IT salaries in local authorities grew at a greater rate than those in the private sector again last year, the Society of IT Management’s (Socitm) annual survey has revealed.
The salary survey, carried out for the public sector IT managers group by Computer Economics, compared the salaries of more than 5,000 IT professionals in 88 local authorities with those across all industries, using data from Computer Economics’ wider salary research.
The survey, now in its sixth year, found that local councils offered slightly higher percentage salary increases and a wider range of benefits than private sector employers.
The research showed an average 5% pay rise in local authorities, compared with 4.8% in the private sector. But the gap between increases in the two sectors has narrowed since last year, when local authority IT staff saw salaries rise by 4.8%, compared with 3.5% across all industries.
IT professionals working for fire services got the best deal, with increases of 6.7%, and district council IT staff saw salaries rise least, at 3.8%. The survey also found regional variations, with the lowest average pay rise in the South East of England (4.5%) and the highest in Wales (6.7%).
The research uncovered a sharp increase in recruitment problems in local authorities, with just over 50% of those surveyed reporting difficulties, compared with 31% last year. But private sector recruitment faced greater problems, with 74% of employers experiencing difficulties, up from 58% last year.
Socitm noted that local authorities were increasingly offering a package of staff benefits and flexible working in a bid to retain staff. It found that 99% of councils offer flexible hours and 75% allow selected staff to work from home.
Andy Roberts, chair of Socitm’s member services group, said, “As in past surveys, it is clear that while local authorities may not always offer the highest salaries, the overall package of benefits is generally very attractive. Local government remains a good place for ICT professionals to develop their careers.”