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Executive Editor

4 job skills that can boost networking salaries

Sep 27, 20174 mins

Survey: Most network architects, network managers, and network engineers will land six-figure salaries in the coming year

The coming year looks promising for IT pros on the hunt for new positions. Employers are forging ahead with hiring plans, and it remains a job-seeker’s market. IT salaries are set to increase in 2018, particularly for talent that possesses hard-to-find skills.

In the networking arena, certain skills will be especially lucrative – Cisco network administration, Linux/UNIX administration, VoIP administration, and Windows, according to Robert Half Technology.

Job candidates with these four in-demand talents may see an additional 5% to 10% bump in starting salary, according to the recruiting and staffing specialist’s 2018 Salary Guide.

The report dissects the salaries of more than 75 tech positions, including eight networking and telecommunications roles and two network-specific security roles. Among the 10 network and telecommunications roles, network architects will be paid the most in the coming year, Robert Half Technology says.

The most experienced network architects can expect to land salaries of $190,000 in 2018. This pay level represents the high end (95th percentile) of compensation for network architects. By comparison, network architects in the 75th percentile can expect to see starting salaries of $160,750, the 50th percentile can expect $134,000, and the 25th percentile will earn $112,750, according to the guide.

This is the first year that Robert Half Technology is breaking down compensation ranges by percentile in its annual salary guide. The categories are designed to help hiring managers weigh a candidate’s skills, experience level, and the complexity of the role when making an offer.

Candidates who merit top pay will have a high level of expertise, including specialized certifications, while the job role will likely be highly complex and more strategic in nature than usual, according to the firm’s analysis. At the top level, there’s likely to be high competition for talent.

Candidates in the 75th percentile will have more experience than typical, strong skill sets, and may have specialized certifications, while the job role will likely be fairly complex or in a fairly competitive industry for talent.

Midpoint candidates (50th percentile) will have the necessary skills to meet job requirements, and the role will likely be of average complexity or in an industry where competition for talent is moderate.

Candidates in the 25th percentile have less experience and skills that require development. Job openings at this level may be in an industry with low competition for talent or in smaller, less complex organizations, the firm says.

Here’s a summary of projected salary ranges for 2018 for each network-related title. The numbers are for starting compensation and they only reflect base pay – bonuses, incentives and other forms of compensation are not included.

nw salaries for network pros chart Terri Haas/Network World

While skills and experience are the main determinants of starting pay, geography also makes a difference: The firm’s report includes salary adjustments that IT pros can expect to see depending on where in the U.S. they’re located.

In the big picture, Robert Half Technology warns that companies may be taking too long to make IT hiring decisions, which puts them at risk of losing candidates.

Among CIOs polled, 41% said their hiring process takes longer than they would like, averaging 4.5 weeks to fill a staff-level role. From the candidates’ perspective, more than two-thirds of IT pros said they would lose interest in a job if there was no follow-up within two weeks of an interview.

“Making quick and efficient hires means being prepared to provide above-market compensation because today’s top IT professionals know what they are worth. It also means considering an array of coveted incentives, such as signing bonuses, health insurance, generous vacation time and professional development opportunities, when creating compensation packages,” the firm states in its 2018 Salary Guide. “And for many in-demand candidates, flexible hours and remote working arrangements are still attractive perks.”

Robert Half Technology’s salary projections are based on actual job placements that it has made throughout North America, in addition to its analysis of the demand for each role, available talent supply, and other market conditions.