Public sector stays ahead in pay stakes for IT professionals

Pay rises for IT professionals are still better in local authorities than in the private sector, according to the results of a wide-ranging annual survey.

Carried out for the Society of IT Management by salary survey specialist Computer Economics, the survey compared the salaries of IT professionals in 88 local authorities with those working across all industries in the private sector.

The survey of 5,000 individuals found that local councils offered slightly better salary increases and a wider range of benefits than private sector employers.

The research showed an average 5% pay rise in local authorities, compared with 4.8% in the private sector.

But the gap between increases in the two sectors has narrowed since last year, when local authority IT staff saw salaries rise by 4.8%, compared with 3.5% across all industries.

IT professionals working for the Fire Service got the best deal, with increases of 6.7%, while district council IT staff saw salaries rise by just 3.8%. The survey also showed regional variations, with the lowest pay rises in the South East of England (4.5%) and the highest in Wales (6.7%).

The research uncovered a sharp increase in recruitment problems in local authorities, with just over half those surveyed reporting difficulties, compared with 31% last year.

But private sector recruitment faces greater problems, with 74% of employers experiencing difficulties, up from 58% last year.

The Society of IT Managers noted that local authorities were increasingly offering a package of staff benefits and flexible working in a bid to retain staff, with 99% of councils offering flexible hours and just over three-quarters allowing selected staff to work from home.

Andy Roberts, chair of the society’s member services group, said: “As in past surveys it is clear that while local authorities may not always offer the highest available salaries, the overall package of benefits is generally very attractive. Local government remains a good place for IT professionals to develop their careers.”

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