These are the tech jobs with the fastest rising salaries–and the skills employers want most

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Four in 10 tech workers say their salary increased in the past year. But not everyone is being recognized equally for their work.

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Organizations have placed value on building new systems offering a better customer experience.

Image: iStock/jacoblund

Nearly four in 10 technology professionals received a pay increase in the past year, according to new data from tech recruiter Harvey Nash, with development managers, user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers, system architects and data science professionals seeing the biggest increases.

Research based on 6,000 tech leaders and experts found that 59% of professionals in development management and team leadership roles saw their salaries increase in the past year, compared to 50% in UX and UI design.

Harvey Nash said this reflected the value organizations had placed on building new systems offering a better customer experience, making UX specialists, software developers and customer insights analysts of particular value to employers.

Architecture and data science, skills Harvey Nash said had become scarcer in the past year, were also in the top 10, with 46% and 43% of professionals receiving a pay rise, respectively.

Rounding out the top 10 were quality assurance professionals (50%), software engineers (41%), developers (40%), IT operations (40%) CIO/CTO/IT lead (39%), and infrastructure management/team leadership (39%).

Ireland, Poland, Australia, the US and Germany saw the the biggest pay increases for tech workers over the past 12 months, according to Harvey Nash's Hot Skills and Salary Report.

More than half (57%) of technology experts in Ireland and Poland received a pay rise in 2020-2021 – 43% higher than the global average. This was followed by 41% of tech workers in Australia, 39% in the US, and 32% of technology professionals in Germany.

SEE: Gartner's top tech predictions for 2021 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The healthcare sector (54%) led the top five sectors for tech pay rises, followed by retail and leisure (50%), charity/not-for-profit (43%), technology/telecoms (39%), and financial services (36%).

Healthcare also led the ranking of the top three sectors globally to increase technology headcount in the last year.

Harvey Nash's research highlights a disparity between the tech skills deemed most valuable to organizations and those that are most likely to be remunerated.

Cybersecurity and infosec roles were cited among the top three most scarce skills in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Amongst all organizations surveyed, cybersecurity was cited as the most in-demand tech skill by 35% of organizations.

Despite this, two-thirds (67%) of cyber professionals did not receive a pay increase. And, while chief information security officers (CISOs) and security specialists were rated among the most important roles to businesses, these ranked joint 14th amongst the tech workers to have received a pay rise in the last 12 months. 

Bev White, chief executive, Harvey Nash Group, said the research indicated that organizations had opted to reward staff who had helped make their products or services more customer-friendly over the past year, as opposed to those charged with keeping businesses protected amid a growing threat landscape.

"Technology roles are hugely important and deserve to be well paid. In today's environment where cyber threats are an ever-present, security roles in particular are critical to the success of organisations and should be properly remunerated," said White.

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"But despite the key role that security specialists have played in keeping businesses protected during the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic and the move to mass homeworking, this doesn't seem to have translated into pay rises for the majority of cyber professionals."

White also warned that skilled workers would look elsewhere if employers failed to recognize and reward their efforts.

"It is vital that organisations don't score an own goal by under-rewarding their cyber teams – and then facing an exodus of talent looking for better remuneration elsewhere," said White.

The UK and US were found to be particularly culpable of not rewarding their security staff, despite the increased demand for their talents.

In fact, the UK proved to be a lousy remunerator in general: less than a third (30%) of tech professionals in the country received a pay rise in the past year.

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