Eight in 10 CIOs say their compensation has increased over the past year and a half, with nearly a quarter (23%) reporting compensation increasing by more than 20%, according to a Qualtrics survey of more than 200 CIOs released last month.
Compensation increases came alongside extra duties. The majority, 81%, of CIOs say responsibilities increased as a result of the pandemic. At smaller companies, 47% reported a significant increase in responsibilities for members of their teams, 27% reported an increase at mid-sized companies and 30% reported an increase at larger companies.
Alongside the compensation and responsibility shifts, 59% of overall IT budgets and 56% of team sizes have increased over the past 18 months, according to the report.
The lucrative compensation for IT roles permeates leadership and staff roles alike, amid a tightening market for qualified talent.
There is an "unprecedented demand" for IT talent stemming from transformation caused by the pandemic driving up salaries, according to Craig Stephenson, managing director, Korn Ferry North America Technology Officers Practice, in an email to CIO Dive.
"In addition, CIOs are quickly becoming a strategic enterprise leader and closer to B2B and B2C customers than ever before," Stephenson said. The role "also requires a strong leader who can drive effective change management which also contributes to growing compensation levels."
The average IT worker earns a six-figure salary while those in leadership positions can earn heaps more. The Target CIO, for instance, earned a total compensation of $10 million in 2018, according to a report from CIO.
The average CIO salary falls somewhere in between. The median base salary for CIOs is $166,717, according to Payscale data based on 2,414 salary profiles. From there, they can earn tens of thousands more with bonuses, profit sharing and commission. Total compensation ranges from $98,000 to $310,000.
"The stock of CIOs is high and compensation is going to correlate to this for the foreseeable future," Stephenson said. "Technology leaders are accepting new roles for total compensation increases in the range of 20% to 35%."
Pay can vary widely based on location, even as more companies accept remote or hybrid models as the future of the workplace. San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, respectively, ranked as the top five U.S. cities with the highest tech worker salaries, according to a June 2020 report from Hired.
By state, Washington, New York, New Hampshire and California all rank above the national average for CIO salaries, according to a ZipRecruiter analysis. The average CIO nationally makes $153,679 per year, ZipRecruiter found.
"With only a handful of states paying above the national average, the opportunities for economic advancement by moving to a new location as a CIO is a decision to make with some caution," the ZipRecruiter report notes. "Factoring in cost of living expenses should be considered as well."
CIOs from underrepresented groups can keep the averages in mind when analyzing their compensation. CIOs that identify as women earned 30% less than male counterparts, according to a 2018 Comparably study. African-American executives were the lowest paid across all C-level positions, including CIOs.