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Federal IT pay stagnant, but still higher than industry -- or is it?

Federal IT professionals are far from immune to the belt-tightening in government, as evidenced by a new survey by InformationWeek.

Nextgov reports the pay for federal IT workers stagnated, and even decreased, due to the two-year salary freeze for feds. By polling more than 730 federal IT workers, the survey found that the average compensation for federal IT staff had stayed at $97,000. IT managers, on the other hand, saw a slight dip in their total compensation: from 2011’s number of $125,000 to the current level of $120,000.

The survey also pointed out that those government IT professionals are nonetheless earning more than their industry IT colleagues, who average around $90,000. Those in management positions make around $116,000.

However, previous surveys, such as this one, contradicts the notion that federal IT pros are better compensated than those in the commercial sector.  Robert Half Technology's Salary Guide from October 2011 showed that a new-found focus on big data, cybersecurity and mobility has fueled IT hiring in the private sector, thus pushing starting salaries higher.

The InformationWeek survey cited in Nextgov polled 480 federal IT staffers and 253 federal IT managers.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on May 02, 2012 at 12:19 PM

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Reader comments

Tue, May 8, 2012 Fed(up) IT specialist DC

The problem is that those in Congress who want to gut the federal ranks are using a paint brush to in sinuate all of us are overpaid and underworked. The one thing I learned in college economics and statistics is that you can make numbers say whatever you want. If you want to know if we are overpaid, it has to be done fairly and honestly. If you compare an IT specialist in DC with an IT specialist for IBM who lives in Ohio, of course you will show the Fed making more. You need to compare like positions and experiences. My biggest peeve is that this is being done at all. Why do we have to be compensated the same as the private sector? There are 2 sectors and while they may have very similar jobs, the specifics are different and shoudl be treated differently. Was anyone worried about the private sector IT specs making big money and getting venture capital to start all those new companies? I think not. When the bubble burst and 95% of those went back to their original companies, some took a hit, some were about the same. Leave the comparisions alone and stop trying to gut the federal workforce.

Mon, May 7, 2012

I moved from private sector and my pay dropped nearly 50% I'm still far behind my peers and I don't make anywhere near $97k, but sure would like to!

Fri, May 4, 2012

I'm told I should be happy that the President only froze my salary when so many in the private sector have seen their salaries drop. I checked out several salary surveys and found that people in my field dropped from an average $145K in 2008 to only $128K in 2011. So I'm supposed to feel good that my pay hasn't been cut but has only been frozen at $100K!?

Fri, May 4, 2012 Omaha Omaha

Do not know where they get the salary of $97k locally for feds but not in Omaha (gs9 to 11/12). Private industry contractors at the base are way more than $97k.

Fri, May 4, 2012

Bottom line is you get what you pay for. I know we have lost some good programmers to companies that pay a lot more then then OPM. When you have idiots running the Goverment then you attract more idiots. You are what you run around with.

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