OPM unveils IT pay-raise details

The Office of Personnel Management released details Dec. 1 on how much of a pay increase certain federal information technology workers will receive next year.

OPM issued a draft salary table for computer specialists, computer engineers and computer science specialists in the GS-5 through GS-12 grades. The table lays out for the first time the actual dollar amounts that these IT workers will receive starting Jan. 1.

OPM had announced Nov. 3 that it would give these 33,000 IT workers raises ranging from 7 percent to 33 percent in an effort to attract technology workers to the government and retain them. Agencies are increasingly competing with industry for skilled workers — particularly at entry-level positions — and a pay hike is one way to help government compete for the best and brightest.

OPM said it will establish six special IT salary-rate schedules, each covering a group of geographic areas. One of the six special IT rate schedules will apply to all locations outside of the contiguous United States. So salaries vary depending on where IT employees work as well as what grade — and step within a grade — they attain.

For example, an entry-level salary for a GS-5 living in the Washington, D.C., area is $30,726, based on the draft figures for IT workers covered by the special salary rate schedules. Meanwhile, an entry-level salary for a GS-5 living in New York starts at $31,823.

By comparison, an entry-level salary for a GS-5 living in New York who is not covered by a special salary rate would receive $24,936 next year, and in the Washington, D.C., area would receive $24,192.

The OPM announcement comes on the heels of a White House decision to give civilian employees an average pay hike of 3.7 percent starting in January. The new IT salaries and other raises will become official when President Clinton signs an executive order implementing the 2001 pay increase.

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