In a year of turmoil and disruption, information technology (IT) professionals were in high demand in 2021. At a time when many organizations ramped up investments in technology, there were fewer workers to hire to complete the work, from digital transformations to cloud migrations to big data projects, according to a recent InformationWeek study,
While many IT professionals found themselves working more hours under greater levels of stress, the increased pressure did not result in larger increases in salaries and benefits – particularly for women in IT. Here are some key takeaways from InformationWeek’s “US IT Salary Report: A Shifting Job Market for Tech Talent,” based on a survey of 550 full-time IT professionals:
• Median total compensation for all IT workers increased by just $5,000 in 2021 (about 4 percent) from $120,000 in 2020 to $125,000 in 2021.
• About 65 percent of IT pros received a pay raise, compared with 47 percent receiving a pay raise in 2020, but lower than the 70 percent who received pay raises in 2019, the pre-pandemic boom year.
• Of those looking for a new job, 76% said higher compensation was the top motivation for the move.
A significant gender wage gap
One of the study’s most important findings was a $23,000 wage gap between men and women IT professionals, compared with $20,000 the prior year. Median total compensation for women IT pros in 2021 was $105,000, the same as it was in 2020. Meanwhile, median total compensation for men was $128,000, compared with $125,000 in 2020.
“The $23,000 wage gap marked the largest wage gap we’ve seen in dollar amounts since we began to track the wage gap,” said Jessica Davis, senior editor, InformationWeek, noting that the gap was narrowest in 2019 at $15,000 and stood at $20,000 in 2018 and 2017. She added that the gap was not due to having more men in leadership positions, as the sample of women included 50 percent management and 50 percent staff, while the male sample was 47 percent management and 53 percent staff.
Probing further into the gender wage gap, InformationWeek asked IT pros about their own companies. Only 12 percent of female IT pros said there was no gender wage gap, compared with 39 percent of male IT pros. “We did speak individually in phone interviews with some IT professionals who knew there was no wage gap in their own organizations because they knew exactly what their coworkers made — either it was a union shop or an educational institution where that information was available to everyone,” said Davis. “However, there may be misconceptions about the existence of a wage gap at other organizations.”
Avaya IT professionals interested in learning more about gender-related professional issues – including career development suggestions – can take part in IAUG’s “Women in Technology” initiative. This ongoing program is designed to educate and support IT professionals seeking to advance in the dynamic communications and collaboration technology sector.
What matters most
Along with asking about salaries, the InformationWeek study asked what matters most to IT professionals. The for most answer was not high pay, but overall work-life balance, chosen by 46 percent, and vacation time/paid time off cited by 42 percent. Other priorities included:
• “My opinion and knowledge are valued,” 40 percent of respondents
• Telecommuting/working at home,” 40 percent
• Base pay, 39 percent of respondents
• Benefits, 37 percent
• Job and company stability, 36 percent
• A flexible work schedule, 33 percent
“Hiring managers and HR professionals should take note here,” said Davis. “These top qualities could be leveraged to help retain your employees to stay in their current jobs if they are tempted to leave.”