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Salaries for IT professionals are notoriously volatile. Although pay levels are unlikely ever again to rise as fast as they did at the end of the 1990s when fears about the “millennium bug” stoked the fires of an already over-heated job market – or to fall as fast as they did when the bug failed to bite – employers are acutely aware of the need to keep a close eye on short- and long-term pay trends.
Over recent years, computer staff salaries have regularly risen at a more rapid rate than those of other groups of staff. In the six years from November 2002 to November 2008, at no time did the year-on-year increase in basic salaries for computer staff who stayed in the same job fall below 3.5%, and when bonuses were taken into account pay rises regularly exceeded 4.0% throughout that time. In the 12 months to May 2008, the average increase in basic pay plus bonus for the typical IT professional hit a high of 5.7%.
But the recession has turned a cooler on both the computer staff labour market and pay increases for IT professionals.