Foote Partners Reveal Trends in Tech Pay

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The bonus premium pay for IT certifications, which remained steady through 2001 and 2002, is finally falling due to economic conditions, according to a new report from Foote Partners on the market value of nearly 150 technical skills and certifications.




For 57 certifications covered by the “Quarterly Hot Technical Skills and Certifications Pay Index,” overall premium bonus pay fell 4.1 percent in the first six months of 2003, and fell nearly 6 percent in the prior 12 months, to an average of 7.7 percent of base salary in median bonus paid. The survey included 36,000 IT professionals in 1,820 North American and European employers. David Foote, president and chief research officer of Foote Partners, blamed an increase in outsourcing and especially outshoring for the downward pressure on skills and certification pay. Foote said that in the past, money for bonus pay has generally been used to retain and motivate workers. “As more work is transferred offshore or at least directed away from IT full-timers, premium pay becomes unnecessary.”




The greatest drop in premium pay for certifications has been for webmaster and Internet certifications, which fell 13 percent in 2003, and for beginner certifications like the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and CompTIA’s A+, which fell 13.6 percent. Premium bonus pay for database certifications has fallen 14.7 percent in the past 12 months. However, database certifications maintain their position as the highest-paying certifications group, averaging 9.7 percent of base pay, versus 7.7 percent for all certifications.




Certifications in project management, security, and systems administration/engineering and network operating systems certifications remain fairly strong. Project management certs increased in value by 6.7 percent. In fact, the highest-paying certification is still the Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), which averaged 16 percent of base pay at median. Security certifications saw a 2.3 percent increase, and systems administration/engineering and network operating systems credentials saw a premium bonus pay increase of 1.5 percent in the past 12 months.




Foote Partners research further indicates the trends over the next year. Skills and certifications in security, Linux, XML and Web services, VoIP, wireless, project management, Web-enabled analytics and management applications, SAP/ABAP and storage will see strong demand in the next year. 




For more information on the research, see




Speaking of salaries for certified IT professionals, Certification Magazine is now conducting its annual CertMag Salary Survey. The survey questionnaire will be open through Sunday, Sept. 14, so be sure to visit and enter your information. This confidential salary data will serve as the basis for an article in the December 2003 issue of Certification Magazine, as well as populate the CertMag Salary Calculator feature on




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Emily Hollis is associate editor for Certification Magazine. She can be reached at 

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