Tech Salary Budgets Hold Steady

March 16, 2004 ( - The economic upturn is underway for technology and biotechnology companies that saw salaries increase last year and salary increase budgets remain the same for 2004.

Average salaries for the companies surveyed in Aon Consulting’s Radford Annual Technology Trend Report and the Radford Annual Biotechnology Trend Report moved upward in 2003 at a 3% rate. Additionally, salary increase budgets stopped falling, stabilizing at approximately 4%, reflecting some optimism for the group in 2004.

Economic optimism was also found in the reduced number of companies reporting layoffs. Whereas 60% of the firms polled in the fourth quarter of 2002 reported layoffs, that number has fallen to just over 30% in the fourth quarter of 2003.

Hiring is also on the rise. Twenty percent of the survey sample report “normal hiring,” while nearly half are hiring both replacements and critical positions, and only 5% of the companies had a hiring freeze in place.

“While expense control is still being emphasized, the economic outlook for tech companies appears to be brightening. It may seem counterintuitive, but our findings show that average salaries actually have continued to rise during the tech downturn,” Don York, senior vice president, Aon Consulting said in a news release. “In addition, recent hires are not joining at lower salaries than their peers, contrary to generally held assumptions. Some jobs, such as engineers, are commanding higher salaries than previously hired employees.”