IT staff are worth up to five times their salaries and senior management have a big incentive to keep them happy, according to a survey of IT directors by IT and telecoms consultancy Comunica.
The researchers found that the costs of rebuilding knowledge about a company’s infrastructure that is lost when an IT manager leaves could cripple businesses.
They claim it can cost a medium-sized company about £250,000 in fault repair delays, additional downtime and training while a new IT manager is getting inducted and fully up-to-speed. In addition, it is claimed that new IT managers waste literally thousands of pounds on duplicate equipment and unnecessary upgrades.
The survey results come at a time when IT salaries are stagnant and pay to some sections of the developer community is falling. The average annual rise across IT job vacancies advertised in the third quarter of 2002 – the most recent period for which information is available – was just 1.0%, according to a recent Computer Weekly/SSP survey.
The researchers say that this is the lowest rise recorded since the surveys began. And heads of IT themselves are not immune to this trend – the average salary for an IT director based in London slipped from £82,500 in 2001 to £77,000 in 2002, according to a survey by Harvey Nash, the recruitment company. This picture suggests that businesses may be seriously underestimating the true value of their IT managers – and could pay a high price in the long run.