back to article IT salaries down and out

A survey of advertised IT salaries reveals a slight fall since last year, with little prospect of increases in the immediate future. Researchers looked at 6,000 advertised positions and found the average salary for a permanent IT position is now £36,092, down one per cent on last year. All the ads appeared in the first quarter …


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  1. Yorkshirepudding

    epic fails all round

    i was asked to take 10% paycut last month which clobbers me as im already paid peanuts for talking to idiot users, time to abandon ship?

  2. Lionel Baden

    who are these people

    getting paid shovel loads of money

    Cause its sure as hell not your standard IT worker (outside london)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ who are these people

    It's not in London either. In fact has anyone here actually seen much of a pay rise over the last 10 years ?

    I would blame out sourcing, but pay is bad there as well, as is conditions, and how many of us (including out sourcers) have been told that our salaries are sector competitive and stop the bean counters moving everything to India.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ Yorkshirepudding

    I think the correct answer there would be a polite "NO" to your boss, and a little bit of looking for a new job...

    @Lionel - yes I work in London, but I'm pretty much average if this is to be believed and the figure takes into account bonuses and total earnings...

  5. Daniel

    Agency figures

    Agencies always advertise consistently at the high end of any pay range. They get a dollop of cash that represents 20% of the candidate's starting salary, so they always try and talk the market up, for that reason. Whenever I've been looking for work, it's been as thought the agent was sitting between the employer and me, controlling what message went backwards and forwards, regarding starting salary. I imagine, with greater competition, most agents are pitching more and more candidates at the same roles, so many of them are aiming their prices lower, to try and get the deal, simply because 20% of anything is worth more than 20% of nothing.

    In an ideal world, a candidate would start at probationary rates and then be awarded a post-probationary pay rise, based on proven preformance. As it is, companies get asked to stump up full salary starting schemes, while being deluged with the CVs of people who don't know that Javascript isn't the same thing as Java, from agents who don't realise that clients looking for XML specialists might be interested in someone with experience in SOAP.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Average salary

    means just that... some get paid more, and some get paid less. Seems a reasonable figure to me, in my part of the country (not London), anyway.

  7. Inachu
    Dead Vulture

    It is the law firms who are hand in hand with HR.

    Lots of companies with want ads but lets say you match the ad they are posting by 99.9% and you do not have that 1% skillset then you are not hired but whereas an H1B visa holder can just have 75% of those skillsets and be hired full time at reduced pay.

    This is why certification is worthless. The more certs you have the more you have to match the skillset they want whereas I have none and can do it all but have to put up with these H1B.

    The sad story of H1B is once they get american citizenship and get full time then they will be fired or replaced by a H1B who does not aspire to become a US citizen.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    £36,000- whu?

    "... the average salary for a permanent IT position is now £36,092"

    As a developer, designer, techie along with all the other responsibilities and jobs i get landed with I don't think I'll ever be on money like that, unfortunately for me.

  9. Tim Schomer
    Paris Hilton

    @ Yorkshirepudding

    Possibly worth mentionning to the boss that, if like me, you haven't had a pay rise in the last few years, then compared with the cost of living your salary is already more than 10% reduced.

    Only way I'd accept this is to have it in writing that when things recovered I'd get the 10% back with interest and a noticable rise as well. (effectively meaning I'm lending the company 10% of my salary until times improve, which they have to pay back as soon as they can).

    Paris, 'cos I don't think she'd be happy with any less than she's getting....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >£36,000- whu?

    >As a developer, designer, techie along with all the other responsibilities and jobs i get landed with I don't think I'll ever be on money like that, unfortunately for me.

    Ditto, these "average" numbers seem the stuff of dreams.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Yay. I rock, you lot must suck

    Because I earn (way) more than average.

    Anon because I might work with you :P

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £36K per year?

    I was earning more than that 15 years ago (and that's in Yorkshire) - anyone who thinks it's an unachievable target needs to look for a new employer!

  13. Adam

    Where are these jobs?

    I wish my PHP job paid anywhere close to £36,000

  14. sleepy

    Being a grumpy layabout is more fun than working

    . . . and you get the satisfaction of contributing less towards MP's second homes, fake tudor beams, banking subsidies etc.

    The closest I've come to employment in IT for the past ten years is writing comments here! It no longer makes sense to move from project to project in the crowded, expensive south east in order to earn a plausible salary, with skills which are easily the match of a GP's or solicitor's, but are short lived (IT skills must be constantly updated), now underpaid, and unprotected by the closed shop with restricted entry that keeps the earnings of the "professions" high.

    Employers are in any case largely unable to tell the difference between the best and the worst, despite the difference amounting to maybe a 60-fold ratio in problem solving productivity between best and worst.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I that lucky?

    I work outside London as a developer in a full-time position and my salary is around £55K. Surely for every snotty-nosed web designer right out of college there's an experienced developer on £60K or thereabouts? Or have I got the wrong idea about salaries in this sector? I admit, it's been a while since I was on a job hunt.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Have things dropped that much?

    As an Outer London based employee from 1998 to 2000 I was on an overall package (inc car, pension etc) worth approx £50K.

    Surprised to see only £36K now being quoted.

    As I am self-employed I can no longer compare things. But I wouldn't be happy accepting a full time employed position at that rate - although it would be nice to get paid holidays, sick days, etc!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Critical skills is the answer

    Salary depends on what you do. If you're a Windows admin, code cruncher, help desk techie, etc., you aren't worth much. The world teams with people with these sckills and outsourcing these activities is cheaper. However, if you are a Big Iron admin or DBA, with years of experience, a systems architect, software engineer, etc., you're still in high demand and can ear very good money.

  18. Seb


    Doubt I'll ever see that working in a school IT support dept.

    Maybe I should become an MP?

  19. Mike Holden


    "Lots of companies with want ads but lets say you match the ad they are posting by 99.9% and you do not have that 1% skillset then you are not hired"

    The missing 1% (sic) being the ability to add up to 100?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Monkeys get paid peanuts. If you are a helpdesk chimp then you aren't going to get paid as much as the grown ups, that's just a matter of fact.

    Oh and recruitment agencies are scum and serve no purpose in a world with sites like Monster and Totaljobs (and El Reg's own wonderful job site).

  21. Trevor Woolnough
    Paris Hilton


    I think we techie developers are dinosaurs awaiting extinction. Offshoring and the recession will continue to put a downward pressure on salaries for more years. I reckon its been downhill for the last 5 years or more. Paris as she knows about going down..

  22. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    36K ?

    Wow where do I sign up?

    4 yrs apprenticeship

    10yrs+ of experience

    2 yrs of university

    gets you 21K in the CNC metal bashing business...............

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Yay for me too

    While some might find this figure high, but I would be offended if I got paid as little as £36k for my job. I suspect that figure was for desktop support guys, not datacentre and security guys like me.

  24. Chika

    @AC (Monkeys)

    Define a helpdesk chimp these days! Some helpdesk chimps are expected to be able to be able to solve every single problem at the first point of contact and sweep up behind them with that handy broom up their arses. The trouble is, and I think I speak for many and not just for the tea party, that the people making the decisions on pay often don't know how much goes into a decent IT operation, whatever the level.

    As the computer becomes yet another white good, just as the television did before it, the radio before that and so on, the average pleb boss considers the support of said kit a menial task and awards a salary reflecting his perception of the job. Everything can be done in a couple of key clicks and can be done yesterday, yet I don't see said pleb boss getting his hands dirty!

    As for the guy earlier with his thoughts about recruitment consultants, he obviously never heard that you should never trust them any further than you could comfortably spit a rat. If helpdesk folk are monkeys, then RCs are snakes!

  25. Anonymous Coward

    It is true ... IT pay is not as good as it once was

    I was paid more (well the same) fifteen years ago -- daily rates are the same now as they were in the 90's. In addition, I often got paid to attend interviews then, whether I took the job or not.

    I once got £400 to just go and be interviewed by a pharma corporation (around 1995, I think) and this was because they regarded me as a professional person and the trip to the interview was something they felt ought to be compensated for at a professional rate whether I took the job or not. It was just a short train journey from where I lived and didn't accrue any other expense. To be fair it was more a consultation and a civilised chat than an interview but it did determine whether or not they offered me the job. They did in the end.

    Maybe I'm just an old square from the past but today "interviews" are usually conducted (or should I say "committed") by the most dull, self-aggrandising ignoramuses it has been my misfortune to meet.

    How times have changed!

  26. Doug Glass

    The Engineer's Song

    Like I told the engineer way back when, "If you going to take their money, do their job. If all you can do is bad mouth the company, if it's that bad why are you still here?".

    If it's so bad, get the hell out. Should be a wise move since IT people are so good and so much in demand.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the up over the pond.

    Im currently trying to recruit a simple Server engineer / Sys Admin guy over in Atlanta.

    Starting salaries for this type of work around ATL is 85,000 US Dollars. With many recruits demanding 100k or more.

    I think i need to more to the US.....

  28. raving angry loony

    firing the wrong group

    Companies would save shitloads of money if they ditched the useless HR recruiting firms and found their own candidates. Hell, they'd probably get a better quality of candidate, since these firms ONLY look at keywords and buzzwords rather than any evidence of actual skill.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    @Trevor Woolnough - Dinosaurs

    Yeah, some of us old dinos still work on mainframes. There are a lot of people telling us we're going away. We've been "going away" for the last 30 years. The biggest problem is they really aren't training a lot of folks to take our place after the next big extinction.

  30. Martin Nicholls
    Gates Halo


    "Or have I got the wrong idea about salaries in this sector?"

    I'd suspect it's a combination of that, getting a bit lucky, where you live and timing.

    As an experienced developer I don't earn anything even close to the average mentioned, but my living costs are very very low so I could afford to take a job with an interesting company writing exciting product. I consider myself lucky getting a new job at the pay I got given the current times but I'm fairly sure the numbers in this article are wildly skewed over national numbers - I know for sure I couldn't even dream of living in London on what I get paid though.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    offshore pressures

    Ive seen the offshore pressure affecting all of the market sectors, I contract and in a very specialized niche and we're seeing less emphasis on doing things properly and much more on doing them cheaply with everyones lust for results and not to pee off the board at end of year figures time. So a lot of what would have been done properly onshore has gone offshore just to massage the figures in a bid to not be slayed by the city on shareprice at results time.

    The problem is the phb's cannot really see the difference in the end product, don't understand theyre putting stuff out thats not really fit for purpose and running the companies into the ground.

    It will probably take several years for the bad companies to reap the rewards of what they are sowing now to stay alive, and be replaced by a new batch of people wanting to do things properly who wont do stupid things like allowing nobody technical to speak to the staff resourcing dept or recruit people by name/reputation direct, at which point there will be another equivalent of the .com boom when the majority of the trainwrecks stop happening, some market confidence comes back to IT projects and all those plumbers will suddenly be IT workers once more, and all the IT recruitment agency staff will stop being estate agents again!

    To all the developers agog at the numbers, its often said that our specialized team all STARTED off as developers many years ago. Times are hard, but its about now you should be rounding off your skillset and taking a look at the next few rungs on the ladder.

    Have to say, if someone offered me 36k for my next role, Id take a year off instead, but I have worked my arse off through the ranks getting to my fortunate position...

  32. Anonymous Coward

    High Pay

    Certification are usually a waste of time. Experience is what counts.

    If I was to be certified for everything I do, I would need to spend a month taking exams. Technology moves so fast though that any exam is usually out of date a year or two after it's been written. I don't have time for that. In the current scheme of things you have to know where to find your help and you need to know how to use it and apply it. (I have huge and expensive cisco books on the shelf, but I never use them because the Cisco site contains more info. I have another £40 book on networking from 20 years ago - but it only has a cpl of paragraphs on tcpip!)

    Certificates etc - there are ppl that make money by sitting the same exams many times (each time with a different name on the paper) When I was at uni, on one of the exam papers, the invigilator asked a baby and the babysitter to move further apart. When the baby complained he was moved to the front and only scored 10% on that paper - his other papers were 80% or more. I've worked with plenty of idiots who clearly have not passed their exams - or if they have then they have quickly forgotten what they learnt, or never understood stuff in the first place.

    When companies like Amazon, Google, IBM, Plusnet, Tiscali and Tesco mess up big style, you have to question the quality of their staff - far too cavalier. These are the ones that need sacking in the current climate.

    People working in the IT industry need to realise that their jobs are always on the line. Anything which can be done remotely will for large companys be done remotely. I've heard of pay rates as low as $2 per hour so that might explain why some of the large companies who are keen on outsourcing are having such a hard time of it at present. Righsourcing, leftsourcing, upsourcing, downsourcing, insourcing, subcontracting, downcontracting, etc - it's always cheap labour.

    A large uk telco, popular with some large banks btw - they make many mistakes. I know a lot of the techies and asked them about some of the mistakes. Yep, outsourced.

    HP. Started with just a few guys in a shed. Google started with a cpl of lads and a garage. This could be a model for the future. Outsource everything - design, manufacture, support, marketing, accounting, sales, distribution, warehousing. All you need is a couple of guys to pay the big wad of dosh called profits to. (Profits, who needs them? Pay yourself a big wad of dosh anyway while the gravey train rolls - and preferably before anyone looks under the rug.)

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Amazed at the number of people resigned to not earning more

    From the previous posts it looks like a lot of IT people at not earning the average and never expect to earn the average, so the average is going to stay low.

    Why not upskill and get a better job. People are happy to pay out of their own pockets for leisure activities. Golf lessons, gym memberships. But, when it comes to doing soemthing that will increase their earning potentialy they expect their employer to pay up.

    Why not invest some of your own free time and money so you can get a better job and earn more money then you can pay for more golf lessons, Xbox games, techie t-shirts, odd bits of kit from random websites...

    It's not alwys your employers job to improve your earning potential.

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