IT Managers Do Really Well in Europe, Fair in North America
October 22, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Mercer, the international consulting, outsourcing, and investment services arm of March & MacLennan Companies, a giant in IT and investment consulting with nearly $12 billion in sales and over 55,000 employees worldwide, does an annual global survey of IT manager pay around the globe each year. Based on the results of the Mercer study, it is clearly a good thing to be from Western Europe if you are an IT manager these days.
According to Mercer’s 2007 IT Pay Around the World report, which was released last week, the salary and bonus compensation for IT managers in the United States came to an average of $107,500, giving IT managers in the States a ranking, when averaged across the country, of number six on the Mercer list. IT managers in Switzerland, which is a huge area for computing thanks to banks and insurance companies, did a lot better, with an average salary that translated into $140,960 or 110,990 euros. That’s a pretty big pay disparity, at 31 percent, for doing essentially the same job. CIOs and VPDPs in Denmark ranked second on the list, with average pay of $120,080 or 96,890 euros, and those in Belgium were not far behind at $121,170 (95,380 euros). Thanks to the strength of the British pound, the banking and financial services industry in London, and other factors, IT managers in the United Kingdom didn’t do too badly, with $118,190 in annual compensation on average (93,090 euros), Ireland came in number five on the list, with average salaries for IT managers at $108,230 (85,200 euros), and industrial giant Germany’s IT managers ranked just behind those in the United States, with salaries averaging $106,730 (84,020 euros). Canada, at $93,860, Hong Kong, at $90,340, and Australia, at $88,850, rounded out the top 10.
IT managers in Vietnam, with an average salary of $15,470 when adjusted to U.S. dollars, had the lowest compensation in the Mercer ranking of 35 countries, followed by Bulgaria, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, the Czech Republic, and Argentina.
“The impact of outsourcing and offshoring on IT roles in North America and Western Europe helps explain the pattern of global pay,” explains David Van De Voort, an IT workforce specialist who works in Mercer’s Chicago office. “Lower-level roles are being moved to regions where talent is cheaper; the jobs that remain in Western Europe and in the U.S. may be fewer in number, but are more demanding and complex roles like vendor relationship manager, internal consultant, and IT business partner.”
Mercer also said in its report that the pay gap between high-level IT managers and lower-level managers is not as pronounced in North America and Western Europe as it is in other parts of the world, where as titles progress and job functions get more complex, pay scales rise proportionately.
While these rankings are interesting–and seem to be based on data that is a few months old because the exchange rates are a little out of whack, particularly between the United States and Canada–what would be even more interesting to see is what quality of life these IT manager salaries bring. While pay in London might be higher, when adjusted to U.S. dollars from British pounds, the cost of living between London and a suburb of New York or Chicago can be very different, depending on where IT managers choose to live. For all we know, having a $16,000 salary in Saigon allows you to live like a king. Quality of life and quantity of stuff are why we work, after all, and none of these numbers tell us anything about how people with these salaries live.