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IT salary trends in 2017

2017 IT salary trends

By industry and skill

Jan. 4, 2017

By Lisa Dare

Every year, we ask IT leaders—from managers through CIOs—what they think will happen in the coming year. This year 700 leaders across North America told us where salaries, staffing and budgets are headed. You can read the executive summary and infographic to see the big picture trends, but we also wanted to provide additional insight into an important issue for IT workers: compensation.

Budgets: After a small dip in 2016 expectations, IT leaders are again seeing budget growth. Only 12 percent expect to see budget decreases and a whopping 49 percent expect increases. This is even more remarkable given a recent trend toward tech decentralization, when sales, marketing and other departments are increasingly taking the reins of their tech spend.

Salaries: There’s good news and bad news. While only 36 percent of IT leaders expect overall staff salaries to increase in 2017, some roles will probably see significant increases. 

Breakdown: Which IT roles will receive salary increases in 2017

Programmers and developers: While the demand for talent programmers and developers far exceeds the supply—and IT leaders viewing these roles as the most critical for success—43 percent of IT leaders expect to increase salaries for programmers and developers. However, these workers probably aren’t going to see the same salary spike that happened in 2015. Software engineers can expect similar results.

The government and finance sectors both show significant majorities (70 and 69 percent, respectively) of IT leaders anticipating across the board salary increases for programmers and developers.

How do you expect your IT staff’s salaries to change in 2017 versus 2016 for the following skill sets and technologies?  [select one for each]

Programmers and Developers (.NET, Java etc)

2015

2016

2017

Increase significantly

5%

0%

2%

Increase somewhat

49%

46%

41%

Stay the same

43%

42%

43%

Decrease somewhat

3%

0%

1%

Decrease significantly

0%

1%

0%

Don't know

n/a

11%

12%

 

Information security professionals: After a year when security breaches started to become part of the normal operating rhythm for companies—and the No. 1 trend IT leaders expect to impact them—it’s not surprising that InfoSec pros stand to benefit. While less than half of IT leaders expect InfoSec salaries to rise overall, a notable 5 percent expect those salaries to rise significantly. That number far outweighs the significant increases for any other role.

The biggest increase expectations for InfoSec salaries appear in the government, financial services and healthcare industries.

Information Security

2015

2016

2017

Increase significantly

8%

1%

5%

Increase somewhat

46%

43%

33%

Stay the same

45%

41%

47%

Decrease somewhat

2%

3%

1%

Decrease significantly

0%

0%

0%

Don't know

n/a

12%

14%

 

Cloud, architect and big data: Three percent of IT leaders expect cloud pros, architects and big data analysts to see significant gains. Interestingly, 19 percent of IT leaders didn’t know what to expect for big data analytics salaries, probably a result of the relative newness of the field and changing ideas about which skills are needed. BI and cloud—also newly hot fields—showed similar uncertainty. It’s worth nothing that average salaries for these positions are already quite high.

Networking: Networking, which IT leaders cite as the third most critical role for success in 2017, is enjoying fairly stable salary growth. While 2 percent of leaders anticipate significant increases in 2017 for networking, another 34 perfect expect moderate increases and fewer than 1 percent expect decreases.

Networking professionals in the government sector are the most likely to see wage growth.

Networking (network/systems admins, analysts, engineers)

2015

2016

2017

Increase significantly

n/a

0%

2%

Increase somewhat

n/a

41%

34%

Stay the same

n/a

45%

50%

Decrease somewhat

n/a

4%

0%

Decrease significantly

n/a

0%

0%

Don't know

n/a

11%

14%

End user support: Help desk and tech support roles show more moderate wage growth. More than half of leaders expect salaries to stay the same, 2 percent expect moderate decreases. The good news is that nearly a third expect increases, and 1 percent expect those to be significant.

The salary outlook is rosiest for tech support workers in finance.

Help Desk / Technical Support

2015

2016

2017

Increase significantly

1%

0%

1%

Increase somewhat

34%

34%

29%

Stay the same

58%

47%

55%

Decrease somewhat

6%

8%

2%

Decrease significantly

1%

0%

0%

Don't know

n/a

11%

13%

 

IT compensation trends by industry

How IT leaders expect staff’s salaries to change in 2017 versus 2016 for various skillsets:

Percentage of IT leaders who think salaries will increase

Skill Sets / Technologies

Healthcare

Financial Services

Energy

Gov’t

IT

Comm

Architects

37%

54%

15%

48%

33%

45%

Business Analysts

49%

54%

8%

50%

28%

26%

BI / Big Data

50%

57%

23%

52%

34%

36%

Cloud

35%

44%

15%

59%

41%

37%

Database Administrators

42%

50%

15%

41%

28%

33%

Digital Marketing

40%

46%

8%

55%

44%

25%

Help Desk / Tech Support

43%

54%

8%

41%

24%

21%

Information Security

57%

62%

15%

68%

35%

37%

Mobility / Mobile Apps

38%

56%

8%

45%

40%

26%

Networking

40%

48%

0%

59%

37%

42%

Programmers/Developers

47%

69%

8%

70%

49%

25%

Project Managers

56%

50%

0%

55%

40%

54%

QA/Testing

33%

57%

0%

41%

28%

26%

Software Engineers

42%

60%

8%

55%

52%

37%

Related: Explore the salary increase potential for 41 of the most popular IT certifications.

Lisa Dare is a content strategist for TEKsystems. She's been lucky to learn about tech staffing from some of the smartest folks in the industry. She frequently blogs about IT careers, talent management and tech culture. Follow her on Twitter to keep up with TEKsavvy blog content.
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