Research@DBTA - Oracle Application Managers Dominate Latest Salary Stats

In the midst of turbulent times, many successful businesses learned an important lesson: The closer IT works with the business, the better an organization can weather the storms that blow in. Thus, many savvy companies understand that the managers and professionals who oversee information technology and applications need to be well incentivized to stay on. At the same time, these professionals understand the need to develop expertise in business management and communications.

Many companies are looking to information technology to provide an additional competitive edge, and see their Oracle enterprise systems as the cornerstone of this strategy. As a result, a survey finds that Oracle enterprise application managers and professionals appear to have weathered the economic storm. The survey, conducted among 334 members of the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG) by Unisphere Research, and sponsored by Motion International, finds an increase in the number of Oracle technology professionals who are near or surpassing the $100,000 mark in their base salaries.

Oracle enterprise application managers and professionals covered in this first annual survey include IT managers, database administrators, analysts and developers, and business managers. The survey was conducted in November and December 2009. About one-third of respondents (30%) are CIOs, IT managers, or project managers. Another 28% are either developers or analysts (both business and technical), and at least 12% are database or systems administrators. Close to 1 in 5 (17%) come from the business side of the organization.

The survey also looked at the type of environment in which respondents' organizations were based-whether they were in the midst of a major metropolitan area or in more rural settings. This is a major influence over compensation rates, since employers often need to compensate for the higher cost-of-living expenses in major urban centers. Overall, managers and professionals working in larger cities commanded a premium of at least 10% over their suburban and small-town counterparts.

By position, IT managers had the highest average base salaries reported in the survey, well more than $100,000 a year. This was followed by consultants/contractors at just less than $100,000, and developer/analysts with a little more than $90,000 a year. (See Figure 1.)

Overall, a little more than one-half of the survey respondents reported they received a bonus in addition to their base salary between 2008 and 2009. However, bonuses were only commonplace among IT managers.

Making an average of $118,000 a year in base salary, respondents in the IT management category had the highest annual base salaries and bonuses in this survey. IT managers in this survey include CIOs, vice presidents, directors, and managers. It appears the challenging economy of the past couple of years did not affect IT management pay the way it has other job categories covered in this survey. A majority of IT managers in this survey reported they have seen increases in their paychecks between 2008 and 2009 (53%).

Consultants and contractors-which include both employees of contracting firms as well as independent contractors-had the second-highest rates reported in the survey, averaging about $98,000 a year in income. Of course, this compensation does not include benefits such as health insurance or retirement, which may or may not be provided by the contracting organization.

Overall, developers and analysts average more than $91,000 in base pay. A little more than half also reported they have seen increases in their paychecks between 2008 and 2009 (51%). Developers and analysts-who oversee the requirements, design and implementation of enterprise applications-included respondents reporting their job classifications as developer/programmers, enterprise architects, business analysts, technical architects, and systems analysts.

The recent recession and tightening budgets took their toll on DBAs and systems administrators between 2008 and 2009. A majority of administrators reported they did not see increases in their paychecks in 2009 (58%), and 6% even suffered a decrease. Only about one-third reported gains in their compensation levels during this time. Overall, DBAs and systems administrators in this survey have an average of about $88,500 in base pay.

Business executives and managers overseeing enterprise application sites tend to earn a little less than their technical counterparts, averaging about $84,000 in base pay. However, compensation rises significantly with experience. Executives and line-of-business managers include financial managers, human resource managers, and supply or demand chain managers. This also includes CEOs, presidents, vice presidents, but these individuals only comprise about 1% of the survey group. About 4 in 10 report that they have seen increases in their paychecks between 2008 and 2009 (42%).

Salaries are only part of the total compensation picture, of course. Beyond cash compensation, most respondents' companies provided for paid vacation and personal days, and contributed to 401(k) retirement plans. One-half also reimbursed professionals and managers for continuing education, and about one-third had a traditional pension plan. Only about 1 in 5 provided profit sharing or stock purchase plans. (See Figure 2.)

Respondents' employers were generous in terms of healthcare benefits, the survey finds. Almost all companies provide some form of medical insurance, and 8 in 10 provide for long-term disability benefits and flexible spending accounts. Seven in 10 also provide employee assistance programs, which offer access to counseling and wellness services. (See Figure 3.)

What is also clear is that these are tumultuous times for many organizations, and delivering business value is seen as the best avenue for increasing compensation. For many respondents, success in advancing in the enterprise application world means understanding and interfacing with the business, more so than technical skills alone. Increasingly, IT managers need to be able to work closely and effectively with the business side-an essential element for salary advancement, as one respondent, an IT director for a utility, put it. Key skills required are "communication (written, verbal, graphics); business process definition and management; vendor relationship management; internal client management; and strategic thinking," he explained. "Five years ago, we were operating at a more tactical level and were more internally focused. Today, we've had success getting the business to view IT as strategic and we're more likely to cooperate with our competitors to aggregate our demand with our vendors."

Respondents emphasized the need for developers and analysts to be able to address business requirements as a way to get ahead. As one respondent, an analyst with a consulting firm, said, "The most important change in our jobs is understanding business processes, communicating end-to-end process solutions and getting buy in."