Study: Tech's six-figure salaries are shrinking

IT managers at mid-sized firms take the biggest hit

The salaries of IT managers are retreating, and most affected by the trend are managers running technology operations at mid-sized companies with less than $500 million in annual revenue, according to a semi-annual study from Janco Associates Inc.

From January 2007 to this month, the median compensation, including bonuses, for a CIO at a mid-level company with less than $500 million in annual revenue, fell from $171,755 to $162,937, a decline of 5.13%.

In the same period, chief security officer salaries moved from $148,117 to $143,284, a 3.26% decline. IT planning directors took the biggest hit, falling from $115,434 to $97,588, or 15.46%.

Janco's semi-annual survey tracks salary and benefit changes at more than 200 companies.

Salary declines for IT executives at larger companies weren't as steep as the cuts at midsized firms. Over the same two-and-half-year period, compensation for these managers fell in a range of 6% to 1%. For instance, CIO salaries went from $174,979 to $172,505, a decline of nearly 1.5%.

Most of the compensation decline has been in the last 18 months, Janco reported. In that period, a number of companies have announced staff salary reductions, including Hewlett-Packard Co.

"There is now a surplus of seasoned IT professionals available," wrote the Park City, Utah-based IT consulting firm in its report. In particular, it reported that more than 200 IT professionals in the New York area, who earned well into six figures, are looking for work due to mergers, bankruptcies and layoffs.

IT managers are also putting off retirements, and others who previously retired are now searching for work.

Overall, IT employment has declined 3.5% since May 2008, according to the TechServe Alliance, formerly the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses.

In November 2008, IT employment peaked at 4 million jobs and dropped to 3.85 million last month.

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