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December 17, 1999
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t do people think is the best way to get a raise? Well in the case of IT workers, survey results support the conventional wisdom that moving to a new company is the best way to get the biggest salary increase -- in most cases. Results of the 1999 InfoWorld Compensation Survey Update, appearing in the Dec. 13 issue, also found that more than 40 percent of respondents received stock as part of their compensation package.

"While most people feel that changing companies is the fastest way to a high salary, it may depend on how much money you make to begin with," said Margaret Steen, senior editor of enterprise careers at InfoWorld. "Our research shows that many people do get significant increases by moving to a new company, but a smaller number of people are doing quite well by staying with their current company."

This was the first time the compensation survey was conducted online.

Salary and Switching Jobs
- More than 82 percent of respondents said "yes" it is necessary to change companies in order to get a significant salary increase.
- A minority of respondents (17.7 percent) reported it was not necessary to change jobs to get a big salary increase. These respondents received merit increases more than twice as large as those who advocated changing companies, had larger increases when moving internally, and 10 percent higher salaries. (These people may be top performers, or they may work for companies that regularly give large raises.)
- Average salaries for respondents were above the national average in the Northeast (by 5.4 percent) and the West (9.5 percent), and below the average in the Midwest (13.8 percent) and the South (1.3 percent).

Other Compensation Findings
- More than 41 percent of respondents received company stock in some forms. More than half of these reported it was tied to a vesting schedule.
- Selling company stock added significant income for some respondents -- especially those higher in the organization, living on either coast, or working in a computer-related industry.
- Contractors earn more money than permanent IT professionals, but lack benefits such as insurance and paid vacation. Methodology An intercept survey was posted on from Oct. 13, 1999 to Nov. 8, 1999. One in every 20 visitors to the site received a pop-up invitation asking IT professionals to participate in the survey. Visitors were given the option of bypassing the survey. A total of 1,136 completed questions was received.

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