An "IT Insider" Approach to Correcting
in IT Salary Surveys
Why IT salary surveys have big
problems...and how we fixed them.
evolving information technology jobs are often so unique in the universe of
business employment that using passive or self-reporting surveying methods to obtain compensation
benchmark data can yield extremely inaccurate results. That’s because of the
common (and dreaded) problem of lack of standardization in IT job titles and
what IT professionals actually do on-the-job.
These days it
is not uncommon to find specialists in .NET, Java, Python, Ruby on Rails,
SAP/ABAP, and dozens of other programming language skills classified under
"Programmer" or "Developer" titles for the purpose of
determining their compensation. Or Linux, Unix, NT,
Chrome, and mobile OS platform engineers and administrators lumped together under a
of "Engineer" job title.
The problem is that some skills are worth more in the marketplace than others so
doing simple job title matches to industry salary surveys can easily result in underpaying or overpaying IT professionals.
The job title
mismatch dilemma is an epidemic widely acknowledged by HR compensation
professionals and IT salary surveyors alike. It affects more than half of all employed IT workers by even the most
conservative estimates from HR departments.
Making the situation worse is that compensation surveys from the largest
HR consulting firms, including Towers Watson, Mercer, Hay, Hewitt/AON and
others, don’t offer a solution via their off-the-shelf products.
Employers must contract with them for expensive custom survey consulting.
Our solution in
1994 was to create a new methodology that produced the
first salary surveys in North America to define and accurately benchmark “new
breed" IT positions in Web/I-net, e-Commerce, Data Warehousing/Business Intelligence, Unix andNT, Business Technology/Business
Systems Analysts, Information Security, SAP and other enterprise software
The best part
about our unique methodology is that it corrects for
job title/job content mismatches by classifying surveyed participants
according to what they do on-the-job and matching them to a standardized set of
detailed job description. Only then do we input their compensatoin data in our
survey engine. Then all you need to do to get the most accurate market benchmark available
today is match your people to our job
labor-intensive and expensive way to achieve truly accurate and validated
compensation benchmarking. It requires a deep grounding in technology and
the nuances of IT professional employment. In addition to that grounding,
Foote Partners uses its unprecedented access to 224,300 IT professionals in
public and private sector employers to overcome many obstacles to
accurate tracking of IT compensation and workforce issues. Overall,
our methodology produces better data screening and cleansing,
superior statistical reliability and validity, and constantly refreshed
and consistent ‘real world’ salary and tech skills pay data. No other
IT compensation survey research firm today incorporates extreme validation and
accuracy methods similar to ours.
infrastructure positions originally formed the strong foundation for our
research, however Foote Partners’ competitive distinction has long been its
focus on critical new strategic and tactical IT-business
hybrid positions often unreported (or under-reported) in other IT surveys.
Findings are updated continuously and published every three months aided by our constant flow of confidential IT
compensation data from North American public and private sector employer HR
departments and IT, HR, and business executives research partners.
Our high-touch relationships with our
thousands of research partners have been forged over many years:
developed from among the clients, colleagues, and associates of our senior
research team of former McKinsey & Company, Towers Watson, Gartner and META
Group consultants and analysts. We have access not only to their IT compensation
databases but to management and rank-and-file workers, which facilitates the
matching of job content with comparable job titles that enables the
extraordinary accuracy and reliability of our surveys.
survey salaries and skills pay job-by-job, city-by-city: 202 positions, 85
cities in the United States and Canada. There are no geographic multipliers used
in our research, no cost-of-living coefficients. Ours is constantly refreshed
‘real world’ salary and skills pay data.
What we do that others don't
Many aspects of Foote Partners’
compensation data collection methodology set us apart from other IT salary
We are the only firm
in North America that corrects for IT job title/job content mismatches for
surveyed workers before
the survey data enters the data compilation phase.
All that is needed is for our customers to match their workers to
our detailed, long form job descriptions, which are regularly updated to
keep up with changing job content.
We survey and report
the market values of more than 870 IT skills and certifications. As with all Foote Partners
compensation surveys, we recompile and update
continuously and publish our surveys every three months.
So if you aren’t willing to re-title jobs to match actual content
but you need to differentiate
workers within a broad job title (such as "software engineer",
“developer” or "systems administrator"), you can use our
skills pay survey data to add at-risk pay or adjust base pay for the
various IT skills and certifications. You
can benchmark workers’ pay to what their job titles should be.
use no self reporting, no aggregated data sources or compilation of others'
surveys. Instead we
collect our data from 2,845 research partner organizations job-by-job, city-by-city,
continuously throughout the year.
benchmark surveys are created and maintained by an experienced team of
former Gartner and META Group industry analysts, McKinsey & Company
and Towers Perrin consultants, and former corporate HR, IT, and business
executives, who have unprecedented access to more
than 220,000 IT professionals.
We work closely with thousands of public and private sector
research partner organizations to correct salary survey problems,
beginning with job title/job content discontinuities. Overall,
our innovative methods produce better
data screening and cleansing, superior statistical reliability and
validity, and constantly refreshed and
consistent ‘real world’ salary and tech skills pay data.
As former senior
analysts and consultants at top IT analyst and business consulting firms
we have an insider's knowledge of evolving technology, human resource, and
business trends and drivers. We
keep a close watch on the evolution of IT jobs every environment: central
infrastructure; lines of business; and corporate departments and
functions. We have been tracking compensation and reporting on trends for
so-called 'hybrid' IT/business jobs since 1994.
critical labor market fluctuations and have an insider's knowledge of
evolving technology. We keep
a close watch on the movement of IT jobs in lines of business that bring
IT workers in continual contact with customers---the so-call 'hybrid' IT
jobs that now define the new breed of IT worker.
database can be used to generate custom surveys and reports on a variety
of IT and business management trends and better/best practices, serving as
the foundation for our consulting practices.
IT salary and cash bonus pay
from our quarterly IT
survey of more than 202 critical IT jobs are available in any combination for
up to 85 US and Canadian cities. Our
more than 3,600 salary and skills pay survey customers decide exactly what they need and how much to spend.
infrastructure positions form a strong foundation for our research, Foote
Partners’ competitive distinction has long been its focus on those critical
new strategic and tactical positions often unreported (or under-reported) in
IT surveys published by large firms such as Mercer, TowersWatson,
Hewitt/Radford/AON, and others. Findings are updated and published
every three months
accompany all orders so there’s no confusion.
For info on obtaining detailed long-form job descriptions see:
and skills pay
Foote Partners' Quarterly
IT Skills & Certifications Pay Index and Salary/Bonus and Skills
Pay Combination Reports are the popular choices for hundreds of employers
seeking to differentiate pay for workers possessing various technical
certifications or skills. The market values of 870 IT skills and certifications are compiled and published every three
months, with data from North American and European employers.
IT compensation data for our 2016 research findings were collected from 2,895 public and private sector organizations representing more than
40 private sector
industries plus government and educational institutions.
Data about 224,300 IT professionals are included in our continuously
The size of
the participating organizations, measured most appropriately for the type of
business, by revenues, assets, total premiums and operating budgets, are as
of participating organizations have $5 billion+ in sales/$15+ billion in total
of participating organizations earn more than $1 billion in annual revenues or
more than $5 billion in total
of participating organizations have $500+ million in sales/$1+ billion in
total assets/$500+ million in premiums/$500+ million operating budget
(government, educational, not-for-profit)
of participating organizations fall in the SMB (small-to-medium sized
business) segment, generally defined as organization under $500 million in
sector] 5% have operating budgets of $500 million or more,
[nonprofit/educational sectors] 4% with operating budgets $100 million to less
How do we get such accurate data in so many cities?
Since 1995 we have identified the key employers and
market players in 83 cities and labor markets, and enlisted them as Foote
Partners research partners. From our research partners we collect
salary and skills pay information continuously. Every three months we
update complete sets of salary
and skills data for all FP positions in that location. TOur bottom line: We will not release data
in any city until we have accurate representative data that have been verified and validated,
covering all IT positions and all skills and certifications in our general survey.
frequency and availability
We are the only source in
North America for continuous quarterly IT salary survey research. This has made Foote
Partners the popular choice for companies who know that while some IT positions
need annual surveying, others require more frequent comparisons to keep up with
volatile labor market segments.
Surveying during these months...
Produces research published...
(January, February, March)
(April, May, June)
(October, November, December)
January 15 (following year)