Enterprise Systems 2008 Salary Survey, Part 3: Salaries by Region, Industry, Company Size

In the third of our four-part report, we look at compensation by company size, industry, and region and find financial services and employees in the Northeast dominate IT salaries

Financial services may have had a brutal year -- battered by the subprime mortgage mess and related credit crunch -- but that didn’t stop firms in this sector from paying premium dollars to retain their IT managers. In some cases, financial services firms paid between 25 to 75 percent more for top IT talent than the norm. In addition, IT managers and professionals in the northeastern part of the United States appear to enjoying the highest pay rates – cost-of-living expenses aside.

These are some of the findings of the latest Enterprise Systems salary survey, which covered close to 700 companies across the nation. As shown in the first two sections of this report, any turmoil in the economy has not had a significant impact on IT pay rates, as most IT management and professional positions saw modest increases in their annual base salaries. Previous surveys -- especially those earlier in the decade in the aftermath of the dot-com bust -- have shown a mixed picture, with flattened or even reduced salary levels.

In the current survey, 15 of 17 IT positions showed modest to substantial increases (an 18th position, security administrator, is new in this year's survey). Raises for management positions averaged between two percent and eight percent, while raises for IT staff positions (developers and administrators) ranged between one and eight percent.

Our survey found that top IT executives and directors make in the range of $107,000 to $149,000 a year, along with bonuses up to $28,500. IT functional and department managers earn approximately $74,000 to $103,000 a year, with average bonuses ranging between nearly $5,000 and $8,500. Line IT positions (analysts, programmers, administrators) average between $65,000 to more than $80,000 a year, with bonuses in the range of $2,200 to $4,600.

In this special report, the third of a four-part series, we explore IT salaries from geographic, industry-specific, and company-size perspectives. The survey divides the respondents into four regions across the country, as shown in Table 1. Table 2 explores salaries across some selected major metropolitan areas. Table 3 explores salary differentials based on industry groups, and Table 4 looks at the impact of company size on IT salaries.


In this year’s survey, the northeastern United States dominated across most of the job categories. While the West led in a number of categories in last year’s survey, the Northeast clearly took the leadership role across most of the categories. Northeast-based companies paid the highest average annual salaries for 12 of the 18 positions in the survey. (One position, security administrator, was tied with the West.) Companies in the West topped salary ranges in three job categories, while companies in the South paid the highest levels for two job categories.

Overall, the Northeast was the best place for a top IT executive in terms of base salary levels. CIOs and vice presidents in northeastern states -- those states in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions (from Maine down to Maryland and Washington, D.C.) -- had annual salaries averaging more than $190,100, or more than 28 percent above the national average. CIOs and VPs in the Midwest followed with an average of $152,300.

The higher-than-average IT management salaries seen in the Northeast may be a reflection of salaries paid within the New York metro area, which includes the city, as well as northern New Jersey, Long Island, and Connecticut. This region also has a high concentration of financial services firms, which have higher salary levels in this survey.

Drilling down into some major metro areas, the survey found that New York ranked as the top place to go for higher rates of IT compensation. Top IT executives in the New York area (CIOs, vice presidents, and directors) made almost 50 percent above the national average. In the largest metro area in the West, the Los Angeles basin, top IT executives made 14 percent more than the average. Middle management also fared better in the Big Apple, but not as glaringly. IT leaders such as data center and application development managers in New York made about nine percent above the national average. Ironically, although New York-based IT managers are doing well, IT staff developers and analysts are drawing salaries below the national average. For developers, the Los Angeles area offers better above-average rates.

Companies based in the Northeast pay the highest rates for five of the seven middle management positions covered in the survey. Northeastern information systems managers, for example, average about $102,000, or about 13 percent above the national average. For enterprise architects in the Northeast, the differential is closer to 15 percent.

The Northeast dominates the list for management salaries, and, accordingly, most of the top salaries for IT staff positions are also found in this region of the country. Leading the categories are systems programmers working in the Northeast, who averaged about $90,000 a year -- or 12 percent above the national average of $80,000. Systems analysts in the Northeast make about $82,000 a year, or seven percent above the average. Three positions made top dollar in the West, including network administrators, system administrators (tied with the Midwest), and security administrators (tied with the Northeast).


Salaries by Region
(In Thousands)
Title Northeast South Midwest West
CIO/VP $191.5 $115.8 $152.3 $124.0
IS Dir $121.3 $93.9 $100.6 $104.0
IS Mgr $101.8 $85.6 $82.6 $88.7
AD Mgr $103.5 $84.9 $92.8 $93.8
DC Mgr $101.8 $72.2 $81.6 $82.3
Net Mgr $85.5 $76.7 $80.8 $88.3
Help Desk Mgr $79.1 $74.8 $74.0 $70.5
Internet Mgr $93.4 $65.9 $69.7 $88.8
Enterprise Architect $118.5 $90.8 $112.0 $105.5
Sys Analyst $81.6 $70.6 $74.6 $78.5
P/A $81.5 $67.8 $69.1 $68.6
Apps Prog $77.6 $51.5 $60.6 $67.3
Sys Prog $89.7 $79.6 $76.5 $77.5
Net Admin $66.1 $65.7 $61.3 $68.4
Sys Admin $65.5 $65.6 $67.8 $68.6
DB Admin $78.2 $71.3 $93.0 $80.0
Security Admin $79.2 $73.9 $69.1 $79.4
Storage Admin $77.7 $63.9 $68.9 $73.0


Salaries by Region
(In Thousands)
Title* Upper Mgt Middle Mgt Developer Admin
New York/NY/NJ/CT $188.6 $100.7 $64.2 $77.2
Los Angeles/So. CA $146.2 $92.0 $77.1 $85.0
Washington DC/MD/VA $124.1 $85.1 $89.0 $74.5
Total USA $127.9 $92.8 $72.7 $71.2
* Where statistically significant samples are available
Due to smaller sample sizes, job titles are aggregated
into general categories


As noted above, the recent troubles of the financial services industry haven’t stopped these firms from paying top dollar for their IT workforces. In fact, the survey finds financial services firms paid the most for 12 of 16 categories covered in this survey (two categories had insufficient data for industry breakouts). The closest contender was manufacturing, which topped salaries across three job categories.

As shown in Table 3, financial services is the most lucrative sector for the top IT executive jobs. Financial services CIOs and VPs led the salary averages for their positions, earning more than $260,000 a year, or almost 75 percent above the overall average. CIOs with IT/tech firms follow at $170,800, or 14 percent above average. Financial services IS directors also led the pack, where the average is more than $133,000, almost 25 percent above the average. This is followed by IT director positions in IT/tech industries, which average $118,000.

The financial services sector is also the place to be for IT middle management positions. IS managers, application development managers, network managers, help desk managers, and Internet managers all fared better within the financial services segment of our survey sample. An information systems manager in a financial services organization, for example, makes more than $112,000 in our survey -- or 25 percent above the overall average of $90,000.

The only exception to this trend was enterprise architects, who were paid best among service-sector companies outside of financial services.

For IT line staff professionals, manufacturers competed with financial services firms to pay the highest rates. In this survey, applications programmers and database administrators within the manufacturing sector had the highest rates of the industry categories covered. Rates for programmer/analysts were about equal between manufacturing and financial services companies. The other three industry categories in this survey did not match the rates paid by manufacturers or financial services firms.

Table 3 shows the average salary ranges found in this survey, broken out by seven major industry groups.


Salaries by Industry
(In Thousands)
Title IT/Tech Manufacturing Government/
CIO/VP $170.8 $136.5 $122.4 $264.5 $138.7
IS Dir $118.2 $102.2 $100.5 $133.3 $93.8
IS Mgr $96.7 $77.8 $86.8 $112.4 $80.0
AD Mgr $94.1 $77.8 $86.9 $108.5 $98.7
DC Mgr $85.0 $80.2 $83.7 $104.7 $78.4
Net Mgr $76.0 $70.2 $82.4 $103.8 $76.5
Help Desk Mgr $79.0 $64.2 $76.5 $86.8 $69.8
Internet Mgr * * $71.2 $90.4 *
Enterprise Architect $106.1 * $92.8 $110.2 $113.4
Sys Analyst $73.5 $65.2 $63.9 $86.0 $84.7
P/A $77.8 $70.1 $65.0 $78.7 $69.7
Apps Prog $73.7 $71.0 $60.2 $64.5 $63.9
Sys Prog $83.2 $70.3 $71.7 $91.6 $83.8
Net Admin $64.3 $60.7 $64.7 $74.2 $69.7
Sys Admin $68.9 $61.2 $63.4 $77.2 $64.2
DB Admin $94.0 $69.6 $76.4 $79.6 $87.3
Security Admin * * $73.5 $85.3 *
Storage Admin * * $63.9 $83.9 *
* Insufficient data for this position
** "Services" include business/professional services, health, and retail


As found in previous surveys, there continues to be an extremely pronounced gap between the largest and smallest firms in the survey for the management positions covered. While this gap narrows for IT staff positions, the gap still remains. For the most part, the smallest companies pay in the $50,000 to $60,000 range for IT staff professionals, while the largest corporations pay between $70,000 and $80,000.

The largest corporations in the survey (with more than 50,000 employees) pay up to twice as much as their smallest counterparts (1 to 50 employees) for top executive talent. At the CIO level, top IT executives at the largest organizations make almost $240,000 a year in base salaries, or $132,000 more than their small-business counterparts.

The gap between small and large organization pay narrows at the middle-management level. For example, application developers at large organizations average about $106,000 in base salaries, only about 14 percent more than their counterparts in very small firms. For IT staff professionals, the gap is similar. Systems analysts at large firms, for example, make about 14 percent more than those in smaller organizations ($83,000 versus $73,000).

Database administrators -- who saw the highest raises over the past year -- appear to be a hot commodity regardless of size of employer. In fact, the survey finds that DBAs in smaller organizations (51 to 500 employees) make slightly more on average ($82,400) than those in the largest organizations ($80,000). This suggests that even small enterprises need to pay premiums to hire or retain this skill. Salary ranges for system programmers are also fairly narrow between small and large organizations.

Table 4 shows the salary breakouts by company size, starting with very small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, all the way up to large organizations with more than 50,000 employees.


Salaries by Number of Employees
(In Thousands)
Title 1-50 51-500 501-1000 1001-5000 5001 -
10,001 -
CIO/VP $108.4 $114.9 $105.2 $181.5 $151.0 $177.2 $239.6
IS Dir $95.2 $89.2 $97.55 $108.3 $119.8 $119.3 $135.8
IS Mgr $76.8 $83.7 $76.8 $84.4 $95.64 $95.9/td> $112.1
AD Mgr $92.7 $91.8 $84.0 $88.6 $86.1 $102.0 $105.6
DC Mgr $51.7 $76.5 $68.0 $82.9 $84.8 $92.5 $108.8
Net Mgr $68.3 $73.2 $76.6 $83.3 $83.3 $90.8 $97.8
Help Desk Mgr $46.7 $66.1 $55.3 $73.4 $84.4 $85.5 $80.8
Internet Mgr $44.3 $69.7 * $80.4 * $99.0 $91.2
Enterprise Architect $94.0 $75.2 * $93.6 $99.6 $103.2 $121.1
Sys Analyst $73.3 $68.0 $86.2 $74.8 $73.2 $74.8 $83.4
P/A $63.8 $67.3 $64.2 $72.4 $68.8 $80.1 $78.6
Apps Prog $56.5 $62.7 $58.0 $66.2 $62.2 $65.7 $77.6
Sys Prog * $79.5 * $70.0 $77.2 $83.8 $84.3
Net Admin $58.7 $60.9 $75.7 $65.4 $68.3 $72.3 $70.5
Sys Admin $57.9 $59.0 $64.9 $64.0 $61.5 $72.9 $76.4
DB Admin * $82.4 $80.5 $86.8 $78.9 $79.2 $80.0
Security Admin * $67.8 * $74.8 $66.5 $80.1 $85.5
Storage Admin * $62.9 $66.3 $70.7 * $74.6 $77.9
* Insufficient data for this position


Next week we'll examine job satisfaction, job longevity, and hours worked, among other variables.

Must Read Articles