2007 ESJ Salary Survey, Part 1: Salaries Keep Growing for IT Staff Positions, But Bonuses Decline

In the first of our four-part report, we look at compensation growth for professional positions

By: The Enterprise Systems Staff


Continuing health in the economy and IT budgets, as well as new demands on businesses to better manage and secure growing volumes of data, has helped boost the average salaries of just about all IT staff positions covered in the latest salary survey by Enterprise Systems. IT line positions -- including programmers, analysts, and administrators -- kept ahead of the inflation rate over the past year, averaging across-the-board raises of about 4.8 percent.

Those IT staff professionals that did particularly well in terms of compensation are storage administrators and systems programmers. Professionals in these job categories saw impressive raises in their base salaries over the past year.

However, for six of eight job categories covered in this survey, while salaries either held steady or climbed, average bonuses fell. Fewer organizations are compensating their IT professionals with bonus plans, opting instead for straight salary increases. In fact, only two positions -- applications and systems programmers -- saw an increase in average bonuses.

The latest salary survey of 1,032 enterprise IT sites, conducted by Enterprise Systems in May, tracked salary figures for IT managers and professionals across a broad spectrum of organizations. Along with a range of management positions (see Part 2 of this report), our survey covered eight line IT positions: application systems analysts, programmer/analysts, application programmers, system programmers, network administrators, system administrators, database administrators, and storage administrators.

Salaries varied considerably by industry group and application environment. Supply chain management systems have become a hot area for IT professionals -- in five out of the eight positions covered, SCM sites paid the highest average base salaries.

Survey respondents identified a range of factors contributing to the increase in IT staff salaries. As one respondent put it, "Salaries have gone up this year. Security and project management are the big things right now." Another said that business intelligence skills were drawing the highest premiums. One respondent observed that at his organization, "IT salaries are increasing because our business is growing and doing well. Networking, scripting, and help desk soft skills are the most important."

Not all organizations saw salary gains, of course. Many respondents lamented that increased outsourcing has cut into the competitiveness of salaried IT staff skills. "We are outsourcing and contracting out at a national level, limiting jobs at the local level," said one. Some companies skimp on salaries, but, ironically, end up paying more anyway, another respondent noted. "People -- mainly developers and software support -- are leaving because the company won't increase pay, but due to the market, their replacements will be coming in at a higher salary."

About 24 percent of survey respondents run mainframes (both IBM and non-IBM) at their sites, compared to 28 percent in 2005. Another 18 percent run midrange-class systems, which include the IBM Series i platform. Across the board, midrange shops appeared to offer the highest salary ranges for IT professionals, topping four out of the eight positions measured.

At least 39 percent run at least one of the major commercial Unix flavors (AIX, Solaris, or HP-UX), about the same as last year's 41 percent.

A majority of respondents (70 percent) support Windows server environments, including Windows Server 2003, 2000, or NT systems within their companies, a number that continues to decline from year to year. In 2005, for example, 78 percent reported having Windows server installations at their sites.

These Windows sites do not appear to be migrating to Linux, however -- 31 percent report having Linux installed within their organizations, a percentage unchanged over previous surveys.

Respondents come from a wide range of industry groups, including government/education (25 percent), high-tech/software (13 percent), finance/insurance (11 percent), manufacturing (9 percent), health care (7 percent), services (7 percent), utilities/transportation (4 percent), and retail/distribution (4 percent).

While information technology is noted for its specialization, one respondent remarked that the higher salaries are going to those with more of a generalist skill set: "The people most in demand are those that are able to be effective in a multitude of subjects. For instance, server support/configuration and software development for group-sized solutions."

SYSTEMS ANALYSTS

While systems analyst salaries continue to grow, they have been barely keeping up with inflation, growing just over two percent from last year's Enterprise Systems survey. This is down from thee previous year's gain, which was close to four percent.

Overall, systems analysts -- who typically work with corporate management, end users, and clients to plan and design systems -- earn about $72,150 in base salary, up from $70,500 in 2006. This is just nine percent higher than average salaries in the first survey of this series, conducted in 2001. Systems analysts are the fourth-highest income category among the eight line IT positions in our survey, after storage administrators, database administrators, and systems programmers.

System analysts are projected to also earn bonuses of about $3,200 on top of their base salaries for this year. This is down by almost eight percent from last year. Bonuses were also down last year for jobholders in this category.

The typical systems analyst in our survey has about nine years of industry experience. On average, seasoned system analysts with 10 or more years experience earn up to 13 percent more than their less-experienced or entry-level counterparts.

Systems analysts working with e-business application environments fare best this year, with those in B2C environments earning close to $79,000, and those in B2B about $78,000.

Systems analysts in mainframe shops are drawing an average base salary of $77,100, or seven percent higher than the overall average. This is followed by $76,100 within AIX/Unix sites. Those systems analysts working in Windows shops (distributed systems only, no mainframes present) saw the lowest compensation, averaging $70,000 a year.

System analyst salaries are strongest within the high-tech/software sector, averaging about $77,000, followed by manufacturing at $76,000.

SYSTEM ANALYST SALARIES

Year-to-Year Change
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 1-year change 6-year change
$72,150 $70,500 $67,900 $70,900 $66,500 $66,000 +2.3% +9.3%

Average Annual Bonus
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 1-year change 6-year change
$3,200 $3,500 $4,100 $4,200 $2,920 $4,290 -8.6% -25.4%

By Experience Level
<5> <10> 10+ years Differential
$68,100 $69,600 $77,100 +13.2%

By Operating System Environment
Mainframe Midrange AIX/Unix Windows Non-Mainframe
Linux
Windows only
(Non-Mainframe)
$77,100 $73,900 $76,100 $72,150 $70,700 $70,100

By Application Environment
ERP CRM B2B B2C Supply Chain Data Warehouse
$71,200 $70,700 $78,300 $78,700 $73,900 $76,600


PROGRAMMER/ANALYST

Application programmer/analysts -- who develop applications and associated environments -- saw above-average growth since last year's survey. Average base salaries are up more than five percent, from an average of $67,400 to $71,020. Last year, professionals in this category saw three percent growth in average salaries.

Bonuses for P/As, however, have remained steady at about $3,400, on the average. Still, this is the second highest bonus level among the eight line IT categories measured, surpassed only by systems programmers.

On average, the P/As covered in our survey have about nine years' experience. P/As with 10 or more years experience make 22 percent more than those in the first five years of their careers. An entry-level P/A can expect to make an average of $63,000 a year, a figure that climbs to $77,000 for more seasoned veterans. By application categories, P/As working in shops building and managing supply chain systems top the list with an average base of $77,000 -- seven percent above the overall average. Business-to-business shops follow at $76,000.

There are only slight differences in development environments. P/As in mainframe-type environments fare best, drawing average salaries of $77,000 in COBOL shops, and $76,000 in CICS shops.

While P/As in mainframe shops appear to have the upper hand in terms of development environments, those working in AIX or Unix operating environments have the highest base salary rates, averaging more than $76,000, or seven percent above the overall average. This is followed by mainframe operating system environments at $74,000. Clearly, those P/As working with either high-end Unix systems or mainframes dominate the pay scales. Those working in distributed environments where no mainframes are present came in lowest, at about $69,000 a year.

P/A salaries are strongest in the utilities sector, averaging $73,000 in annual base compensation. Those in the high-tech/software and financial services sectors follow with $72,300 each.

PROGRAMMER ANALYST SALARIES

Year-to-Year Change
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 1-year change 5-year change
$71,020 $67,400 $65,200 $63,800 $61,700 +5.4% +15.1%
Average Annual Bonus
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 1-year change 5-year change
$3,410 $3,400 $3,400 $3,375 $2,460 +0.0% +38.6%

By Experience Level
<5> <10> 10+ years Differential
$62,900 $66,600 $77,000 +22.4%

By Operating System Environment
Mainframe Midrange AIX/Unix Windows Non-Mainframe
Linux
Windows Only
(Non-mainframe)
$74,100 $70,100 $76,300 $71,000 $69,100 $71,000

By Application Environment
ERP CRM B2B B2C Supply Chain Data Warehouse
$68,100 $70,900 $75,600 $74,000 $77,100 $74,700


APPLICATIONS PROGRAMMER

After seeing substantial increases in last year's survey, base salary rates for application programmers have cooled down a bit. Application programmers -- typically those who write and test code -- now average about $63,000 a year, up by just under three percent from last year's figure. Notably, programmers have done well over the long term, however. When this survey was first conducted at the beginning of the decade, salaries averaged $49,000.

There has been greater bonus activity for these professionals, however. While most other staff positions in this survey saw diminished bonuses, programmers' bonuses are up by seven percent from last year, now averaging close to $2,900.

Since many programmer jobs tend to be entry-level, these salaries are the lowest in the survey, and long-term career and salary growth in this category are limited. Programmers who have remained in this position for 10 years or more make about 26 percent more than their entry-level counterparts. The typical programmer in our survey has about six years of industry experience.

Programmers in midrange-class computing shops make the most, our survey finds, topping $68,000 a year in base salary. By development language environment, programmers in Java shops fare best, drawing average salaries of $69,000. C/C++ development sites followed with more than $68,000 in average annual base salaries.

Companies deploying and managing supply-chain management systems reported the highest levels of compensation for programmers, with base salaries averaging more than $69,000 -- 10 percent above the industry average. Programmers in B2B shops followed at $68,000, and those in data warehouse environments average $67,000 a year.

Application programming salaries are strongest within the high-tech/software sector, averaging about $69,000, followed by health care with $67,000

APPLICATIONS PROGRAMMER SALARIES

Year-to-Year Change
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 1-year change 6-year change
$63,000 $61,400 $56,500 $53,000 $49,400 $49,200 +2.6% +28%
Average Annual Bonus
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 1-year change 6-year change
$2,890 $2,700 $2,665 $2,400 $2,600 $3,150 +7% -8.3%

By Experience Level
<5> <10> 10+ years Differential
$55,000 $68,900 $69,600 +26.5%

By Operating System Environment
Mainframe Midrange AIX/Unix Windows Non-Mainframe
Linux
Windows only
(Non-mainframe)
$62,700 $68,000 $66,000 $63,000 $59,600 $63,000

By Programming Environment
CICS C/C++ COBOL VB VB .NET Java
$60,000 $68,100 $62,800 $64,200 $66,400 $69,000

By Application Environment
ERP CRM B2B B2C Supply Chain Data Warehouse
$64,800 $61,700 $68,100 $65,100 $69,300 $67,000


SYSTEMS PROGRAMMER

This is the age of the network, and as enterprises move into service-oriented architecture, integration, consolidation, and virtualization, they require a highly robust infrastructure -- as well as solid security -- to make it all work. For that reason, systems programmers have gained a heightened standing in corporate environments.

After years of tepid salary growth, systems programmers finally had a very good year, our survey shows. In fact, the professionals took the top spot among IT line positions in terms of average salary, advancing from third place a year ago. Systems programmers also had the highest percentage raises, as well as the highest average bonuses among IT staff positions covered in the survey.

Base salaries for this position grew at a torrid pace of 15 percent, up to more than $79,000. In the five years since this category was first measured in 2002, salaries did not budge from the $68,000 to $70,000 range.

Systems programmers also saw impressive bonuses over the past year as well, our survey finds. This year, system programmer bonuses averaged close to $4,000, up by almost a third over a year ago. Systems programmers saw the highest increases of the eight IT staff positions covered. Last year, this category saw a 13 percent increase in average bonuses.

Systems programmers can expect to see salary growth of at least 19 percent throughout their careers. Currently, entry-level systems programmers make about $70,000, a level that rises to close to $83,000 for seasoned programmers.

Mainframe-related skills continue to be the most lucrative area for systems programmers. Those working within COBOL programming environments average about $85,000 a year. Those working with Visual Studio.NET and JCL follow closely.

By industry, systems programmers are the best paid within high-tech software companies, averaging $87,000 a year.

SYSTEMS PROGRAMMER SALARIES

Year-to-Year Change
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 1-year change 6-year change
$79,300 $69,100 $67,150 $70,400 $68,500 N/A +14.8% +15.8%
Average Annual Bonus
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 1-year change 6-year change
$3,940 $3,000 $2,665 $3,000 $3,360 N/A +31.3% +17.3%

By Experience Level
<5> <10> 10+ years Differential
$70,000 $83,100 $83,300 +19%

By Operating System Environment
Mainframe Midrange AIX/Unix Windows Non-Mainframe
Linux
Windows only
(Non-mainframe>
$80,840 $83,100 $84,100 $79,300 $72,800 $80,000

By Programming Environment
CICS C/C++ COBOL JCL VB VB .NET Java
$79,500 $83,400 $85,000 $84,500 $79,900 $84,600 $80,900

By Application Environment
ERP CRM B2B B2C Supply Chain Data Warehouse
$81,100 $82,300 $84,000 $78,600 $84,300 $82,900


NETWORK ADMINISTRATOR

The base salaries of network administrators, who monitor and troubleshoot network usage, have seen little movement over the past two years, our survey shows. These professionals now earn average annual base salaries close to $62,000, up only a percent from last year.

Since this survey series was first launched in 2001, network administrator salaries have remained relatively flat, up only a little more than 10 percent since the beginning of the decade. Network administrators continue to be the lowest salary category of the eight positions measured in the survey.

Annual average bonuses for network administrators have also shrunk, from $2,500 a year ago to $2,100 this year.

On average, network administrators in our survey have about eight years of experience. The more experienced network administrators (with a decade or more of experience) are drawing salaries if at least $64,000, or 16 percent more than their less-experienced counterparts. However, this is one of the smaller gaps across the eight line positions covered in the survey, indicating that salary advancement is tepid for these professionals.

Network administrator salaries are strongest within the utilities sector, averaging $73,000, or about 18 percent above the average. Those in service-based companies follow with $66,000.

By environment, our respondents reported that network administrators in Unix shops fare best, drawing average salaries of more than $65,000. Windows 2000 and NT network administrators follow with more than $64,000 each

Network administrators working in environments with data warehouses fare best financially, averaging about $66,000 a year in base salaries, or six percent above the overall average. Those in B2B environments follow with $65,000.

NETWORK ADMINISTRATOR SALARIES

Year-to-Year Change
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 1-year change 6-year change
$61,900 $61,300 $59,300 $57,300 $53,800 $56,000 +1% +10.5%
Average Annual Bonus
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 1-year change 6-year change
$2,100 $2,600 $2,500 $2,000 $1,660 $3,150 -19.2% -33.3%

By Experience Level
<5> <10> 10+ years Differential
$55,000 $63,400 $63,900 +16.2%

By Network Environment
Ethernet Unix Linux Windows
2003
Windows
2000
Windows
NT
WinXP Novell
$62,800 $65,400 $62,100 $61,900 $64,200 $64,200 $59,400 $62,900

By Application Environment
ERP CRM B2B B2C Supply Chain Data Warehouse
$62,500 $61,900 $64,800 $62,000 $63,200 $65,800


SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR

Systems administrators, who deploy and maintain operating systems and servers, saw appreciable raises over the past year, the survey finds. System administrators in the survey averaged $64,700 in base salaries, up by five percent over last year's survey. Last year, this category saw little advancement in salary rates.

However, as with most other IT line positions, the bonus picture was not as bright for these professionals. The average annual bonus awarded was $2,170, well below last year's figure of $3,000, and $2,600 the year before that.

Systems administrators can expect to see salary growth of at least 22 percent throughout their careers, the survey also finds. Currently, entry-level systems administrators (with less than five years experience) make about $55,500, a level that rises to close to $68,000 with 10 years' worth of experience.

By platform, systems administrators in mainframe environments edge out other environments, with average salaries of more than $74,000 -- about 15 percent higher than the overall average. Mainframe sys admins also have displaced last year's salary leader, which consisted of those at AIX/Unix sites.

At distributed sites with no mainframe systems -- including both Linux and Windows -- systems administrators average about $60,000, or seven percent below the average.

As is the case across just about all professional categories, systems administrators in sites with supply-chain management systems commanded the highest rates, averaging more than $70,000. This is also the rate seen at sites with robust data warehouse environments.

By industry group, systems administrators within the utilities, transportation, and telecommunications sector have the highest average annual base salaries, close to $79,000. This is 22 percent higher than the overall average, reflecting the importance of this position in these types of organizations. Sys admins in health-care organizations follow with $74,000.

SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR SALARIES

Year-to-Year Change
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 1-year change 5-year change
$64,700 $61,600 $60,500 $56,000 $62,000 +5% +4.4%
Average Annual Bonus
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 1-year change 4-year change
$2,170 $3,000 $2,600 $1,800 $2,480 -27.7% -12.5%

By Experience Level
<5> <10> 10+ years Differential
$55,550 $64,100 $67,600 +21.7%

By Operating System Environment
Mainframe Midrange AIX/Unix Windows Non-Mainframe
Linux
Windows only
(Non-mainframe)
$74,400 $72,300 $71,700 $64,700 $60,030 $59,800

By Application Environment
ERP CRM B2B B2C Supply Chain Data Warehouse
$67,000 $616890 $69,100 $68,300 $70,100 $70,000


DATABASE ADMINISTRATOR

DBAs, who oversee building and use of company databases, saw their base salaries hit a plateau in this year's survey. The survey finds average base salaries for DBAs at just above $75,000 a year, essentially unchanged from last year's survey. This is the second-highest paid category among the IT line positions.

There is a growing impetus within enterprises to move data professionals away from more mundane database tasks -- such as backing up data, monitoring networks, or administering patches to servers. Instead, data professionals are evolving to higher-level data management tasks, such as working closely with business units to better leverage data resources for applications such as business intelligence and analytics. The highly administrative, more traditional DBA tasks, in fact, are becoming more automated.

Across the board, DBAs are projected to also earn bonuses of about $3,100, down by 18 percent from our survey a year ago. The typical DBA in our survey has close to 11 years of industry experience. Entry-level DBAs start at $66,200, and then rise 21 percent to more than $80,000 for those with at least a decade of experience.

This year, premiums for in-demand database skills are paid to those who work with Sybase and DB2 environments, with average salaries of $92,000 and $82,000 respectively, the survey finds. At $92,000, salaries at Sybase sites are more than 22 percent above the DBA average.

By platform, those DBAs at midrange-class sites report the highest average base salaries, at $84,700, or 13 percent above the overall average for this position.

As with most of the job categories in the survey this year, those DBAs involved with sites with supply-chain management applications in place topped the salary scale, at more than $86,000. DBAs at sites with robust ERP and B2B deployments followed with $81,000 a piece.

By industry, DBAs working within the utility sector (includes transportation and telecommunications) fare best, with average annual base salaries of close to $82,000. Those in high-tech/software and health care follow with salaries close to $81,000.

DATABASE ADMINISTRATOR SALARIES

Year-to-Year Change
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 1-year change 5-year change
$75,050 $75,500 $70,500 $71,400 $71,500 $66,800 -0.6% +12.3%
Average Annual Bonus
2007 2006 2005 2004 2002 2001 1-year change 5-year change
$3,100 $3,800 $3,750 $3,600 $3,360 $5,350 -18.4% -42.1%

By Experience Level
<5> <10> 10+ years Differential
$66,200 $71,500 $80,100 +21%

By Operating System Environment
Mainframe Midrange AIX/Unix Windows Non-Mainframe
Linux
Windows only
(Non-mainframe)
$80,900 $84,700 $80,500 $75,000 $64,500 $67,000

By Database Environment
DB2 IMS Oracle SQL Server Sybase MySQL
$81,700 $74,700 $79,600 $74,800 $91,900 $75,300

By Application Environment
ERP CRM B2B B2C Supply Chain Data Warehouse
$80,800 $80,200 $81,100 $78,300 $86,200 $79,300


STORAGE ADMINISTRATOR

The intense growth of storage requirements across enterprises has put a premium on those professionals capable of planning and management of storage resources. The survey finds that the average base salary of storage administrators -- those who oversee the installation, configuration, security, and usage of company storage -- has grown by almost 10 percent since last year. Storage administrators now average $71,600 a year, making this the third highest-paid of the eight IT line positions covered in the survey. (This job category was first added to the survey in 2006.)

As with most other line IT staff positions, however, companies are opting to raise salaries in lieu of paying bonuses. Average annual bonuses for storage administrators declined over the past year, shrinking from $3,600 to less than $2,500.

Storage administrators in the survey have, on average, close to 10 years of industry experience. While salaries are growing, the long-term salary growth prospects are more limited for storage administrators than other positions covered in the survey. The survey finds a 16-percent differential between entry-level storage administrators (with less than five years' experience) and those with at least a decade of experience.

The survey also finds that enterprises are paying premiums for storage administrators within data warehouse and e-business environments. Those storage administrators working within data warehouse environments have base salaries averaging about $78,000. Storage administrators at supply chain installations -- which have been paying the highest salaries to IT professionals across the board -- are seeing salaries of at least $77,000 a year.

By platform, storage administrators in midrange computing environments had the highest ranges, averaging about $76,000, followed by those in mainframe environments with at least $72,000.

STORAGE ADMINISTRATOR SALARIES
Year-to-Year Change
2007 2006 1-year change
$71,600 $65,300 +9.6%
Average Annual Bonus
2007 2006 1-year change
$2,480 $3,600 -31.1%

By Experience Level
<5> <10> 10+ years Differential
$61,600 $69,800 $77,300 +15.7%

By Operating System Environment
Mainframe Midrange AIX/Unix Windows Non-Mainframe
Linux
Windows only
(Non-mainframe)
$71,900 $76,400 $74,300 $69,600 $68,700 $62,000

By Application Environment
ERP CRM B2B B2C Supply Chain Data Warehouse
$71,000 $67,100 $71,400 $65,700 $77,100 $77,900

NEXT WEEK: EXECUTIVE SALARIES


Next week we'll reveal the results of our survey for management employees.