2008: The Last Year for Awhile for IT Pay Hikes?

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Salaries improved for IT professionals in 2008, but many worry the trend won't continue into 2009 as they face pay decreases, workload increases and headcount reductions.

According to a survey conducted by Dice, a career site for technology and engineering professionals, technology workers in 2008 experienced a 4.6% increase in average pay from the previous year to $78,035. The survey gathered responses from 19,000 technology workers between August and November 2008 and also discovered that specific skills drew higher than average pay increases. For instance, security analysts experienced increases of 8.4%, pay for software engineers grew 7% and application developers saw pay grow by about 6.6%.

Yet worry about future cuts overshadowed news of previous gains. According to Dice, 22% of those surveyed expressed concern about keeping skills up to date in the coming months. One-fifth said they fear job elimination, 14% expect lower salary increases, 12% anticipate cancelled projects and 10% aren't looking forward to increased stress due to added workloads in the aftermath of staff cuts.

Dice senior vice president and chief marketing officer Tom Silver says the salary increase proves IT continues to be a valued resources even in a down economy, but high-tech workers need to keep skills up-to-date and relevant to continue to reap financial rewards. Dice reports it has seen a 67% increase in the number of new resumes posted to its site during the fourth quarter and attributes such "passive job hunting" to greater anxiety about the job market.

"Today many technology professionals are seen as core assets where they work. As they enhance their skills, they'll need to realign those efforts with the market's shifting demands," Silver said in a Dice statement. "However, over the long-term, updating and broadening one's skills set is the key to continued salary gains."

This story, "2008: The Last Year for Awhile for IT Pay Hikes?" was originally published by Network World.

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