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The gap between local authority ICT staff salaries and those in the private ...
The gap between local authority ICT staff salaries and those in the private

sector is closing, according to the latest comprehensive salary survey

for the Society of IT Management.

The survey, published this week and available exclusively to local

authorities taking part, shows that the salary gap is receding in many areas,

particularly at senior management level. While in previous years salaries

of ICT directors in local government were typically only 60% of their

private sector equivalents, ICT directors in London and the south-east are

now being paid up to 86% of their equivalents in the private sector.

Average salaries in the police and fire sectors are showing a particular

increase over last year, with police salaries increasing by 6.8%(1.7% in

2003) and fire service salaries increasing by 10.2%(4.4% in 2003). Across

the whole sample, salaries have increased by an average of 5.9% compared to

5.1% last year.

The survey, now in its fourth year, also demonstrates an on-going, pleasing

trend with respect to recruitment and retention of staff at all levels.

Whereas 25% of organisations reported retention problems in 2003, the figure

has reduced to 17% in 2004. Similarly whilst 34% reported recruitment

problems last year, this years figure is 27%. Recruitment problems in the

London area, in particular, have eased, falling from over 50% reporting

problems in 2003 to 27% this year.

The survey analyses the salaries of all ICT staff in participating

authorities. This year's results are based on returns from over 140 local

authorities (around 30% of the total) covering more than 6,000 staff, seven

job levels, five job functions, and a total of 105 key skills.

The survey presents a range of data by type of authority, job type,

geographical location, gender, and age, and compares local authority ICT

salaries with those across all industries, using data from CEL's much larger

Computer Staff Salary. It additio nally provides information about staff

turnover, recruitment and retention, and details of the special efforts

taken by local authorities to attract and retain staff, including payment of

bonuses, and benefits such as flexitime, job sharing and home working.

The use of fringe benefits and more flexible ways of working is seen as very

important for authorities unable to compete with the private sector on

salaries alone. The 2004 survey shows increases in key indicators and that:

- 94% offer flexible working hours (up from 92% in 2003)

- 27% allow selected staff to work from home (up from 25% in


- 85% offer job sharing (up from 75% in 2003)

- 71% have a structured training and development plan for all staff

(same level as 2003)

However, according to Andy Roberts, chair of Socitm's member services group

which commissions the annual survey: 'Local authorities and other public

sector organisations must not be complacent - whilst currently they are able

to compete effectively in the ICT skills market, they are likely to face a

stiff challenge once recruitment picks up again and competition drives up

private sector salaries.'

Socitm is keen to support it's members in their development, and is

introducing a Continuous Professional Development scheme. It is also

part funding MBA courses for a number of it's members.

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