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Federal IT Workers Have Cause for Pay Envy

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Federal employees already know they will not receive an across-the-board pay increase until at least several months into 2013, a deal made official with President Obama’s signing of the continuing resolution. And even if federal workers do see an across-the-board pay increase next year, it’s not likely to be higher than Obama's proposed 0.5 percent.

Unfortunately, for federal IT workers, the lack of a solid pay increase contrasts starkly with private sector counterparts, who are slated to see an average 5.3 percent increase in their salaries in the coming year.

According to the new 2013 salary guides by Robert Half International, starting salaries for information technology professionals in the coming year will show the largest pay increases among all the fields researched, including accounting, finance and administrative fields.

“Many hiring managers are struggling to ‘crack the code’ when it comes to finding and keeping the best technology talent,” the guide states. “Money may not be all IT employees consider when choosing to join or stay with your firm, but it’s certainly one of their key benchmarks.”

While IT professionals overall are expected to see average pay increases of 5.3 percent next year, some specific IT positions will see even higher pay increases, Robert Half found. Mobile applications developers will see an average pay increase of 9 percent, for example, while network engineers, data modelers, data warehouse managers, portal administrators and Web developers also will see average pay increases of more than 7 percent.

It’s important to note that while federal workers have been under a two-year pay freeze that has been extended to the first few months of 2013, that freeze does not apply to other forms of pay increases – such as performance awards and bonuses, promotions, within-grade increases, quality step increases and other forms of incentive pay.

How does your earning potential in 2013 stack up against your private sector counterparts?

Reporter Portrait for GovernmentExecutive.com

Brittany Ballenstedt writes Nextgov's Wired Workplace blog, which delves into the issues facing employees who work in the federal information technology sector. Before joining Nextgov, Brittany covered federal pay and benefits issues as a staff correspondent for Government Executive and served as an associate editor for National Journal's Technology Daily. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Mansfield University and originally hails from Pennsylvania. She currently lives near Travis Air Force Base, Calif., where her husband is stationed.

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