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IT Executive Compensation Expectations During COVID-19 [Infographic]

November 10, 2020

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IT executives continue to play a crucial, crisis management role as organizations ride the wave of upheaval that the COVID-19 pandemic wrought across industries. However, the turbulent economy continues to add uncertainty to the job and stock markets and, ultimately, the bottom line for enterprises. What is the state of executive compensation looking like as IT leaders continue to navigate their businesses through these troubled times?

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Executive Compensation-1

Through the lens of the COVID pandemic, Pulse asked IT executives across a range of industries questions pertaining to their compensation expectations, perks and stock options this year. They also dug into how satisfied these execs are with their compensation, and how they plan to negotiate a new deal.

The findings revealed that 84% of IT execs expect their bonuses to be lower than last year, with the majority taking a hit of up to 15%. COVID was believed to be the driving factor here, with 84% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that their bonus would be lower due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results suggest that incentive plans are being upended during this time, though it may only be businesses' short-term adjustments that are leading to these impacts, rather than long-term incentive shifts.

While bonuses are taking a hit, the volatility in the stock market may also lead to shifts in how fairly senior executives feel they are compensated. Over two-thirds of respondents reported that less than 15% of their salary is in stock and options, but many employees still rely on that as part of their long-term incentive to stay with an organization. As company stock prices potentially take a dip, or at least feel less stable, execs who rely on their options may feel less optimistic about their overall pay. Share price can also be impacted by corporate performance and the company's ability to hit financial metrics, which is increasingly uncertain during the pandemic.

Despite these decreases, most IT execs were found to be at least somewhat satisfied with their current compensation package, with base salary making up some of the difference in lack of bonuses. Only 13% reported being either unsatisfied or very unsatisfied. Amongst Directors, VPs, and C-suite members, Directors were found to be the most satisfied with their overall compensation package. On the other hand, the C-suite execs were most unsatisfied, at 32%. Expectations around executive salaries can vary wildly across industries, and some are obviously being hit harder than others during these times.

Just because COVID is impacting current executive pay doesn't mean top executives won't be fighting for what they believe to be their due. Over 25% of execs plan to negotiate a raise this year, while 31% still remain uncertain.

While most IT execs (77%) have not changed employers in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many would be open to considering a remote role that offers a higher total compensation package. 82% of IT executives would consider taking a remote role at a new company if it meant they would receive higher overall pay and benefits.

The findings suggest that IT executives are realistic about the state of the economy at large, but also are not eager to take a cut to their compensation, or intended comp plan growth, as businesses adapt to this new normal. This may in part be because IT executives know they have leverage. Hiring for these skilled and experienced positions takes significant time, and losing a leader in one of these positions can be disruptive to company performance during the already disruptive time of COVID. Retention of high-level IT employees is increasingly important for these reasons.


Methodology
Pulse gathers feedback from its community of IT executives. The data reported in this infographic was gathered between September 21-October 22, 2020. 105 IT executives were surveyed.


Demographics
Location - 81% of respondents reside in the United States or Canada, 13% reside in EMEA and 6% reside in APAC.
Job Level - 43% of respondents are Directors, 26% are VPs, and 31% are C-Suite.

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