For better or worse, the business agenda drives the compensation model for IT professionals in Canada. In the case of network administrators and systems administrators, its good news. They will enjoy significantly bigger pay bumps next year compared to their Canadian counterparts, according to Robert Half Technology’s 2015 salary survey guide.
While the average Jane or Joe can expect a modest 2.6 percent increase in pay in 2015, network administrators will get a 6.5 percent jump in starting salary, which currently sits at $67,250. Next year, top performers in this category will command $94,500 in compensation.
It all comes down to supply, demand and sought-after skills, says RHT branch manager David Tighe.
“We’re seeing a lot of focus on security and candidates with valuable designations in this area are in demand,” says Tighe. Another trend RHT highlights is the marriage of the network admin and systems admin roles, especially in smaller companies where resources are limited, he adds.
“Companies are looking for a hybrid skill set, but the supply of talent hasn’t kept up with that. The want to ensure (employees) are familiar with all aspect of systems administration – not just the network side, but branching into the entire infrastructure.”
As a standalone group, systems administrators are faring well in compensation. The starting salary for systems administrators this year is $64,500 in Canada, and they can also expect higher-than-average increases in 2015 with a 5.7 percent salary increase in the forecast. Those at the top end of the scale will hit the $94,000 mark.
The top brass – CIOs and IT Directors – will all see rises of about five percent in their salaries. Chief Security Officers will do slightly better than their counterparts with a seven percent jump predicted. Star performers will max out at $219,750 next year.
Professionals looking to maximize their earning potential should consider taking a course or adding a certification to their resume (click here for more tips on boosting earnings.). Professionals with the CISSP certification, for example, will earn an additional six percent over their non-certified colleagues.
The insatiable appetite for data will continue to color the hiring landscape as companies look for help in both securing data and leveraging it for business improvements.
“All companies need a data security plan and the ability to leverage their data to make better decisions for their business,” says Tighe.
Competitive compensation is a given for organizations looking to attract and retain talent, but the most successful ones will go three steps further: They need to promote a healthy work/life balance while creating a culture of innovation where employees can thrive.
The chief complaints of today’s IT professionals are lack of opportunities, unmanageable workloads and not feeling empowered to make decisions, according to another RHT survey. Retention initiatives keep to tradition with insurance, vacation and retirement benefits at the top of the list, but areas such as subsidized training, on-site perks and remote work options becoming more popular. Employees are also looking to work for companies that are considered leading edge and have progressive work/life balance strategies.
“There’s a generational aspect to it. I see candidates with young families looking for employers that offer flexible work hours. It’s about the experience, the technology and the opportunity for innovation.”