IT salary survey numbers may obscure still struggling economy

Reader Jim Dries offered me another point of view on the salary and careers survey, which was completed late last year.

In our 2010 IT salary survey, all signs point to increased salaries for most levels of IT managers and above in most industries and companies, large and small. The numbers were higher than 2009 and also pointed to a better 2011 for most involved in the profession.

However, our IT salary survey numbers may overlook one area that Dries says should be taken into consideration: “My … interpretation of the higher IT salaries is that it has less to do with the rising economy and more to do with a leaner staff being paid more to stay and do more with less,” he said in an email.

He’s right in the sense that IT managers, directors and executives have been learning to do more with less for several years now. And certainly the total numbers of IT personnel have dwindled, so we should consider the number of jobs lost to the increased efficiencies that IT is building into its systems, as well as lost to outsourcing outright.

“These are the type of actions businesses are taking and evidenced by industry information. Less can be said of the evidence for a ‘recovering economy,’” he wrote.

And despite the “recovering economy,” unemployment is still high, and in fact has increased several percentage points since the 2008 meltdown officially ended in June 2009.

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