SOX boosts IT salaries

A recent survey from Robert Half Technology says the demand for SOX auditors will help drive industry salaries up in 2006.

A recent report from Robert Half Technology offers fresh evidence that IT auditors are a hot commodity. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based staffing firm projects that starting salaries for IT auditors will jump 11.2% in 2006, to between $67,000 and $94,250, almost four times the average pay hike predicted for all IT jobs.

The reasons for this uptick are easy to spot. Corporate governance mandates such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act continue to drive demand for IT auditors, the firm said.

"Individuals who can accurately and efficiently evaluate the capabilities of existing systems and make recommendations regarding upgrades will be highly marketable," said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a release.

The pay hike for IT auditors was the biggest by far for any single job classification in the report, which is based on an analysis of job orders at Robert Half Technology's 100-plus U.S. offices. The next biggest increase -- for lead applications developers, network security administrators and business systems analysts -- hovered around 5%.

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According to the report, the IT industry as a whole is predicted to see a 3.5% salary jump in 2006, a significant improvement over the 0.5% predicted last year. One reason that 2006 is expected to improve over 2005 is that companies are adding jobs at a faster rate than last year, said the firm's Lee, to "avoid losing top candidates to competing candidates."

Industries forecasting the strongest demand for IT professionals include manufacturing, business services, and banking and financial services. But the report cautioned that hiring activity varies significantly by geographic region.

Biggest winners in 2006 include:
  • Lead applications developers, starting pay will range from $72,000 and $98,250, up 5.3% over last year.
  • Security administrators, $67,500 to $94,750, up 5.2%.
  • Business system analysts, $58,750 to $84,750, up 5.1%.
  • Data analyst/report writers, $54,000 to $71,250, up 5%.
  • Developers/programmer analysts, $55,250 and $86,750, up 4.6%.
  • Project managers, $72,750 to $99,250, up 4.2%.

Among the upper echelon of administrative jobs, chief security officers can expect the biggest salary hike next year -- a 4.1% increase -- with base pay ranging from $95,250 to $138,750. Chief technology officers will see pay hikes of 2.3%, with base pay in 2006 ranging from $96,750 to $153,000. CIOs should see base pay increase 1.8%, earning between $114,750 and $196,000.

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