UK IT staff earn less than foreign counterparts

IT professionals in the UK earn less than their counterparts in Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Canada and the US,...

IT professionals in the UK earn less than their counterparts in Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Canada and the US, research has revealed.

The UK is ranked outside the top 10 in the total pay league table, according to a comparison of IT salaries in medium-sized companies across the world.

The results indicate that there has been a significant change in the IT jobs market in the UK, with IT professionals no longer able to demand higher pay rates than many other professions.

"It used to be that IT staff could demand a 20% or 40% premium over the average wage. That was in the late 1990s. That is no longer the case," said Anthony Miller, research manager at Ovum Holway.

An oversupply of IT professionals in the UK means that IT staff now earn average salaries compared to pay rates for other professions. In contrast, high IT premiums overseas mean that IT staff in some countries can earn significantly more than professionals in other fields, the survey revealed.

Overall, IT staff in Belgium can earn 15% more than UK IT staff, US staff get 39% more, German staff 51% more and those in Switzerland get 77% more, a survey of 3, 390 organisations, representing a workforce of 43,100, revealed.

"There is no IT premium in the UK. If you look at what we have done in the UK to swell the number of technically educated graduates, it is not surprising. In other parts of the world there is still a shortage of IT staff," said Mark Edlesten, head of reward consultancy at Mercer Human Resource Consulting, which conducted the survey.

The overcapacity is strongest at senior levels, the survey found, with IT managers in the UK likely to earn almost 10% less than managers with equivalent skills and experience in other professions.

"There is a glut at the top end. A lot of people have been laid off. There is an overhang of people looking for work," said Philip Virgo, strategic advisor to the Institute for the Management of Information Systems.

Despite the pay differentials, language and cultural differences mean there is unlikely to be an exodus of UK IT staff, said Edelsten.

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