What are IT skills worth?

Salaries: years-on-year growth

The average salary reported by the permanently employed respondents this year is up 8% from 2014, but women are closing the gap. The average difference was just over R50 000, while in the past two years it was well over R100 000. Expressed in percentages, female respondents’ salaries grew by 20% year-on-year, compared to only a 3% growth for male respondents.

The average salary reported by the permanently employed respondents this year is up 8% from 2014, but women are closing the gap. The average difference was just over R50 000, while in the past two years it was well over R100 000. Expressed in percentages, female respondents’ salaries grew by 20% year-on-year, compared to only a 3% growth for male respondents.

“Global trends show that more women are taking their seats at the boardroom table,” notes Laura Hutchinson, national MD of Communicate Personnel. “More women have entered the IT profession over the past few years, and perhaps this is finally paying dividends now. This is underscored by the South African government’s empowerment strategy and our world-class constitution around non-discrimination, which could also be an influence.”

Salaries: years-on-year growth

Hutchinson also believes more women are now studying IT than previously (as has happened in the engineering industry), possibly both a conscious and unconscious influence of various empowerment policies. The survey sample clearly reflects this – the education level of female respondents has steadily increased and more women now occupy senior IT positions. While men report significantly higher salaries in most executive positions, there are two in which women command higher salaries – CTO and director of IT.

Salaries: years-on-year growth

“The increase in the salaries of women could be attributed to both BEE scorecards and government gender-based empowerment incentives to employers, in order to empower women in the corporate world,” says Hutchinson.

She points to a recent change in regulation regarding the focus on equal pay for equal work, in order to close the gender and wage gap on salary banding: one should be judged on quality and quantity of work, no longer influenced by gender or race.

Top view

At the executive and strategic level, the average salary reported by all CIOs was up 3% from last year’s average. The sample of CIOs more than doubled, from 42 to 90, testimony to the growing profile of the survey base.

The enterprise architect has been the highestpaid senior (middle management) profession year after year. The average salary reported this year is R782 551, up 4% since last year.

Salaries: years-on-year growth

Architects are followed by data warehouse managers and business development managers.

While overall, Western Cape salaries lag behind Gauteng’s by 7%, the difference for EAs is only 3.2%, pointing to the fact that skills in highest demand pay equally well across regions.

According to Harriet Smith, branch manager at Communicate Personnel, Cape Town IT, architect roles are generally more highly paid than managers for the following reasons:

  • The architect plays a vital IT role in creating the entire IT framework for a business application.
  • He or she must have specific talent, plus the specialised skills, training and studying to create this formulation. The tools he/she acquires are vital.
  • In an IT team, there may be two architects to 20 developers.
  • No company would want to lose them, along with their highly specialised knowledge of the company architectural framework they have designed.
Salaries: years-on-year growth

Consequently, they would be paid more as they are in short supply and are of great value to a company with their specific skills.

When it comes to software development skills, Java, C, C++ and C# developers top the best-paid list, all averaging over R580 000 a year.

One of the hardest roles to fill is that of experienced, skilled developer, according to Smith, as they are in short supply. “Maths as a subject is fundamental for developers, and knowledge of algorithms is vital to this role,” she stresses. “The quality of education is vital – a good education in maths and science is necessary, but not always easy to find.

“Business intelligence is also complex and needs algorithm (maths) expertise. Java developers also need these skills, sometimes being faced with rows and rows of algorithms, which are imperative for them to understand.”

Salaries: years-on-year growth

She says the solution to address the persistent and growing skills shortage is for companies to get more involved in education – from school level – to ensure that focus on the sciences raises the number of quality candidates graduating from credible tertiary institutions.

Specialist recruitment company Communicate Personnel is a sponsor of the ITWeb/CareerWeb 2015 IT Salary Survey. 

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