With tech salaries nearly flat, frustration rises: poll

NEW YORK Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:34am EST

Employees work at the Tradeworx office in Red Bank, New Jersey November 17, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Employees work at the Tradeworx office in Red Bank, New Jersey November 17, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. technology professionals are more frustrated with their pay than they have been in years as their salaries stagnate, according to an annual survey of about 17,000 visitors to the Dice.com website.

Dice Holdings Inc's Dice.com, a career site for technology and engineering professionals, found the average pay for U.S. tech jobs rose 1 percent last year to $78,845, compared to a 4.6 percent pay increase the year before.

That modest pay increase is fueling dissatisfaction. Only 46 percent said they are satisfied with the pay, compared to at least 53 percent who said so in each of the previous three years. About half the workers say employers are doing nothing to keep them motivated, according to the survey, and more than three-quarters say they received no bonus in 2009.

The results suggest employers may have trouble keeping technology staff, leading to a "retentionless recovery," said Tom Silver, Dice's senior vice president in North America.

"The new war for technology talent is coming and the battle is retention," he said.

While 47 percent of those surveyed said employers were doing nothing to motivate them, a smaller number said they were getting more interesting assignments and 14 percent reported getting flexible work hours.

The survey also showed about 70 percent of respondents identified themselves as Caucasian, and about 7 percent each said they were either African American or Asian Indian. The average salary among those who identified themselves as Asian Indian was about $86,000 a year, the highest of any ethnic group.

Workers in California's Silicon Valley do a little better than their peers elsewhere in the United States. The average tech salary there was $96,299. In Washington DC, where salaries are rising faster than the national average, information technology (IT) professionals earned more than $89,000 a year.

Technology job titles that command six-figure salaries include project managers, information architecture specialists, and advanced business application programmers. IT managers earn about $115,000 a year, Dice said.

Meanwhile, more tech workers are working as independent consultants rather than taking staff positions, according to Dice. About 48 percent of the positions posted on the site are contractor jobs, up 8 percentage points from January 2009.

On average, technology consultants earn about $99,000 annually.

(Reporting by Nick Zieminski, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

FILED UNDER: