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DevOps pros get salary boost in spite of Covid squeeze

Although many businesses have tightened spending, digitisation is driving up salaries among DevOps professionals

The latest salary survey from Puppet has found that growing demand for digitisation is leading to an increase in salaries.

The survey of 2,200 technology professionals globally for Puppet’s State of DevOps report found that salaries increased across every region, despite widespread economic slowdowns and cross-industry layoffs. 

McKinsey recently reported that many organisations have accelerated their digital transformation initiatives by as much as three or four years during the pandemic. According to Puppet, this has led to higher salaries across industries, among both IT and engineering practitioners and managers.

The report also found that organisations that have already reached a higher level of DevOps evolution to compensate their employees at a higher rate than those whose DevOps evolution is less advanced.

Puppet’s research found that most of the pay difference between highly evolved and less-evolved companies benefits managers. Among managers working in companies with mature adoption of DevOps, 89% earn $75,000 or more, compared with 59% in companies that had the least maturity of DevOps.

The report’s authors wrote: “We were surprised to find that for practitioners, the chance of earning at least $75,000 per year changes very little from one level of DevOps evolution to the next.”

The study found that DevOps professionals gain some salary advantage in more-evolved DevOps organisations. Among respondents working at companies with highly evolved DevOps practices, 80% earn at least $75,000 per year while only 57% of respondents at companies with less evolved DevOps practices earn that much.

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In those working in companies with the highest level of DevOps maturity, Puppet reported that 22% earn between $100,000 and $125,000 per year, compared with 14% those companies with the least advanced DevOps.

“The pandemic brought into sharp relief the necessity of digital transformation and thereby the value of the skilled practitioners and managers who make that evolution possible,” said Alanna Brown, co-author of the State of DevOps report.

“We’re seeing higher compensation as a result of the increase in demand for these skills, with the most dramatic rise in salaries for engineers and practitioners working within the life sciences, pharmaceuticals and healthcare industries who, for the first time, are earning more than their counterparts in tech and financial services.”

When Puppet looked at the difference in salaries between different geographic regions, the survey reported that in Europe and the UK, there has been a slight increase of 5% to 34% in the proportion of IT professionals in the $55,000 and $75,000 salary bracket compared with 2019. In the US, the proportion of survey respondents in the $55,000 to $75,000 bracket remained at 29%. This figure remained the same as the proportion of IT professionals in the $55,000 to $75,000 salary bracket in the Puppet survey of 2019.

However, Puppet found that the proportion of US IT professionals in the $100,000 to $150,000 bracket jumped from 16% in 2019 to 22% in the latest survey. This compares with an increase of just 1% to 11% of European and UK IT professionals in the $100,000 to $150,000 salary bracket in 2019. 

Respondents working in life sciences, pharmaceuticals and healthcare (LSPH) were the top earners worldwide. In previous years, practitioners and managers in the financial services and technology spaces were the top earners. In fact, 64% of LSPH respondents earn more than $100,000.

Behind LSPH was the financial services industry, where 53% of respondents earned over $100,000, while those at technology companies trailed at 45%.

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