One in three IT professionals is planning to leave his or her job in 2018, according to the "2018 IT Career Outlook," a new report from Spiceworks. Although 70 percent of respondents say they are satisfied with their jobs, 63 percent told Spiceworks that they're underpaid.
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The median annual salary for IT pros is $60,000, which is about $14,000 more than the median average salary in the US overall. Seventy-five percent of IT pros are seeking new employment to earn more money, the Spiceworks report states.
"Although the majority of IT professionals are satisfied with their jobs, many also believe they should be making more money, and will take the initiative to find an employer who is willing to pay them what they're worth in 2018," said Peter Tsai, Senior Technology Analyst at Spiceworks, in a statement.
The IT pros surveyed have spent, on average, about 40 percent of their careers at their current company. Among those who are planning to find new work in 2018, 7 percent are looking to move into a consulting or IT services roles. Five percent of IT pros plan to leave the industry entirely.
The Money Question
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IT pros have good reason to be optimistic heading into 2018. Salaries for pros in the tech sector in the US and Canada increased 5.7 percent or $3,958 over the past year—a stark difference between last year's 2 percent decrease, according to the "2017 IT Skills & Salary Report" by Global Knowledge.
Cloud computing pros are the darlings of the IT industry. They make the most money out of all subject matter experts mentioned in the report in the US and Canada, with an average annual salary of $114,043. The second-highest paying field is cybersecurity, which pays $112,765 on average. Coming in third are project management (PM) professionals, who were paid $95,878 on average last year.
C-level executives (CIOs and CTOs) in the US and Canada make approximately $151,000, while senior-level executives make $110,401 on average. Entry-level staffers make $61,402 on average and their direct bosses, mid-level pros, make $84,513.
The IT Market
Guiding the IT pro's decision to leave his or her job is a general optimism about overall IT hiring. Thirty-six percent of IT pros believe the IT job market will improve in 2018, compared to only 13 percent who think the market will get worse. The majority of survey respondents (51 percent) think the job market will be about the same as 2017, according to the report.
Additional Spiceworks research indicates that 45 percent of organizations plan to increase the size of their IT departments in 2018, compared to only 5 percent that are expecting a decrease. Larger enterprises are the most likely to improve headcount, with 70 percent telling Spiceworks they plan to add IT staff in 2018.
Not All About the Money
Seventy percent of respondents also said they're looking to leave their jobs in order to advance their skills. Other reasons for leaving include finding a company that makes IT more of a priority (39 percent), seeking an employer that offers a better work-life balance (38 percent), and working with a more talented IT team (33 percent).
"While money is the biggest motivator, we can't ignore the data that indicates that advancing IT skills is the second most common reason to make a job change," said Tsai. "And among tech expertise, cybersecurity will continue to be the most highly marketable job skill. So, despite a greater desire to earn more instead of learn more in the new year, that doesn't mean IT pros are abandoning one of the prime directives in working in any technology field: always keep learning."
Eighty-one percent of IT pros said it's critical to have security skills in 2018, the report states. At least 75 percent of IT pros also said it's critical to have expertise in networking, infrastructure hardware, end-user devices, and storage and backup, according to the report.
The survey was conducted during November 2017 and included 2,163 respondents from North America and Europe.