IT professionals to see jump in starting salaries in 2011

By Molly Merrill
10:46 AM

Information technology professionals in the United States can expect starting salaries to increase an average of 3.4 percent in 2011, according to the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide 2011.

The healthcare industry is forecasted to see a particularly strong demand for IT professionals in the next year.

"We've seen a strong demand for IT professionals, from developers to help desk, to assist with the conversion to electronic medical records," said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology.

Robert Half Technology is a provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis. The annual salary survey is based on an in-depth analysis of the thousands of job placements managed by the company's U.S. offices. Since compensation varies by geographic region, the Salary Guide provides regional variance data to help hiring managers adjust starting salaries for their specific markets.

According to the Salary Guide, web designers will see the greatest starting salary gains of any job classification in 2011, with base compensation expected to rise 5.5 percent, to between $50,750 and $83,000  annually.

"With social media being closely tied to an organization's success, there is strong demand for skilled web designers who can create customer friendly web experiences," said Reed. 

Currently only 10.3 percent of hospitals are engaged in social media, but analysts say they will account for the greatest growth in social media by 2014.

"If your audience is in the social spaces, then you need to be there too," Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communications advised hospital executives at a Web seminar hosted by CareTech Solutions this summer. "If you don't have content there, then you fundamentally don't exist for most of those people."

Other key findings from the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide 2011 are:

  • Base compensation for ERP technical developers – who tailor ERP software for their organizations – is projected to increase 5.2 percent next year, to a range of $79,250 to $109,500. 
  • Average starting salaries for business intelligence analysts will rise 5 percent, to the range of $82,500 to $116,250 annually.
  • Data modelers can expect base compensation in the range of $80,750 to $111,250, a gain of 4.5 percent over 2010.
  • Network managers will see average starting salaries rise 4.3 percent, to the range of $79,250 to $109,500 per year.
  • Base compensation for IT auditors will increase 4.2 percent, with starting salaries of $77,750 to $108,000 annually, on average. 

"A focus on improving efficiency, managing assets and securing data has increased the demand, and base compensation for IT professionals with ERP and security credentials," added Reed.