Careers: Starting Salaries Predicted to Rise in 2011

Some skills are more in-demand than others -- and some industries (such as health care and business services) are paying more.

Many IT pros will see a slight bump in their salaries in the 2011 calendar year.

IT staffing specialist Robert Half Technology is projecting a 3.4 percent increase in IT starting salaries. IT pros in on-demand job segments -- which include application development, Web development, data security, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) -- could see even bigger increases in average compensation.

The lesson -- now as ever -- is that some skills are more in-demand than others, Robert Half researchers note. "A focus on improving efficiency, managing assets and securing data has increased the demand, and base compensation for IT professionals with ERP and security credentials," said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a statement. "Additionally, the rise of social media and focus on customer-facing technologies have created additional demand for web professionals and applications developers."

Web design pros should realize the biggest increase in their average starting salary according to Robert Half, who forecast that base compensation for Web designers will rise by 5.5 percent. "With social media being closely tied to an organization's success, there is strong demand for skilled [Web] designers who can create customer friendly [Web] experiences," Reed said.

Among the other key findings from the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide 2011: ERP skills never quite go out of vogue. Salary gains for IT pros with ERP customization skills will likewise outpace the market average: starting salaries for ERP technical developers will increase by 5.2 percent in 2011 -- to between $79,250 and $109,500.

BI analysts are also sitting pretty: they should see starting-salary increases of 5 percent, thus bringing their base compensation to between $82,500 and $116,250. A related field -- data modeling -- will also post healthy growth: Robert Half projects a 4.5 percent uptick in starting salary, such that data modelers should expect base compensation of $80,750 to $111,250.

Some industries plan to pay more than others; base compensation in the business services, transportation, and health-care markets should outpace compensation in other segments, according to researchers.

"There is a strong need for IT professionals in [health care] in particular. We've seen a strong demand for IT professionals, from developers to help desk, to assist with the conversion to electronic medical records," said Reed.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.