Salary levels for the highest level of IT managers in the United States and Canada have slipped for the first time since 1985, as they have been adversely affected by the recent economic downturn, according to a new study released Monday. However Canadian tech workers maybe better off than their U.S. counterparts, the study indicates.

Chief information officer (CIO) salary levels at large corporations have declined 36 per cent during the past year, while CIO’s at medium-sized companies have seen pay levels drop 31 per cent, according to a midyear 2001 study by management consulting firm Janco Associates in Park City, Utah. The study looked at IT manager compensation levels in the 75 U.S. cities and 28 cities in Canada.

As the U.S. economy worsens, mid-sized organizations are hit harder and are cutting costs and staff faster, said Victor Janulaitis, chief executive officer of Janco Associates, in a statement. Many larger organizations have imposed hiring freezes as well as stretching out the time period between normal compensation increases, he said.

But there’s better news for Canadian IT workers, Janulaitis said.

“The Canadian economy is not slowing down as much as the United States,” Janulaitis said. “In the Canadian IT sector there’s still aggressiveness in hiring whereas in the United States a lot of initiatives have been cut back.”

One reason why the hiring boom continues north of the border is that in Canada there still is a shortage of talent, said Janulaitis. This means that Canadians may find the local job market much more encouraging than the “tech hotbeds” of the sunny south.

“If I could give any advice to Canadian IT workers it would be don’t go to San Francisco. You can’t find a job in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles is pretty saturated too,” Janulaitis advised.

Reduced corporate earnings have driven the trend to lower total compensation, Janulaitis said. Decreased demand for IT professionals has occurred because of extensive head-count reductions to bolster earnings and avoid company closures, he said.

Janulaitis also noted that the energy crisis in California is having a severe impact on Silicon Valley as more companies are announcing closures, staff cuts and hiring freezes. This could play a future factor in IT manager salary levels, he said.

What are the top job prospects? “Anybody who has anything to do with cash, for example a java programmer with experience in credit card verification,” he said. “The other area in high demand is network security.”

The following is a chart provided by Janco Associates on compensation levels (all figures are in U.S. dollars).

Enterprise

Size

Position

Base

mean

Total

Mean

Prior

Benchmark

New

Benchmark

Pct

Change

Large

VP – Chief Information Officer (CIO)

$143,785

$166,566

$434,416

$317,699

-36.74%

Medium

VP – Chief Information Officer (CIO)

$132,550

$158,055

$490,559

$373,941

-31.19%

Large

VP – Consulting Services

$117,615

$122,074

$198,813

$163,869

-21.32%

Medium

VP – Technical Services

$114,439

$133,731

$268,784

$223,293

-20.37%

Medium

Project Manager – Applications

$70,433

$76,673

$167,039

$141,016

-18.45%

Large

VP – Technical Services

$121,381

$134,414

$240,616

$204,849

-17.46%

Large

Data Communications Manager

$63,903

$66,456

$74,489

$85,701

13.08%

Large

Data Security Administrator

$50,949

$51,666

$59,739

$69,681

14.27%

Large

E-Commerce Specialist

$64,875

$70,125

$67,833

$80,438

15.67%

Medium

E-Commerce Specialist

$60,500

$60,500

$60,300

$77,750

22.44%

Large

Project Manager – Network Technical Services

$68,924

$72,625

$89,518

$128,587

30.38%

Large

Average

$66,227

$70,318

$108,963

$108,275

Medium

Average

$61,097

$65,792

$113,224

$110,578

Janco Associates, in Park City, Utah, can be reached at http://www.e-janco.com/.

– With files from James Evans with the Boston Bureau of IDG News Service



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