IT salary expectations for 2021: How much should UK IT pros expect?

Salaries for IT jobs in the UK are set to change, whether you are a CIO, network engineer or security architect, according to data from recruitment firm Robert Half. But many workers may see no increases at all.

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2020 was a tough year for UK-based businesses and 2021 is expected to be just as challenging. While Brexit negotiations ended just before Christmas with a deal, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and continuing lockdowns have left 86% of UK businesses fear losing top talent, with a third of organisations worrying that necessary salary reductions will lead to an employee exodus.

According to recruitment specialist Robert Half's 2021 Salary Guide, while the majority of projects and programmes have been put on hold, critical ones such as cloud migration are continuing to see a surge in activity.

The report also notes that businesses are so keen to hire for IT infrastructure roles that 32% of organisations surveyed have advertised fully remote roles in the last 12 months to try and secure the necessary talent.

However, the bad news is that most of the tech roles outlined in the salary guide are likely to see no pay increase in 2021; that said, for most roles salaries are predicted to  remain stable.

With salaries stagnating, many CIOs have started focusing on the benefits packages offered to employees, with flexible work hours and home office equipment allowances amongst the most popular offerings.

As with the 2020 salary guide, the 2021 instalment continues to list the UK average salary ranges according to candidate percentiles. In this breakdown of the report, the lowest figure is the 50th percentile, representing an 'average' candidate, while the highest is the 95th percentile, which represents elite candidates.

So which roles will see the biggest change? 

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Leadership roles

Chief Information Officer (CIO):

2020: £141,000 (50th percentile) - £250,000 (95th percentile) / 2021: £141,000 - £250,000

Chief Technology Officer (CTO):

2020: £120,000 - £170,000 / 2021: £120,000 - £170,000

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO):

2020: £141,000 – £200,000 / 2021: £141,000 – £160,000

IT Director:

2020: £115,000 - £150,000 / 2021: £115,000 - £150,000

Head of IT:

2020: £75,500 - £95,000 / 2021: £75,500 - £95,000

Chief Architect:

2020: £100,000 - £140,000 / 2021: £100,000 - £140,000

Architecture

Enterprise architect:

2020: £122,000 (50th percentile) - £140,000 (95th percentile) / 2021: £122,000 - £140,000

Infrastructure architect:

2020: £70,000 - £82,000 / 2021: £70,000 - £82,000

Data architect:

2020: £71,750 - £95,750 / 2021: £71,750 - £95,750

Solution architect:

2020: £70,000 - £85,000 / 2021: £70,000 - £85,000

IT, systems, and digital transformation

Programme manager:

2020: £72,500 (50th percentile) - £80,000 (95th percentile) / 2021: £81,000 - £115,000

Project manager:

2020: £58,000 - £85,000 / 2021: £54,200 - £65,000

Senior business analyst:

2020: £57,000 - £80,000 / £57,000 - £80,000

Business analyst:

2020: £40,000 - £56,000 / 2021: £40,000 - £56,000

Business intelligence and data analytics

Data scientist:

2020: £70,000 (50th percentile) - £85,000 (95th percentile) / 2021: £70,000 - £85,000

Data analyst:

2020: £35,000 - £45,000 / £28,000 - £35,000

Database administrator:

2020: £36,500 - £48,000 / 2021: £36,500 - £48,000

Business intelligence analyst:

2020: £42,000 - £50,000 / 2021: £42,000 - £50,000

Cloud, infrastructure, and engineering

Infrastructure manager:

2020: £55,000 (50th percentile) - £70,000 (95th percentile) / 2021: £55,000 - £76,000

Network manager:

2020: £55,000 - £70,000 / 2021: £55,000 - £70,000

Network engineer:

2020: £50,000 - £65,000 / 2021: £50,000 - £65,000

IT support manager:

2020: £48,000 - £60,000 / 2021: £42,000 - £50,000

Network administrator:

2020: £39,000 - £45,000 / 2021: £39,000 - £45,000

Help desk manager:

2020: £40,000 - £50,000 / 2021: £40,000 - £50,000

Help desk support:

2020: £23,000 - £30,000 / 2021: £22,750 - £28,600

Compliance, audit, risk, and security

Information security manager:

2020: £68,000 (50th percentile) - £85,000 (95th percentile) / 2021: £68,000 - £85,000

Security network engineer:

2020: £51,750 - £68,500 / 2021: £51,750 - £68,500

Security systems administrator:

2020: £44,000 - £60,000 / 2021: £44,000 - £60,000

Security architect:

2020: £63,750 - £95,750 / 2021: £63,750 - £95,750

Software development, testing, and DevOps

Developer lead:

2020: £75,250 (50th percentile) - £105,250 (95th percentile) / 2021: £75,250 - £96,000

Development manager:

2020: £64,500 - £100,000 / 2021: £64,500 - £100,00

Developer:

2020: £39,500 - £55,000 / 2021: £42,000 - £57,000

Devops Engineer:

2020: £60,500 - £82,000 / 2021: £60,500 - £75,000

Devops Manager:

2020: £65,000 - £81,500 / 2021: £65,000 - £80,000

Test manager:

2020: £42,250 - £67,750 / 2021: £42,250 - £67,750

Test analyst:

2020: £35,000 - £57,500 / 2021: £35,000 - £48,500

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