Government IT leaders least likely to get salary boost

Public sector CIOs may get below average salaries and bonuses, but they’re still among the happiest of IT leaders


By Sooraj Shah

30 May 2017

IT leaders in the public sector are least likely to experience a salary increase this year, according to the 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey.

In the 19th iteration of the survey, respondents were asked how their base salary had changed compared to last year. Only one-fifth (20%) of government respondents said their base salary had changed in 2017, compared to 15 other industries including retail (41%), leisure (48%), professional services (38%) and technology (36%).

The small proportion of public sector IT leaders who did receive a salary increase was also lower than last year (27%) and lower than the 2017 global average (33%).


On a more positive note, the number of IT leaders in government to have received a bonus in the last 12 months (35%) is more than the previous 12 month period (24%). However, this is still significantly lower than the global average across all sectors – which is double the proportion (70%).

Thirty-five per cent is also a smaller proportion than 13 industries – only education (33%) and non-profit (31%) had an even smaller percentage of IT leaders receiving bonuses.

However, while both salary and bonuses are below average for public sector CIOs – they are among the IT leaders that find their jobs most fulfilling. Eighty-four per cent of government CIOs said they found their jobs either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ fulfilling – only CIOs in manufacturing, professional services, education and energy had a higher level of job satisfaction.

Iain McKeand, director of the CIO practice at Harvey Nash, told CSW's sister site PublicTechnology that this proves that IT leaders find what they do more important than what they earn.

“While it is true that government and public sector CIOs tend to get paid a little below the average, it is also true that they are the ones that find their jobs most fulfilling,” he said.

“In the past, being in the public sector often meant you would stay there all of your career. We are increasingly seeing a band of IT leaders who come from outside the sector spending three to five years on a transformation project and then returning to the private sector. Through this they manage the balance of ‘making a difference’ and earning potential,” he added.

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