Let's be honest. Whatever your profession or vocation, compensation is an important component in job satisfaction. With the exception, no doubt, of some admirable, selfless volunteers, most of us like to get paid for what we do. If we like what we do as well, that's a bonus, and an important one.
This is the message underlined in an interesting survey conducted among readers of SearchCIO and SearchCIO-Midmarket. Just as well, because it seems that salaries of senior-to-midlevel CIOs have not been holding up well in the current economic climate. Compared with 2010, total compensation in 2011 was eroded by reductions in bonuses, stock options, and benefits, while salary itself stayed relatively flat.
There also seems to be some concern that CIO salaries are not in line with the salaries of business-line executives sitting in the C-Suite. A hangover, perhaps, from the all-too-recent days when IT was viewed exclusively as a back-office service department.
Midmarket CIOs, in particular, needed to look elsewhere than their paypackets to find workplace motivation. Most CIOs earning less than $90,000 per year were from the midmarket segment (more than half of all surveyed earned between $90,000 and $150,000).
Expectations for a salary increase in 2011 were certainly not met in the midmarket. While there was an across-the-board expectation of a 5.2 percent increase in basic salary, almost 60 per cent of midmarket CIOs were greeted by increases between 2 and 5 percent.
It's surprising to find a silver lining in this relative gloom, but many midmarket CIOs reported finding satisfaction in factors other than compensation. For midmarket, senior-level IT executives, "good relationships with the business, challenging projects and the appreciation of bosses and peers are major drivers of true job satisfaction," the survey found. One interviewed CIO remarked that he was gratified to be able to focus on building the business rather than dealing with "the horrors of corporate reporting."
Reading between the lines of this and other surveys, there seems to be an interesting tension in the way senior midmarket IT executives experience their roles. On the one hand, lean staffing can result in IT leadership plowing hours into the kinds of hands-on project management tasks ideally better delegated.
On the other hand, if time for planning strategic innovation is tight, there may nevertheless be better opportunities to implement exciting -- potentially game-changing -- proposals in the midmarket enterprise. Open lines of communication with company leadership, allied with a mutual interest in containing costs while increasing agility, surely create an environment in which new initiatives in business analytics or cloud computing, for example, can flourish.
If midmarket IT leaders are not quite keeping up with the corporate big boys when it comes to payday, the chances are that their most exciting ideas are not quite as likely to vanish into committee-bound, corporate limbo.
— Kim Davis , Community Editor, Internet Evolution