The Multimillionaire CIO

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 01-07-2008

As consulting firm Janco Associates calculated its annual study of IT executive compensation, it discovered that 22 CIOs earn $2 million a year or more, including Alltel CIO and group president Jeff Fox , who's total compensation tops $9 million.

Most other CIOs aren't so fortunate. True, pay for CIOs at large firms rose from last year, according to Janco's new survey, but if CIOs want for more cash, they might need to seek new jobs.

Janco finds that CIOs at companies with revenues of $500 million or more average $181,240 in salary, up more than 5 percent from the start of last year. On the whole, IT executives at those firms saw a pay bump of more than 2 percent, averaging almost $144,000.

But the salary bumps aren't exactly translating into raises for incumbent CIOs, according to Janco CEO Victor Janulaitis. Instead, Janulaitis attributes the overall rise in CIO pay to higher salaries for new CIOs. "Companies don't raise [incumbent] CIO salaries because they're making innovations in something like Web 2.0," Janulaitis says. "If I'm looking at CIOs who are asking how to boost their compensation, I tell them they need to have some good skills in Web 2.0, IT service management, change control, and then find a new job. Your existing company won't recognize it."

And some IT managers at large companies saw pay increases. Data center directors saw the biggest increase in pay--an almost 7 percent jump, from $122,802 in 2007 to $131,148 currently.

But the news wasn't great for all IT executives. CIOs at midsize firms--with revenues between $100 million and $499 million--saw their average salaries drop more than half a percentage point, from $172,174 last year to $171,200.

Three deputy positions suffered pay cuts: vice presidents of consulting services (-4.29 percent) and administration (-0.92 percent) and directors of IT planning (-0.70 percent) had salaries shrink in the last year, Janco found.

On average, mid-level management positions saw a barely noticeable salary increase of 0.04 percent. Project managers for distributed systems (6.24 percent) saw the biggest jump, followed by customer service manager (4.76 percent) and computer operations managers (3.67%).

Data warehouse managers faced the biggest cuts, with salaries dropping just over 7 percent.

Lower-level staffers saw their paychecks jump an average of 0.47 percent.

Janco surveyed 27,884 IT staffers at 465 large firms, 30,964 IT staffers at 671 midsize firms.

Last week, search firm Egon Zehnder International also unveiled new numbers on CIO pay, with even bigger dollar signs.

Top IT executives at companies with revenues over $1 billion make about $350,000 in base salary, with bonuses and perks bringing the total to $600,000 to $700,000 a year, the firm found.

At companies making up to $1 billion, CIOs averaged between $225,000 and $250,000 in annual salary, with extras pushing the total to $500,000 or so.

Egon Zehnder's grouping on companies by revenue is different than Janco's, which explains the difference in salary range.