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Most IT service providers are competing against much larger organizations for a very finite amount of IT talent. The trouble is finding and retaining IT talent keeps getting more expensive.

The annual free global survey of 12,200 IT professionals published by Global Knowledge, a provider of IT training services, finds IT professionals in North America earned, on average, $109,985 in 2019, a 6 percent increase over the prior year. Moreover, the report notes 50 percent of survey respondents also noted they received additional bonuses on top of their salaries.

As salaries increase in the United States, it’s little wonder more IT services providers are looking overseas to supplement their ranks whenever possible. The survey notes that IT salaries in the U.S. are 23 percent higher than the worldwide average of $89,732.

The highest salaries in North America were ranked as follows:

Executive $149,034
Cloud computing $138,320
IT architecture and design $126,095
Project and program management $118,528
Cybersecurity/IT security $117,932
DevOps $114,332
Data, analytics and business intelligence $110,360
IT compliance/audit $108,214
Application development/programming $104,098
Infrastructure, networking and telecom $91,359


IT salaries vary widely based on geographic region

A Cisco networking specialist living in New York City or Los Angeles will typically make a lot more than counterparts in South Carolina because the cost of living in those regions is a lot higher. However, many IT professionals have come to appreciate the fact they can work pretty much anywhere, so it’s not uncommon for an organization to hire IT personnel at a salary that allows them to live far from the main office.

Many of the survey respondents have also discovered that working in the channel can be more lucrative than within a traditional internal IT organization. Salaries in the following IT specialization areas include:

System and VAR integration


IT hardware $132,483
IT software $132,390
Aerospace / defense $118,231
IT consulting $117,998
Banking and finance $113,960
Professional business services $112,335
IT-related services $110,629


IT salaries will continue to rise

There is clearly a lot of interest in automation to potentially reduce total costs. However, most automation frameworks enable IT teams to eliminate rote tasks typically performed by entry level staff. Competition for experienced IT professionals will continue to be fierce in the foreseeable future.

To attract that talent, IT services providers will need to provide a lot more than the usual benefits. One of the primary reasons top talent are often attracted to IT services providers, is not just that the tasks at hand tend to be more challenging, but because IT services providers tend to invest more in continuing education.

The survey notes that 41 percent of respondents who said they control budgets for IT training did not approve it last year. Savvy IT professionals know their next job is dependent on acquiring new skills sets, so employers that don’t provide access to training are liable to find their IT staff drifting away over the course of a year.

IT talent will often go where the education opportunities are best. The challenge IT service providers face is making sure they are seen as the best providers of those educational opportunities.

Photo: Africa Studio / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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