Unequal Pay for Equal Experience

By Allan Alter Print this article Print

There's little difference between CIOs at mid-market and large corporations, except for their compensation.

Top I.T. executives at small and midsize companies are much less likely to have business cards that say "CIO" than their peers at organizations with revenues topping $500 million. But in other ways, the two groups are not very different. They have the same aspirations to create business strategy. Their personal backgrounds are comparable, primarily IT with business and consulting experience. Mid-market CIOs have put in as many years, if not more, as the top IT executive. And both like what they are doing; more than 90 percent enjoy their jobs most of the time. But one thing CIOs at SMBs can't be too happy about is their pay: On average, they earn 58 cents for every dollar earned by CIOs at larger organizations. If there's a coming CIO shortage, as the Society for Information Management recently reported (see CIO Insight, March 2007), this income disparity is likely to lead ambitious mid-market CIOs to look for opportunities at larger companies.

Finding 1
Are You Experienced? Mid-Market CIOs Are

CIOs at mid-market companies are similar to their peers at larger firms in age, experience and background. Both are typically just under 50 years in age, come from IT backgrounds, and have plenty of on-the-job experience. In fact, the top IT executives at companies with revenues of less than $500 million have been at their current jobs, or in the CIO role, for half a year longer than their counterparts at larger companies. They also have held a wide variety of jobs before being named to the top tech position. The biggest differences? Mid-market CIOs are less likely to have a CIO title, or to work for companies that conduct business in foreign countries. It also appears that fewer women are advancing to the CIO position at mid-market firms.

Finding 2
Wanted: Upward Mobility

The opportunity to earn more is too good to pass up. CIO s at mid-market companies earn much less than their peers at larger companies, even though they have as much, or more, experience as CIO . No wonder these CIOs are more likely to be on the outlook for a new job: It's a chance to make significantly more money.

Read the full story on cioinsight.com: Unequal Pay for Equal Experience.

This article was originally published on 2007-04-07
Executive Editor

Allan Alter has been a specialist on information technology management, strategy and leadership for many years. Most recently, he was editor-in-chief and the director of new content development for the MIT Sloan Management Review. He has been a columnist and department editor at Computerworld, where he won three awards from the American Society of Business Press Editors. Previously he was a special projects editor, senior editor and senior writer for CIO magazine. Earlier, Alter was an associate editor for Mass High Tech. He has edited two books: The Squandered Computer: Evaluating the Business Alignment of Business Technologies and Redesigning the Firm.

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