A new study by people3, a Gartner, Inc. company, reports that the average base salary for all IT jobs in 2002 is $67,900 (a 5.1 percent increase over 2001) and total cash compensation is $72,900 (a 6.1 percent increase over 2001).

The findings in people3's 2002 IT Market Compensation Study are based on research compiled from survey data submitted by 153 organizations and represent detailed compensation data for 33,771 IT employees within the United States.

"Quite often leadership is confronted with the conflicting goals of cutting costs, while at the same time providing their employees with competitive pay," said Diane M. Berry, vice president of research at people3. "While controlling compensation costs might provide a short-term financial benefit, the ramifications of losing top talent, especially people who possess skills or knowledge critical to the operation of a particular enterprise, far outweigh the monetary savings."

The study cited competitive market-based pay as the most effective retention practice in 2002 (it ranked fourth in 2001), while a competitive benefits package came in second with strong IT leadership and vision coming in third.

Other findings from the study include:

  • The positions that take the longest average time to fill are database administrator and security manager, requiring an average of 3.2 months to fill.
  • The skills for which companies reported the greatest difficulty in recruiting is UNIX, with Microsoft SQL Server coming in second and Java coming in third.
  • 69.3 percent of surveyed companies experienced a turnover rate of five percent or less in their IT department.
  • Employees with less than two years of service accounted for 40.9 percent of turnover, and employees with less than three years of service accounted for a total of 59.3 percent of turnover.

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