Survey: IT Salaries to Drop in 2004

November 7, 2003 ( - While starting IT salaries are projected to drop in 2004, those in certain highly sought-after specialties should do much better, according to a new survey.

The Robert Half Technology survey said general IT starting salaries should fall an average 1.6% next year with most IT hiring managers remaining very cautious about bringing on new staff, according to a CNET report.

Those in specialties such as information security and systems audit should do better, however. Data security analysts will see the greatest starting salary increases of any single job classification in 2004, according to the survey, with an expected 2.1% base compensation increase to the range of $67,000 to $90,750 annually.

“Network security concerns continue to be a priority for businesses of all sizes,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “There is strong demand for IT professionals who can manage everything from assessing potential network vulnerabilities to integrating virus protection, intrusion detection and other components into an enterprisewide security strategy.”

According to the report, average starting salaries for local area network (LAN) administrators will decrease by 4.5% next year, bringing base compensation to the range of $43,750 to $62,500 annually. Meanwhile, base compensation for desktop support analysts will drop 5.3%, with starting salaries in the range of $47,000 to $65,000, the survey found.

Average starting compensation for applications architects is projected to increase 1.9% in 2004, to between $73,250 and $104,250, according to Robert Half. Starting salaries for senior Internet/intranet developers also are expected to increase 1.9%, to the range of $67,250 to $96,000. Systems auditors will earn average starting salaries of between $60,750 and $77,250 annually, a gain of 1.8% over 2003 compensation.