Canadian networking salaries above IT average: study

A new study by a consulting company in Toronto predicts an average 8.3 per cent increase in the average IT worker’s salary. The good news for networking professionals is that the average salary in the computer-networking arena tends to fall above the average.

According to RHI Consulting’s 2001 RHI Consulting Salary Guide, the average salary for networking professionals in Canada will increase by approximately 8.3 per cent to 10 per cent this year.

“I think that there is upward demand in most IT areas. Again, it’s more specific to skills, though, because there are other positions within an IT area that are going to experience a four or five per cent increase,” said Stephen Mill, regional manager for Canada at RHI Consulting.

For instance, help desk and technical support professionals are going to be on the lower end of the spectrum, compared to those with more training and certifications under their belt, such as a Cisco certified networking professional.

Supply and demand is also playing a factor. There are not enough people qualified to fill positions in e-commerce development or networking engineering.

So where do individual skill sets fit in and how much more will networking professionals be taking home?

According to Mill, network managers can expect an increase of 8.5 per cent; Microsoft certified systems engineers can expect the average salary to increase by approximately 9.5 per cent; certified NetWare administrators will probably see the average increase by 9.5 per cent, as well; and Cisco certified professionals will probably see an even higher percentage increase. Network engineers fall into the 10 per cent range; network administrators will see the average salary go up by about nine to 10 per cent; and network architecture specialists will probably see an 8.7 per cent increase in the average salary.

According to one Windows NT LAN specialist working for a leading automotive manufacturer, his salary has increased by 50 per cent in the one and a half years he has worked as a networking professional.

“I myself received about a 12 per cent raise at the beginning of the year,” he said. According to his employer, he added, that raise was to bring him in line with the average salary for his position in the industry.

The survey reviewed the salaries of all levels of IT employment, from entry-level positions all the way up to chief technical officers. And while the average salary increase on the survey calculated to 8.3 per cent, some areas of IT can expect to see salaries increase by about 16.7 per cent.

“Our feeling is that the increases that we’re targeting for this year can’t come as surprising, and they’re really not a lot different than last year,” Mill said. “I think another comment that is probably relevant is that a lot of focus has been put on the current economy – what does that mean in terms of hiring or downward pressure, perhaps, on salaries? This is really not something that’s having an affect on the hiring within an IT area.”

Mill noted that new professionals should not expect top dollar from the time they enter the job market because experience still plays a role in someone’s salary.

And although it did not factor strongly in the survey’s findings, another thing to take into account is location. For instance, someone working in Toronto might take home a different salary than someone in Winnipeg.