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Hard work, good pay

Network professionals are enjoying substantial increases in pay, especially at the highest- and lowest-tier job titles.

By Joanne Cummings, Network World
July 25, 2005 12:03 AM ET

Network World - Everyday, you work to ensure your network flawlessly supports your organization's mission-critical business processes. And when payday rolls around, your reward justifies the effort. Network executives saw their base pay increase 5.1% in 2004, reaching $110,620, according to Network World's 2005 Salary Survey of 2,430 respondents, conducted with researchers King, Brown & Partners. In fact, the numbers look good all around. When adding in bonuses, stock options and other benefits to base pay, network executives - those with senior-level titles (senior vice president/vice president of MIS/IT/IS/DP) - pulled in $131,170 in total compensation. That's an increase of 3.9% over last year's $126,240, especially healthy compared with the 2.8% rate of inflation that reported for 2004.

Respondents at the highest and lowest tiers - CIO and staff - saw the biggest gains. For instance, those at the CIO level report that total compensation increased from $133,480 to $143,880 - a whopping 7.8% - while respondents at the staff level report total compensation increases of 5.2%, up from $67,920 in 2004 to $71,480 in 2005.

Bonus increases followed a similar pattern. Network executives report average bonuses of $14,910 in 2005, an increase of just 0.4% over 2004. Those at the CIO-level report smaller dollar-amount bonuses ($13,590) but a bigger percentage increase (18.2%) over last year's bonus numbers. Staffers, on average, received a huge 15% increase in bonuses, totaling $2,370.

Network executives actually saw a decline in stock compensation, down 6.2% to just $2,420 this year. CIOs reported a modest stock increase of 1.7% to $4,690, while staffers saw a 12.5% increase in stock compensation to $630. In the "other income" category, which includes items such as car allowances, pay premiums (for overseas work, for example), and income such as consulting fees, network executives reported a 7.6% increase to $1,410, whereas CIOs reaped nearly double the increase, 13.6% or $1,840. Staffers reported a 9.3% increase to $940.

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One theme for 2005 is that network executives are trying to do more work without increasing staff head count. As such, respondents say, they are making sure the few staffers they have are happy, at least monetarily. "We're running a fairly tight ship nowadays. My group has not changed in size since I got here a year ago, but we're working with at least 20% more systems now, and we're trying to keep people happy and keep them around," says Joel Hofman, assistant vice president and senior network engineer at JRI America, the New York IT subsidiary of financial services firm Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

Thus, bonuses have increased substantially for staffers, he adds. "We're trying to keep fixed costs such as salaries down but are making up the difference in variable costs such as bonuses," Hofman says.

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