IT starting salaries to stay flat in 2002

The days of ever-fatter paycheques for IT experts are over, according to a new study. U.S. starting salaries in the industry are expected to increase on average by just 0.1 per cent in 2002, compared to the 8.4 per cent rise forecast this time last year, said RHI Consulting Inc. in a statement on Dec. 6.

The low unemployment rate and competition for skilled employees led to steadily rising compensation in recent years, the researchers said. But the collapse of many dot-com companies and the overall weak economy have taken their toll.

Still, there are bright spots, with industries including health care, financial services and real estate predicting strong demand for IT professionals, RHI said, cautioning that hiring varies strongly among different regions of the U.S.

Some job categories can still expect pay rises, above all network security experts, whose base salary is projected to increase by an average of 3.4 per cent, RHI said.

As for specific job titles, the one with best prospects is applications architect, for which RHI predicts a 6.7 per cent increase in average starting salary compared to 2001. Coming in a close second are consulting and systems integration directors, who should see an average jump of 6.1 per cent.

Among the other IT professionals who are expected to command the best salary increases, according to RHI: