Survey: When It Comes to Exec IT Salaries, Mainframes Pull Big Bucks

Top IT managers who work with mainframes can expect to earn significantly more than other IT executives, according to the latest salary survey by (Disclosure: is owned by the same parent company as this Web site.)

Of's readers -- a mix of mainframe, datacenter, server and other enterprise IT professionals -- CIOs and vice presidents in mainframe environments reported the highest average base salary of $232,700 per year. Those with the same title who work in AIX/Unix environments averaged $173,500, followed by $148,600 for those in midrange environments and $114,600 in non-mainframe Windows environments

With other IT management positions (with titles such as IS director, datacenter manager or network manager), those in midrange environments averaged the highest with $158,500, followed by mainframe at $111,750, AIX/Unix at $101,200 and Windows networking at $87,300.

In general, the survey found the average CIO/vice president salary for 2009 is $150,340, up slightly over 2008's average of $149,000. However, the average bonus earned with these titles dropped from $28,500 to $18,000 this year.

Still, it's not that bad of a year. Of the eight management positions this part of the survey covered, six of them saw the average base salary rise (the two that declined are networking manager and help desk/support manager). IT managers and enterprise architects also reported a higher average bonus versus the previous year.

The complete salary survey can be found online here. To jump directly to a breakdown of findings by title, use the following links:

A second part of the survey focused on non-management IT salaries will be released in early September.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital strategy. She also serves as executive editor of the group's media Web sites, and you'll even find her byline on, the group's newest site for enterprise developers working with AI. She recently gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web technology may impact publishers' bottom lines. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.


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