Insider Insights into Global Knowledge’s 2016 IT Skills and Salary Report

Salary-survey-300Mountains of data are collected during our annual salary survey, but not all of it makes it into the IT Skills and Salary Report we release each spring.

For the first time, Global Knowledge Sr. Market Research Manager Greg Timpany is giving us a peek behind the data curtain and revealing his insights. Timpany has been collecting and analyzing IT salary information and trends for Global Knowledge since 2009.

As part of our annual report we always release the top-paying certifications and highest salaries by industry, region and area of expertise, including non-IT professionals. But, Timpany says there are a lot of other useful statistics he’s been able to uncover through the survey. Here are some of his top picks for things you should know that didn’t make it into the report.

IT Pros Control Their Own Economic Destiny

“People in the IT industry have the ability to positively impact their economic potential. We don’t have to sit around and wait for companies to give us a two percent and three percent raise,” Timpany said.

IT professionals can control their own destiny even at a time when most companies are putting their profits in reserve or in capital expenses instead of increasing compensation of expanding hiring plans, Timpany said.

“Employees can adapt to this trend by increasing their value through tactics such as developing additional skills and a willingness to take on new tasks, as well as getting into the job market,” he said. “The largest salary gains seen in the current study came from respondents who had changed companies and negotiated a higher salary for themselves.”

Forty-six percent of respondents who took a promotion to another company saw a raise of 11 percent or greater. This is 2.5 times greater than would be otherwise expected, Timpany said.

Branching Out Can Lead to Better Pay

Most companies understand that if you don’t have the right people in-house, other people in the marketplace will beat you to the punch. So, having a versatile IT department is key in order to support go-to-market strategies.

The key skill that IT professionals need to gain is communication. And over half of non-IT professionals reported that communication within their organization is a top workplace challenge. Other in-demand skills for IT decision makers and non-IT professionals are leadership and project management.

“If you are willing to step out of working strictly in the technology vertical, you can see some substantial gains in economic compensation,” Timpany said. “What we’ve seen is if they are willing to accept management roles their salaries will go up. A technologist willing to step outside the traditional job role can do extremely well.”

An employee who combines an IT certification with a project management or ITIL® certification can gain about $10,000 to $35,000 more a year, according to data collected as part of the salary survey.

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Certified Pros Continue to Out Earn Their Peers

“The technical space, IT in particular, is faring well overall. With the number of respondents we have each year, you can get a glimpse into the full spectrum of salaries—from entry-level help desk to senior-level enterprise architects,” Timpany said. “A consistent factor that I have seen for several years now is the salary advantage held by certified practitioners compared to their non-certified peers. Overall, there is a 20 percent gap in favor of the certified IT professional ($88,447 vs. $74,003).”

A Salary Increase Isn’t the Top Reason for Training

While training or earning a certification can lead to higher pay, it’s not what is driving people to seek out professional development.

“What’s of primary importance is the development of new skills. This supersedes the drive for increased salary by providing a more immediate gain: enhanced skills that can impact the job performance now versus salary gains that tend to be longer term,” Timpany said.

For the second year in the survey, Global Knowledge asked respondents from all backgrounds to state the perceived benefits they receive from professional development, which is available as part of the survey report. But, Timpany thought it was important to highlight the No.1 reason for training within this blog.

“Topping the list is the ability to stay current on technological changes,” Timpany said. “This is followed by the ability to gain insight that enables the respondent to be more effective in his or her current position. Expanding earning potential is number eight on the list.”

That is similar to the results he saw last year. Timpany can relate to the reasons why. “People who put salary (as their top reasons for training) are few and far between,” he said. “For most, it’s ‘We are going to find a solution to an immediate problem. I may get my CCNA today and over the course of the next year I may see an increase in salary next year. But, I may be on top of my game and see benefits in my job right here, right now.’”

Data Can Be Empowering

Timpany believes the salary survey and report can help to empower professionals through data. “They can make decisions on their career path—not on gut instinct but on real market data—and create a career path that’s best for them,” he said.

Throughout the year we will be releasing several blog posts to provide further insight and highlight interesting statistics included in the salary report, so make sure to stay tuned.

In the meantime, be sure to download the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Survey Report. Questions or comments? Add yours to the comment section below.

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