IT Salaries: What should you be earning?

Ask hard-working employees if they are earning enough and nine times out of ten the reply will be that they think they are getting less than what they are worth.  But what are your counterparts earning, and which positions should ambitious IT professionals aim for and which ones should be avoided?

Country Comparisons – The Winners and Losers

In South Africa the ITWeb IT Salary Survey shows that Program Managers earn the most with a total yearly package of R 578,004 while Help Desk Specialists are at the bottom of the list earning a mere R 114,996 per year.

In the United Kingdom the SSL/Computer Weekly IT Salary Survey lists Management Consultants as the highest earners at GBP 69,215 per year while the lowest paid job is PC Support at GBP 22,716.

In the United States the Global Knowledge Salary Survey shows average salary by job functions and ranges from $ 51,933 per year for a Computer Support Specialist to $ 97,616 for an executive manager.

The Information Age/2007 Australian Computer Society Remuneration Survey indicates that General Managers are top of the pile earning around Aus $ 180,474 per year while Computer Support is again bottom of the list with Aus $ 62,897.

According to the statistics from these sources Australian IT professionals have the highest average income at R 618,897 per annum, followed by the UK with R 557,372, the United States with R 507,416 and SA in last place with R 276,158.

Cost of living and disposable income

The salaries in Australia, the UK and US are generally much higher than in South Africa but this does not necessarily provide a clear indication of living standards and disposable income.

While IT Salaries in the UK may be far higher than in SA, London is the ‘second most expensive’ city in the world and hence requires a higher salary. New York is fifteenth on the most expensive list while Sydney is twenty-first.

Johannesburg on the other hand does not feature in the top 50, indicating a lower cost of living.

A recent article from Moneyweb further reiterates this point, showing that South African Executives have more Purchasing Power than their counterparts in Australia and the UK.

Detailed Comparison

In the following comparison, data from the SA ITWeb IT Salary Survey, UK SSL/Computer Weekly IT Salary Survey, US Global Knowledge Salary Survey and Information Age/2007 Australian Computer Society Remuneration Survey were used to compare the salaries for certain positions.

In most cases the job descriptions matched, but in some cases similar positions or average salaries of certain positions were used to get an accurate estimate.


Job Description
Yearly Package (In ZAR)
  SA UK Aus US
Management 513 000 819 189 1 097 282 658 265
Project Manager 380 004 763 903 741 638 583 013
Business analyst 268 752 553 175 575 608 445 107
Database Administrator 264 000 551 683 555 657 520 252
Software Engineer 240 504 592 206 487 798 546 316
Analyst 231 380 573 831 503 667 493 258
Lecturer/Researcher 230 004 na 582 209 na
Programmer 216 000 404 581 477 821 504 305
Computer Support 180 498 319 421 382 414 361 934
Systems Administrator 179 316 505 727 582 775 428 461
Web Developer 147 000 490 009 na 444 814


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IT Salaries: What should you be earning?