Storage salary survey shows pay rises by 3.75% in 2011

Storage salary survey: Pay rises by 3.75% in 2011 for UK storage professionals. Highest earners are well-educated, work in London and manage a lot of storage capacity.

The average storage salary in the UK in 2011 was £46,308. That’s a 3.75% increase on the 2010 salary of £44,638. UK storage professionals are confident their salaries will continue to rise at a similar rate and expect on average to earn £48,172 in 2012, a projected increase of 4%.

Neither of those increases keeps pace with UK rates of inflation. In fact, the only inflation UK storage managers are likely to see is in the amount of work they have to do. Respondents reported an average annual increase in the terabytes managed of 36% in 2011. Just under a quarter (24%) reported capacity increases of 21% to 30%, while 19% said they had experienced growth of between 31% and 40%.

Those are some of the findings of the 2011 Salary Survey, which questioned 299 people in consultant, IT director/manager and storage administrator jobs late last year.

The average survey respondent

Those who responded to the survey manage a mean average capacity of 89 TB. The largest number (28%), however, manage between 1 TB and 9 TB, while 23% manage between 10 TB and 49 TB, accounting for nearly half of all respondents. It’s the 15% who manage more than 250 TB that boost the average upwards.

For the largest number of respondents (38%) less than 10% of IT budget is spent on storage. For 19% it’s between 11% and 20% of IT budget. Only 8% spend more than 20% on it.

The average storage budget of respondents’ organisations is £1.3 million, although the largest cohort (35%) has less than £125,000 to spend, while those that spend more than £1 million total 18%.Around half of those questioned use iSCSI SANs (53%), Fibre Channel (52%) and direct-attached storage (48%), while NAS is in use with 68% of those questioned. Microsoft Windows is almost ubiquitous, being a supported platform for 97% of those who answered the survey. Linux is present for 55% of respondents and Unix for 41%, while mainframe users comprise 18% and NetWare 9% of those who responded.

What’s the best-paid UK region to work in storage?

The best-paid region to work for UK storage professionals on average is Northern Ireland (£54,875), followed by inner London (£51,412) and outer London (£51,029).

That Northern Ireland tops the league is quite surprising. It shows there are some well-remunerated storage jobs to be had there, but the average is skewed up by one or two high earners in a mere 7% of respondents.

Inner and outer London, however, account for 36% of those questioned so we can assume that average is a safer one. If we average the salaries of all those outside London, we get a figure of £44,141, which seems to accurately reflect the differential between the capital and the rest of the country.

Salary by region

Northern Ireland £54,875
Inner London     £51,412
Outer London    £51,029
North East £49,785
Southern England £47,739
East Midlands £45,857
Scotland               £42,200
West Midlands £41,954
South West £39,550
North West £36,886
Wales £30,000

What’s the best paid industry to work in storage?

According to the survey the best paid sectors to work in storage are Agriculture (£60,000), followed by manufacturing (£55,857), but here again average salaries are boosted upwards by some high earners among few respondents from those sectors.

Meanwhile, fourth-placed financial services with 13% of respondents had an average salary of £51,136 while fifth-placed IT services with 37% of respondents averaged £47,427.  Third-placed ‘other’ averaged £53,331 and represented 11% of respondents. 

Storage salary by industry sector

Agriculture £60,000
Manufacturing £55,857
Utilities £52,500
Financial services £51,136
IT services £47,427
Transport £47,250
Public sector £44,386
Media/publishing £39,000
Construction £37,500
Wholesale/retail £36,500
Education £33,722
Health   £32,000
Other £53,331

The best-paid work in larger organisations

Those whose job title is consultant are the best paid in our survey, with an average salary of £53,900. IT director/manager comes in second on £47,637 while storage manager/admin trails with £41,837.

It pays to work in a dedicated storage group. Here, average salary is £55,673, while working in the applications group comes second in terms of remuneration at £49,500, though fewer than 4% of respondents do so. The systems group is the next-best place to work (£47,084) while the least well-paid are in the networking group (£35,809).

This suggests that if you work in storage you’re likely to earn more in a bigger organisation. Larger organisations tend to be the ones with dedicated storage groups, while those that are later adopters of shared storage as distinct from direct-attached to servers are more likely to lump storage in with existing groups such as networking.

That you’ll earn more in a bigger organisation is borne out by the fact that the more terabytes you manage, the larger your remuneration is likely to be. Those who manage more than 250 TB earn the most (£55,994), while those who manage less than 1 TB earn the least, £37,700. In between those two poles, salaries rise with capacity managed.

Salary by TB managed

Greater than 250 TB £55,994
100 TB to 250 TB £48,547
50 TB to 99 TB    £49,666
10 TB to 49 TB    £42,970
1 TB to 9 TB £40,914
Less than 1 TB    £37,700

Experience and education count …

The number of years working in storage is also reflected in average salaries, with a generally upwards trend as experience increases. Those with between three and five years in storage clocked up an average remuneration of £44,208 in 2011. Meanwhile, between six and 10 years saw an average salary of £47,783 while those with more than 10 years gained £58,680 per annum. That earnings rise with experience is to be expected.

That said, most people (60%) who answered our survey said they planned to try to use their storage skills to seek other roles in IT, although 40% see themselves as staying within the discipline. Storage salaries rise according to educational attainment. The most well-paid storage professionals are those with post-graduate qualifications (£50,416) while the next most well-rewarded are those with bachelor’s degrees (£47,637).

Respondents commented (see box) on the difficulties of the job: getting bogged down in day-to-day nonstrategic work, dealing with difficult end users, unrealistic deadlines and workplace bureaucracy, although most complaints were not storage-specific.


Post-graduate £50,416
Bachelor’s degree £47,637
A levels £44,214
GCSEs/O levels £43,650

… But not specialised vendor knowledge

When it comes to the relationship between vendor certifications held and salaries earned, there’s perhaps only one conclusion that can be firmly drawn, and that is that there is none. Those with no vendor certifications earn an average of £46,488, which is more than those with two, three or four qualifications to their name. Oddly, however, those with one vendor exam under their belts earn the most on average, at £48,793.

Only 2.5% of those questioned felt certification had definitely helped their career. The largest number (48%) felt they had helped “somewhat” while 27% felt they had had not helped at all. It’s probably also true to say that the type of specialisation implied by vendor certification is not required for better-paid, more strategic posts so it’s quite possible to achieve the higher salaries without them, although a significant number will have gone through a stage in their careers where they prove useful. And in storage, gaining vendor certification has never been as big a deal as it is in other IT disciplines -- for example, networking.

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