Nevertheless, figures announced by the PayScale website suggest that the level of wages could fall this year. Another area in decline: bonuses.
Even as employers in IT companies downsize to weather the recession, wages for those who remain employed in IT appear to be rising.
Wages for IT jobs are on the rise in companies that are laying off staff, since employees who keep their jobs “often occupy senior positions which cost employers a little more” and who work longer days, notes Al Lee, director of quantitative analysis at PayScale, a website that collates salary data. “I won’t venture to predict a downward trend in pay for these jobs.” PayScale revealed its information exclusively to BusinessWeek.com.
According to PayScale, whose analyzes are based on data recorded on the site in 2008, the salaries of IT professionals are particularly high in large cities such as London and San Francisco, where the big names in IT employ more large proportion of the workforce. PayScale reports that employees of major data centers demand compensation that on average is 33% higher than the median US salary.
THE VALLEY STILL DOMINATE
Of the five US markets studied by PayScale, San Francisco topped other cities in a list of average salaries in each of the 10 occupations, including software designer and IT project manager. In the San Francisco Bay Area, home to internet giants like Google (GOOG) and computer makers like Apple (APPL), software design managers ranked highest in terms of salary, theirs being $136,000 a year. The lowest-paying IT jobs in San Francisco are help desk specialists, who earn $53,300 a year, PayScale reveals.
Outside of Silicon Valley, wages tend to adjust to demands in local industries. In Seattle, home to companies such as Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon.com (AMZN), software designers earn an average of $88,400, higher than most other cities.
Salaries seen on PayScale may not stay as high in the coming months, Lee says, as laid-off employees find new jobs in IT, and in some cases their new salaries are lower than what they were on. in the past. “I expect the annual salary increases to be much more modest” next year, he continues. According to PayScale, salary increases are also reduced due to a considerable decline in the importance of bonuses and displayed on the site.
MORE AND MORE GOVERNMENT POSTS
Overall, new job postings are down about 35% from those listed last year on Dice, a website that discusses technology-related functions across the globe. American territory. According to Tom Silver, Dice’s chief marketing officer, new job assignments in the Silicon Valley region have dropped nearly 50% since January 2008, to 2,700.
One of the markets not studied by the PayScale site is in agreement with the information revealed by Dice. In the Washington-Baltimore corridor, new postings stabilized at about 7,400, reaching approximately the same level as a year ago. “This finding is due to the increase in the number of government and government affairs positions” in the IT field, says Silver.
Outside the United States, PayScale has spotted stark differences in salaries for IT occupations. Among five of the markets where IT is important (London, Sydney, Singapore and Bangalore), the one with the highest salaries is London. In this city, IT project managers earn $107,000 a year, making their salary 30% higher than the US median salary for the same position.
Meanwhile, in Bangalore, India, a help desk specialist receives an annual salary of just $10,700, almost a quarter of the average annual salary of an American in the same position.
SUMS ARE RELATIVE
Of course, IT job seekers should not only consider the salary they are likely to earn when deciding where to locate. In difficult times, it is especially important to also consider the cost of living in a big city. The PayScale team noticed that the median salary of experienced IT professionals living in Austin, TX is adjusted for the cost of living in that city, since a purchasing power of about 90 cents in Austin is equivalent to an average purchasing power of $1 in other American cities. If we draw a comparison, the inhabitants of San Francisco pay $1.74 for a product that the rest of the Americans would get for only $1.
Leaving a region where wages are low to settle in another where employees are better paid can sometimes be unfavorable for employees. Charles Geoly, manager of the executive search firm Russel Reynolds, explains that “if a person who lives in Arizona, a state that is rather badly affected by economic decline, is recruited in Boston, a city that is not not as affected, the relative decline in the value of their earnings is offset by the high cost of living for the employee. Overall, Geoly says demand for his company’s services fell in 2008, but corporate employers still want to pay their employees almost as much as before so that the best candidates fill the most important jobs. .
Even during a recession, salary relativity is less important to some job seekers than getting a good job. According to Lee of the PayScale site, software designers who develop video games within a start-up are likely to be paid less than someone who, for example, designs a scorecard system. pays in a large group. “A lot of employers in companies that develop video games tend to pay a little less than those in big companies like IBM (IBM), Lee says, mostly because that’s the kind of field people would really like to be part of. »