Strengthening Economy, Competition for Skilled Candidates Driving Growth

Oct 26, 2005

MENLO PARK, CA -- Information technology (IT) professionals in the United States can expect starting salaries in 2006 to increase an average of 3 percent over 2005, according to the just-released Robert Half Technology 2006 Salary Guide.  Larger increases in base compensation are expected in high-demand specialties such as IT auditor, lead applications developer and network security administrator.  This compares to the 0.5 percent average increase in base compensation that was projected this time last year. 

Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis.  The annual salary survey is based on an in-depth analysis of thousands of job orders managed by the company’s U.S. offices.

“Recent gains in IT employment activity, teamed with a shallow candidate pool, are fueling competition for highly skilled individuals.  As a result, hiring managers are reassessing their compensation packages,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology.  “In addition, companies are accelerating the hiring process to avoid losing top candidates to competing employers.”

According to research conducted by the company, IT auditors will see the greatest starting salary increases of any single job classification in 2006, with base compensation expected to rise 11.2 percent, to the range of $67,000 to $94,250 annually.  “Greater focus on corporate governance mandates, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1999, is creating demand for this specialty,” Lee said.  “Individuals who can accurately and efficiently evaluate the capabilities of existing systems and make recommendations regarding upgrades will be highly marketable.”

The survey also revealed that base compensation for lead applications developers is projected to increase 5.3 percent in 2006, to between $72,000 and $98,250 a year.  Average starting salaries for network security administrators are expected to rise 5.2 percent, to the range of $67,500 to $94,750 annually.

Other key findings from the Robert Half Technology 2006 Salary Guide include:

  • Business systems analysts will earn average starting salaries of between $58,750 and $84,750 annually, an increase of 5.1 percent over 2005 levels.
  • Data analysts/report writers can expect base compensation in the range of $54,000 and $71,250, a gain of 5 percent over 2005 starting salaries.
  • Developers/programmer analysts will see starting salaries rise 4.6 percent to the range of $55,250 and $86,750 per year.
  • Base compensation for project managers will increase 4.2 percent, with starting salaries in the range of $72,750 to $99,250. 
  • Average starting salaries for quality assurance/testing managers will rise 2.6 percent to the range of $67,250 to $88,250 annually. 

Industries forecasting particularly strong demand for IT professionals in 2006 include manufacturing, business services, and banking and financial services.  However, hiring activity varies significantly by geographic region.  (All salaries listed are national averages.  A regional analysis of hiring trends and compensation variances is included in the Salary Guide.)

Information in the Salary Guide is based on the thousands of job searches, negotiations, and project and full-time placements made by Robert Half Technology recruiting specialists.  Continuing or ongoing salaries are not reported since seniority, performance, work ethic and other hard-to-measure factors can affect pay as individual work histories develop.

Organizations of all sizes and in all industries refer to the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide to help determine appropriate compensation levels for IT staff and to prepare annual budgets and business plans.  In addition, educational institutions and government agencies use the guide for research purposes. 

With more than 100 locations in North America and Europe, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network engineering and technical support.  Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at

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