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Readers question federal IT pay survey

A recent survey claimed that although salaries for federal IT pros remained stagnant in past couple of years, government IT workers still earn more than their private-sector counterparts. Readers, however, were ... let's say, skeptical.

“Where I live, I get 16 percent locality pay,” wrote reader Richard. “That is, I get 16 percent more than other IT guys in federal service at my grade. Even at that, my peers in private industry get 15 to 25 percent MORE than I do."

DaleR also questioned the survey methodology and the cohort polled. “Where does this $97,000 figure come from?” he asked. “Nobody in my IT shop makes close to that except the CIO. Poll places outside of D.C. for a real snapshot of what government employees make (IT). Contractors make a lot more than us. It is a fact.”

Lee agreed, pointing to how the D.C. region tends to have higher salaries compared to other parts of the country. “I think they need to take their surveys outside the Washington beltway where the IT specialty pay is a lot less,” Lee commented. “I believe the average fed IT pay is quite a bit less than the $97,000 they quote. It's more like lower $80,000s.”

DT also asked, perhaps rhetorically, perhaps literally, where the salary numbers come from. (The link to the InformationWeek’s survey can be found here. It wasn’t accessible at the time I was blogging about it.)

“I've been in government IT for 25 years, and I don't know anyone making that amount of money except higher management. And I mean very high management. Like the director of all of IT here,” DT said.

Another longtime federal IT professional said that after working 17 years at the Veterans Affairs Department, and being one of the highest-paid IT staff, “I make less than $90,000. Not sure where these people who make $97,000 work, but they must be upper management in the government, not a local IT worker bee."

Taking a more analytical approach to the numbers, Scott pointed out that comparison of salaries between government and industry often focuses just on compensation and don’t consider retirement benefits and automatic time-in-grade promotions.

However, “throw this into the mix with the data presented in this article and one can easily decipher that, for IT, federal employees make a lot more money than their private counterparts,” he said. 
 

Posted by Camille Tuutti on May 07, 2012 at 12:19 PM


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