2005 Salary Survey, Part 3: The West Rebounds

There are bright spots in our salary survey, particularly in the western U.S.

The first half of the decade has been tough times all around for IT professionals, and the latest Enterprise Systems salary survey identifies a growing number of bright spots -- as well as continuing challenges -- in compensation. The survey also finds that the western United States, which felt the pain of IT layoffs and cutbacks perhaps more acutely than other regions in the first half of the decade, is now rebounding strongly and leading the way in salaries.

These are the findings of a recent salary survey of 1,170 enterprise IT sites conducted by Enterprise Systems. The latest salary survey tracked salary figures for IT managers and professionals across a broad spectrum of organizations. Our survey covered eight key IT management and seven key staff positions. All figures are reported in U.S. dollars.

In this special report, the third of a four-part series, we drill down into IT salaries from both a geographic and industry-specific perspective. The survey divides the respondents into four regions across the country, as shown in Table 1. Table 2 drills down further to explore salaries across 11 major metro areas. Table 3 explores salary differentials based on industry groups, and Table 4 looks at the impact of companies size on IT salaries.


Companies in the northeastern United States -- defined as the region that incorporates New England and the Mid-Atlantic states (NY, NJ, PA, MD, DC) down to Washington, D.C. -- pay the highest rates for five of the 15 positions covered in this survey. In recent Enterprise Systems surveys, the Northeast has been competing with the West for salary supremacy. Rising salaries in the West have surpassed those in Northeast-based locations.

Compensation for top-level executives -- CIOs or vice presidents of IT -- surpassed the overall average in salaries nationwide, at $137,400 in annual base salary (versus $134,600 overall). Executives at the next level down -- classified as directors of IT for purposes of this survey -- also fared better than the average. A typical IT director in the Northeast made close to $104,000, compared to $99,000 overall. Breakdowns of regional salary rates are shown in Table 1.

Administrators for northeastern organizations are being paid slightly higher rates than their counterparts in other part of the country, our survey also finds. For example, network administrators in the Northeast had the highest wages in the nation ($63,800, while the national average is $59,300). Likewise, system admins are making an average of $63,000, compared to $60,500 nationwide. DBAs in the Northeast make about $74,400, compared to an average of $70,500 across the U.S.

While IT managers and administrators are receiving higher-than-average salaries in the Northeast, IT staff members’ pay was in line with the rest of the country. For example, programmer/analysts in the northeastern region made about $66,600 -- not much higher than the national average of $65,200. Application programmers in the region made $56,800, almost the same as the national average of $56,500.

IT salaries in the Washington, DC metropolitan area -- considered a part of the Northeast for purposes of this survey -- drive the highest salaries in the region. Top managers (including both C-level and second-tier directors) average about $130,000 in this metro area, which includes Washington, D.C., northern Virginia, and southern/central Maryland. Interestingly, IT executive salaries also were also just as high up the I-95 corridor, in the Philadelphia and southern New Jersey metro area. Selected metro area breakouts are shown in Table 2.

Going a little further north, salaries in the New York metropolitan area, which includes New York City, Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley, southern CT, and northern NJ, have leveled off.


For the most part, IT salaries in the South/Southeast region of the country -- defined in this survey as the region extending from Virginia to Texas, and including Kentucky, Arkansas, and Oklahoma -- were just below the overall national average.

Management-level salaries in southern organizations fall a number of percentage points lower than the national average, but staff and administrator positions track closely to the average.

Top IT executives who work in the southern states -- CIOs and vice presidents -- average $125,100, or about seven percent below the nationwide average of $134,600. Regional averages are shown in Table 1. For IT directors directly underneath them, the going rate is $96,700, or about two percent below the average. At the middle management level, salaries in the South typically track about $3,000 lower than their counterparts nationwide. For example, IT managers in southern locations average about $80,800, compared to $83,600 across the country. For application development managers, the gap is $3000 ($83,500 compared to $86,500 nationwide).

For administrators, salaries track closely to the national average. For example, network administrators in the South make a base salary of $59,000, just a hair below $59,300 nationwide. Likewise, southern systems administrators make close to $59,000, compared to $60,500 nationally. Southern DBAs earn $68,000 (versus $70,500 nationwide).

Programmers and developers in the South also are seeing compensation close to the national average. Systems analysts in southern-based organizations, for example, make $66,600, just below the national average of $67,900. P/As’ compensation runs at $63,000 in the South, compared to $65,200 nationwide. Application programmers in the South lag a bit, at $53,800, compared to $56,500 nationwide. System programmers in the region are right on the mark nationally -- at just over $67,000. The metro area that is now a hot spot for IT salaries is Atlanta. IT executives (including both C-level and second-tier directors) in the Atlanta region are averaging $138,500 in base compensation, almost 20 percent higher than $115,500 for executive-level positions nationwide. Middle managers in Atlanta and its environments also do well, averaging $85,700 -- or more than eight percent higher than $79,000 for IT middle managers nationwide. The base income of developers and administrators in the Atlanta region was in line with national averages. For metro-area breakouts, see Table 2.


Regional averages for Midwest IT salaries are shown in Table 1. Overall, salaries in the nation’s heartland -- defined in this survey as the region that extends from Ohio and the Great Lakes in the East to the Great Plains states in the west -- lag those of other regions. The lower cost of living accounts for much of this gap.

The cost-of-living adjustment was not felt in the C-level suite, however. CIOs and vice presidents of companies based in the Midwest make an average base salary of $132,200, which is in line with the national average ($134,600), and higher than C-level executive salaries in the South and West. Drop down a level to IT director positions, and regional salary differentials begin to emerge -- $92,300, versus $99,000 nationwide.

Midwestern IT middle managers typically make $3,000 to $10,000 less than their counterparts in other parts of the country as well. IT managers make $79,000 in the Midwest, compared to $83,600 nationally. For network managers in Midwestern companies, the gap is greatest -- $65,100, versus $75,800 across the country.

IT salaries across the Chicago region -- home to many Fortune 500 companies, as well as financial services and industrial powerhouses -- are more in line with national averages than the Midwest in general. Metro-area breakouts are shown in Table 2.


The West -- which covers the states from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, and is heavily weighted by California-based companies -- presents the strongest salary picture in this year’s salary survey. Companies in the region reports the highest salary levels for 10 of the 15 positions covered in the survey. Regional averages are shown in Table 1.

While C-level base salaries lagged the rest of the nation (averaging $128,900 versus $134,600 nationally), other IT jobs are paying well as of late. For example, directors of IT operations in the western states make an average of $108,200, or nine percent above the national average of $99,000. Moving down a level, an IT manager in the West averages $92,900 in base salary, compared to $83,600 nationally. Application development managers average $97,200 in the West, compared to $87,800 nationwide.

Administrators also are doing well in the western part of the country. For example, the West is a good place to practice your DBA skills. DBAs are making $78,800, or 12 percent above the national average of $70,500. For systems admins, the difference is $66,600 versus $60,500 nationally.

Western developers are also seeing bigger paychecks than their national counterparts. For example, an application programmer averages $64,600 in the West, versus $56,500 nationwide.

As was the case last year, the survey finds that California’s Bay Area -- bounded by San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland-- continues to pay the highest salaries found in any metro region of the nation. Upper managers bring home a base salary of $165,000 -- well above the total U.S. average of $115,000 for all top management jobs. Middle managers are making an aggregated average of $120,000, well above the overall aggregated average of $79,000. Administrators make more than $87,000 a year, and developers/analysts bring in $81,000. Both categories are about $20,000 above the national average. Table 2 shows breakouts of various metro areas.


As has been the case in previous Enterprise Systems salary surveys, IT managers in the software/high-tech sector bring in the highest annual base salaries in the survey. However, there is no clear industry leader for staff and administrator positions. Table 3 provides breakouts of salaries by major industry groups.

CIOs and vice presidents of IT, however, shouldn’t look to high-tech and IT companies for the best pay averages -- instead, utilities/transportation and financial services CIOs own this space. The highest average for any position in this survey was for CIOs/vice presidents leading IT organizations within the utility/transportation sector, averaging $207,400 in base salary. At a distant second were CIOs for financial services firms, who are making close to $154,000 a year. The high-tech and IT CIOs follow third with $148,000.

The software/high-tech sector competes with financial services/insurance for the highest salaries across most of the middle-management positions surveyed, while utilities drop closer to the industry averages, the survey finds. High-tech companies pay about 25% more for IT directors, and almost 30% more for IT managers.

The leading salaries for IT staff positions varies by sector. Systems analysts and systems administrators make out best within the services sector, but systems programmers are paid best within retail organizations. Programmer/analysts are best paid within health care organizations, but application programmers and network administrators do well within the high-tech sector. Utility/transportation organizations are paying the most for DBAs, but salary levels are almost as high within the high-tech sector.


Larger companies pay better for many IT positions than smaller ones, but significant growth in salary does not appear until company size exceeds 50,000 employees. For example, CIO and vice presidential-level salaries grow steadily from about $101,000 a year in the smallest organizations surveyed (1-50 employees), to about $142,000 in companies with at least 1,000 employees. This rate for top IT executives plateaus up to organizations with 10,000 employees. At this point, the average for CIOs jumps to $263,00 a year in base salary. Thus, the gap in CIO pay between the largest and smallest companies in the survey is about 160%. Table 4 provides average salary figures sorted by company sizes.

For top IT directors in the organization, a similar, albeit less dramatic, pattern emerges. IT directors in small shops make about $78,800, a Table that gradually grows to $126,000 in large organizations -- a 60% differential across the company size scale.

Across the middle management positions, the smallest firms in the survey pay between $53,600 and $72,200. This range increases to $82,300 to $110,500 within organizations of 50,000 or more employees.

Small firms, however, are paying more competitively for IT staff and administrator positions. As is the case with management income, salaries only jump significantly within global organizations. A system analyst, for instance, is paid an average of $66,500 within the smallest firms with fewer than 50 employees. His or her counterpart in a firm with 10,00 to 50,000 employees makes $69,900, or five percent more. The same job performed within a companies with greater than 50,000 employees, however, makes an average of $74,700, or 12% more. This pattern repeats across development and administrator positions.


Salaries by Region
(In Thousands)
Title Northeast Southeast Midwest West
CIO/VP $137.4 $125.1 $132.2 $128.9
IS Dir $103.9 $96.7 $92.3 $108.2
IS Mgr $84.6 $80.8 $79.0 $92.9
AD Mgr $87.8 $83.5 $83.8 $97.2
DC Mgr $82.2 $76.1 $74.0 $86.9
Net Mgr $82.7 $76.2 $65.1 $81.2
Help Desk Mgr $69.7 $60.1 $58.5 $66.0
Internet Mgr $81.2 $72.9 $69.0 $101.7
Sys Analyst $70.6 $66.6 $68.0 $69.3
P/A $66.6 $63.0 $66.7 $69.0
Apps Prog $56.8 $53.8 $56.1 $64.6
Sys Prog $69.5 $67.2 $65.3 $72.8
Net Admin $63.8 $59.0 $54.8 $63.1
Sys Admin $63.0 $58.9 $55.2 $66.6
DB Admin $74.4 $67.9 $65.9 $78.8


Salaries by Region
(In Thousands)
Title Upper Mgt Middle Mgt Developer Admin
New York/NY/NJ/CT $112.2 $81.9 $63.2 $63.8
Chicago/NE IL/NW IN $112.1 $74.3 $64.3 $59.3
Los Angeles/So. CAr $120.2 $81.7 $68.2 $63.8
San Francisco/San Jose/CA $164.8 $119.8 $80.6 $87.5
Houston/TX $100.3 $70.0 $51.6 $58.3
Philadelphia/PA/NJ/DE $130.0 $82.6 $67.8 $82.0
Washington DC/MD/VA $130.1 $99.2 $81.6 $77.9
Dallas/Ft.Worth/TX $123.9 $83.2 $64.9 $62.2
Atlanta/GA $138.5 $85.7 $65.2 $62.1
Miami/SE FL $119.0 $73.0 $59.6 $57.6
Seattle/WA * $64.7 $65.6 $64.2
Total USA $115.5 $79.0 $64.5 $62.7

* Too few positions reported for this area

Due to smaller sample sizes, job titles are aggregated into general categories


Salaries by Industry
(In Thousands)
Title IT/Tech Mfg Govt/Educ Finance/Ins.
CIO/VP $148.4 $140.3 $106.3 $153.8
IS Dir $124.1 $100.0 $88.1 $120.9
IS Mgr $108.0 $83.4 $74.1 $101.2
AD Mgr $102.0 $81.8 $79.3 $98.3
DC Mgr $97.5 $85.9 $72.7 $87.8
Net Mgr $77.9 $79.9 $72.3 $85.0
Help Desk Mgr $70.3 $70.3 $60.5 $72.8
Internet Mgr $125.0 $76.9 $63.3 $99.0
Sys Analyst $72.6 $70.0 $64.7 $69.6
P/A $70.8 $64.5 $61.9 $68.5
Apps Prog $66.8 $60.9 $54.2 $54.5
Sys Prog $63.5 $66.4 $62.6 $75.2
Net Admin $66.4 $60.0 $58.1 $60.6
Sys Admin $65.2 $59.1 $57.9 $59.2
DB Admin $77.3 $70.7 $67.4 $75.6

Salaries by Industry
(In Thousands)
Title Retail/Dist Health Utils/Trans Services
CIO/VP $98.1 $99.8 $207.4 $138.7
IS Dir $90.0 $97.5 $120.0 $110.0
IS Mgr $82.0 $75.2 $86.0 $88.9
AD Mgr $85.4 $77.3 $84.3 $93.0
DC Mgr $83.0 $66.7 $79.5 $84.1
Net Mgr $60.5 $71.0 $84.2 $87.7
Help Desk Mgr $51.7 $51.4 $62.0 $63.8
Internet Mgr $83.0 $87.5 $82.7 $133.3
Sys Analyst $72.9 $66.1 $69.7 $75.2
P/A $62.0 $74.0 $65.4 $67.8
Apps Prog $47.5 $59.1 $53.1 $58.7
Sys Prog $81.2 $77.7 $68.0 $72.3
Net Admin $58.1 $60.1 $60.1 $65.9
Sys Admin $66.5 $59.7 $60.4 $70.0
DB Admin $68.6 $70.1 $78.2 $67.3


Salaries by Number of Employees
(In Thousands)
Title 1-50 51-500 501-1000 1001-5000 5001 -
10,001 -
CIO/VP $101.2 $101.6 $107.9 $141.9 $142.7 $144.7 $262.9
IS Dir $78.8 $95.2 $94.7 $104.5 $105.0 $114.6 $126.0
IS Mgr $67.3 $70.0 $79.1 $86.4 $90.8 $94.3 $110.5
AD Mgr $72.2 $79.7 $75.2 $85.3 $92.0 $89.3 $106.1
DC Mgr $64.6 $69.7 $71.8 $84.6 $81.2 $87.3 $92.1
Net Mgr $56.6 $69.2 $67.4 $80.9 $79.2 $88.0 $91.4
Help Desk Mgr $53.6 $52.7 $55.9 $65.6 $69.1 $70.5 $82.3
Internet Mgr $61.8 $68.6 $59.1 $95.6 $107.1 $96.8 $112.2
Sys Analyst $66.5 $62.2 $67.3 $68.4 $69.5 $69.9 $74.7
P/A $62.4 $60.4 $60.0 $66.6 $68.2 $67.9 $73.9
Apps Prog $57.4 $52.0 $47.8 $54.0 $56.4 $56.7 $70.6
Sys Prog $64.0 $57.9 $66.1 $69.8 $62.9 $72.3 $73.8
Net Admin $51.4 $57.3 $57.4 $59.1 $62.1 $62.8 $74.7
Sys Admin $53.9 $58.6 $56.8 $65.8 $59.8 $62.0 $73.6
DB Admin $59.2 $66.3 $66.6 $66.6 $78.0 $74.8 $84.2

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