Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?

Susan Nunziata, Director of Editorial | 5/20/2014 | 95 comments

Susan Nunziata
Is it time to ask for a raise? If you're a female IT executive, or more than 55 years old, your answer might well be a resounding "Yes!" Let's take a look at highlights of the InformationWeek 2014 US IT Salary Survey, released May 19, to see how your compensation stacks up.

This far-reaching survey polled more than 11,000 respondents in all walks of IT life -- from admins and developers to C-level executives. The survey results are broken up into a series of reports on There's a wealth of valuable information here for those looking to hire as well as for those who are looking to advance their own careers.

For today, though, I'm looking only at one slice of the results: IT executives.

In this category, the survey received responses from 328 CIOs, 239 CTOs, and 447 VPs of IT. What interests me most is what the survey reveals about median compensation for IT executives "of a certain age" and for females in these leadership roles. Let's start with the basics: How much do IT leaders earn? The table below shows median compensation levels for each job title over the past three years.

Table 1: Median Total Cash Compensation*

 Title   2014   2013   2012 
CIO $163,000 $167,000 $161,000
CTO $131,000 $148,000 $129,000
VP of IT $163,000 $170,000 $156,000
*Includes any bonuses and direct cash payments in the last 12 months). Source: InformationWeek 2014 US IT Salary Survey: Executives, May 2014.

Pinpointing a single median salary is challenging, according to the report, because of the sheer number of industries and company sizes covered:

    The median total cash compensation — $163,000 for CIOs and VPs of IT and $131,000 for CTOs — hides a big spread industry to industry, and within sectors. Among consulting and business services, one of the largest groups in our survey, base salaries range from $25,000 to $400,000. We saw similar disparity among IT vendors, financial services firms, and government and education.

With that caveat in mind, the report does reveal some good news for IT executives aged 46 to 55; survey respondents in this age group were the best compensated among their peers.

This lines up with the median number of years respondents have served in IT: 22 for CIOs, 21 for CTOs, and 20 for VPs of IT. The survey results also belie the myth that CIO jobs are short-term positions; the median amount of time respondents have been with their current companies is seven years. In addition, the vast majority of CIO respondents (73 percent) have worked at only one or two companies in the past 10 years.

Table 2: Annual Median Base Salary by Age

 Title   26-35*   36-45   46-55   Over 55 
CIO $118,000 $121,000 $175,000 $157,000
CTO $90,000 $120,000 $134,000 $135,000
VP of IT $112,000 $140,000 $153,000 $138,000
*Low base of respondents; use with caution. Source: InformationWeek 2014 US IT Salary Survey: Executives, May 2014.

When it comes to gender, median total compensation for male respondents is $25,000 higher than for females. According to the report, median total compensation for the 997 male IT executives responding to this survey was $160,000, compared with $135,000 for the 101 female respondents. Among VPs of IT, male respondents earn $139,000 compared with the $125,000 earned by their female counterparts.

Table 3: Annual Median Base Salary by Gender

 Title   Male   Female 
CIO $143,000 $130,000
CTO $145,000 $133,000
VP of IT $139,000 $125,000
Source: InformationWeek 2014 US IT Salary Survey: Executives, May 2014.

We'll be covering additional highlights from the InformationWeek 2014 US IT Salary Survey in the weeks ahead. Meanwhile, tell us what you think. Are these results going to send you rushing into the executive offices demanding a pay raise? Or do these median salaries help you feel better about how you're compensated in your own career? Tell us about it in the comments field below.

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mejiac   Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?   5/31/2014 11:30:47 PM
Re: Company size and region

I've seen this happens most often when full time employees coast in a current positionl. They feel comfortable and no need to induce any type of change. But when the company needs to keep competitive, that's when the workforce is looked at to determine what's missing, and most of the times is new knowledge, new skill set.

mejiac   Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?   5/31/2014 11:26:35 PM
Re: Is It Time to Ask for a Raise

Correct....I've seen consultants bounce back and forth to the same company, mainly beacause at first they thought the new opportunity would provide the next step, but 6 months later is not up to expectations...but because the relationship that was made was so healthy, that person returned with open doors.
Broadway   Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?   5/31/2014 10:03:26 PM
Re: Is It Time to Ask for a Raise
@meijiac, you share wise advice. Particularly when it comes to never letting a relationship fade or dissolve into acrimony --- whether that was a past client or employer. You never know what simply reaching out to an old colleague and acquiantance can do ---- can lead to all sorts of new open doors that you may never have found otherwise.
mejiac   Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?   5/31/2014 5:10:13 PM
Re: Is It Time to Ask for a Raise

I think it's more of a fact of life that a recurring issue.

In my book, there is no job security, doesn't matter the company you work for (big or small, full time, part time, consultant, free lance), at the end of the day, when they need to slash numbers, overhead is the first to go.

And starting your own company can take years before you can really start to see decent profit levels and establish a steady cash flow.

I think the best approach is to be as proactive as possible:

- Keep up with business and tech trends (continue education)

- Maintain healthy relationship with headhunters, collegues and other companies you worked in the past.... things take a turn fast and you never know if one of those relationships can provide good leverage

- An as always...CYA

Aside from having a good savings practice, this can lead to a low turn over if you're in the market looking.
mejiac   Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?   5/31/2014 5:05:38 PM
Re: Company size and region

Oh budget WAS the first thing to go. The work around was to establish more browng bag and small 1-hour sessions taught by the senior staff (more related to knowledge sharing), but it has been able to establish a standard base of know how amoung the group.
mejiac   Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?   5/31/2014 5:03:51 PM
Re: Is It Time to Ask for a Raise

Agreed, being a consultant those have it's risk associated to it, reason why when at an assignment for an extended time is very favorable to have an agressive savings strategy.

And for being an entrepreneur, it's such a grey area, in the sense that it's really not clear the level of success you may have, since there are so many variables that can have both a positive and negative impact.

From what I'm seeing, it comes a point at a career level that can easilly compensate pursuing a more consultant type of role than that of an entreprenuer.
StaceyE   Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?   5/31/2014 4:42:52 PM
Re: I think the thing that surprises me the most..
@ Susan

Thanks for the great information in this article!
eethtworkz   Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?   5/31/2014 4:08:35 PM
Re: Is It Time to Ask for a Raise

This consultant Gig is a Rough-Ride and most certainly isnt for everyone.

You need to learn to effectively Save Money(for the Downtimes when they come) and be prepared to always be on your Toes.

Otherwise,a Typical 9 to 5 job works best for most folks.

Not everyone is cut out to be an Entrepreneur inspite of the Romance associated with it.

kstaron   Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?   5/31/2014 3:33:46 PM
Re: Company size and region
It's great your company does that. often in a recession the first thing to go is training and continuing education. It leave the employees scrambling to keep up trying to learn the new programs, software, or techniques on their own, which unfortunately means there's a corresponding lack in productivity as each person has to bootstrap themselves past the learning curve to get anything done.
impactnow   Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?   5/31/2014 12:17:01 PM
Re: Is It Time to Ask for a Raise
Do you find job security an issue?
Page 1 / 10   >   >>

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