Get a Brand-new Job

This year's salary survey shows at least one short-term benefit to making a move: Respondents who reported taking on a new job in the past year had an average total compensation change of 10.1%, compared with an average change of 3.5% for all respondents.

What's more, the last hired isn't necessarily the first fired during cutbacks anymore, says David Van De Voort, an IT workforce specialist at Mercer.

"Over the last five to 10 years, I've dealt with a lot of organizations that have had to cut back," he says. "For someone recently hired from the outside as a specialist earning $90,000 to $150,000, the likelihood of getting hit by a [layoff] is less than for someone who has been on the payroll for a long time." That's usually because the newer hires' skills have been validated more recently than those of longtime employees.

But before jumping ship, "any professional needs to smarten up about the scenarios that are going on in terms of how their business is being affected by the economic issues," says Gartner analyst Diane Morello. If the economy is healthy and consumers are spending money, "then jumping from one company to the next and assuming you're going to get something better might be applicable." But in an uncertain economy, she says, "the closer your industry is to the center of this, the less you can assume that jumping ship is going to be effective." (Read more about what the financial crisis could mean for IT pros.)

Next: 10. Pack your bags for a geographic hot spot.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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