CIO salaries lag as work multiplies

Lack of adequate resources ranks high on list of frustrations
By Bernie Monegain
10:50 AM

As the healthcare CIOs responsibilities multiply, the CIO pay – typically six figures – lags, according to a new survey from SSi Search, a retained, executive search firm. However, as the survey indicates, for healthcare CIOs, it’s not about the money, it’s about the pressure and the help they need – help that is often hard to find.

[See also: Talent shortages threaten IT momentum.]

The survey results titled "Healthcare’s Million Dollar Man," note that both the HITECH Act of 2009 and healthcare reform have put unprecedented pressure on the CIO and IT team to execute major technology changes within their organizations.

"These are arguably some of the greatest changes to impact modern healthcare in America," the report notes, "and both are dependent on technology."

[See also: War on talent about to begin in healthcare IT.]

According to SSi Search, the typical healthcare CIO today is a highly educated male who has served in the role for 10 years and earns $286,000. The survey drew 178 responses. Of the respondents:

  • 82 percent were male
  • 97 percent have a college degree
  • 61 percent have a master’s degree

Total compensation ranged from less than $125,000 to more that $725,000 per year.

While it might be expected that increased responsibilities would result in greater compensation, the survey found that was not the case.

The majority of respondents, 38 percent, reported an increase in compensation of 10 percent or less over the past four years.

A 2013 CHIME survey, which drew 263 respondents, indicated CIOs received less than a 3 percent raise to their base salary.

"One thing is clear," the survey report notes: "The CIO’s workload has outpaced compensation since HITECH."

But, salary does not appear top of mind for CIOs.

More than half report that current compensation is "good - in line with expectations."  However, 12 percent indicated compensation was "significantly worse" and must be adjusted or they would look for work elsewhere.

"In our study we found that the majority were really OK with compensation: that's not what's bothering them," SSi-Search Managing Partner Pamela Dixon told Healthcare IT News. "First of all, CIOs really want to be a CIO. They are really focused on getting the job. They are not focused on making a ton of money. They want to excel at what they do. They're really focused on having the right team to support the ability to continue to deliver good results. That's No. 1. They want more and/or better qualified resources."

Find the full report here.