was presented with a pop-up box inviting participation in the survey (with a frequency cap of once per user). Visitors were given the option of bypassing the survey to get to their intended destinations.

• Links to the survey were included in various Computerworld e-mail newsletters.

Computerworld subscribers employed in IT job functions were sent an e-mail message from salarysurvey@computerworld.com inviting them to participate in the survey. For tracking purposes, each participant received a unique address to gain access to the questionnaire. Subscribers could either click on the address to gain access to the questionnaire or enter the address into a Web browser. A survey couldn't be submitted more than once from each unique address.

Cookies were used to ensure that there was no duplication of responses between or within the various sample groups. In addition, any duplicate responses from the same e-mail addresses were removed.

The survey ended July 20, 2009. A total of 6,365 people responded to the survey. Of those respondents, 5,861 were employed full or part time and were eligible to complete the entire survey.

At the 95% confidence level, the margin of error for this sample size is 1.3 percentage points. Compensation figures for 2008 were calculated based on the percentage change reported by the respondents.


Eighty-four percent of respondents were men, 91% were employed full time, and 46% said a bachelor's degree was their highest level of education. Respondents had an average of 17 years in IT, and their average age was 45. Forty-nine percent indicated that they had some level of computer certification.

The organizations they work for employ an average of 9,437 total employees and an average of 1,007 IT staffers. The average 2009 revenue of their employers is $2.7 billion. Thirty-eight percent work for public companies, while 37% work for private companies, 11% work in government, 8% at nonprofits and 9% in education.

Eighty-five percent of our respondents reported that they held the same job last year. Forty-two percent indicated that they were in management, and 58% said they held staff or technical positions. The best-represented industry in the sample was IT services, with 14% of respondents saying they worked in that field. Nineteen percent reported living in the North Central region of the country, and another 18% reported living in the South Atlantic region, making those geographic areas the best represented. Three percent said they were employed as contractors or consultants.

Be part of the 2010 results! Join your peers and take part in the 2010 Salary Survey.


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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