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Business intelligence and data warehousing salaries continue to rise

Jeff Kelly, News Editor

Business intelligence and data warehousing salaries continued to rise in 2007, nearing an average

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of $100,000 annually, according to a recent report from The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI).

The average business intelligence/data warehousing (BI/DW) salary rose 4% in 2007 to $98,418, up from $94,615 in 2006, the report said. By comparison, the IT industry as a whole enjoyed a salary growth rate of 3.7% last year. The report surveyed 1,087 BI/DW professionals in the U.S. and Canada. TDWI expects the average salary to reach the six-figure mark in 2008.

"With the demand for BI projects growing, which increases demand for people, I would expect to see a slight rise in salaries, which we did," said Wayne Eckerson, author of the report and director of the Renton, Wash.-based education and research firm. Eckerson expects salaries to continue to rise this year by a similar, if somewhat smaller, percentage, despite the current difficult economic climate. "We haven't seen any real impact of the economy on our market yet," he said.

BI and DW careers and salaries: Did you know?

- 33% of BI/DW workers do not think they are fairly compensated.
- The average BI director is 43 years old.
- 43% of BI managers hold a master's degree or higher.
-The average data analyst/data modeler has six years of BI experience.
- 63% of BI/DW teams are made up of 10 or fewer staff members.
- Business requirements analysts' average salary dropped 1.2% in 2007.
- The average male BI/DW worker made $101,606 in 2007.
- Last year, the average female BI/DW worker made $90,014.

Source: 2008 TDWI Salary, Roles, and Responsibilities Report, The Data Warehousing Institute

The report also found that the percentage of "business-side professionals" among BI/DW workers, as opposed to IT professionals, continued to rise -- 12% of respondents identified themselves as "business sponsors, drivers, or users," up 8.2% from 2006. The percentage of corporate IT professionals among respondents, by contrast, declined to 71.5% in 2007 from 78.3% in 2006.

"To really succeed with BI, companies are realizing that business really has to take the lead because it's such a business-driven application, and requirements keep changing all the time," Eckerson said. The most valuable BI/DW workers, in fact, are those who possess a blend of both business and IT skills, he added.

"The best people are the ones who have strong business knowledge and the ability to execute on the IT side, whether that's IT people who've been in the same company or industry for a dozen years and know the business sometimes better than the business people, or it's business people who have taken themselves to task to study IT and BI," Eckerson said. "It doesn't matter which side you come from, but you've got to blend the business and IT to make things happen."

Some getting more than others

Most BI/DW workers saw their wages increase between 1% and 3%, while a select few, 4%, enjoyed a whopping 20% or more increase in salary. The percentage of those receiving bonuses also rose, to 66%, but the size of the average bonus actually shrank by more than $1,000, from $12,891 in 2006 to $11,802 in 2007. More than two-thirds of bonuses were awarded for company or individual performance, the report said, as bonuses continue to become an accepted form of compensation.

Not surprisingly, BI directors enjoyed the highest pay among BI/DW professionals, with an average salary of $125,907 per year, up 6% from 2006. BI project managers also enjoyed a 6% increase in salary, with average pay reaching $98,566 per year, but the average salary for data warehouse administrators inched up only 1.8% in 2007, from $84,968 in 2006 to $86,574.

More stark is the pay discrepancy by gender. Men make significantly more than their female counterparts, and enjoyed an average salary increase of 4.6% in 2007 from the previous year, compared with just 2.2% for female BI/DW professionals, according to the report. In real terms, this means that last year the average male BI/DW professional made $11,592 more than his female opposite number. That gap has more than doubled from $5,471 in 2005. Women accounted for 27% of respondents in the most recent study.

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"Obviously, there is the gender gap to begin with. Socio-economically you could say there are reasons why women aren't paid the same as men," Eckerson said, possibly including discrimination or a glass ceiling. "But women tend to be in the more hands-on types of [BI] roles – trainers, requirements analysts – not in the heavy technical roles, which tend to get paid more."

Consulting and professional services, mid-Atlantic pay best

By industry, BI/DW professionals working in the consulting and professional services sectors fared the best, collecting an annual salary of $110,170, followed by pharmaceutical industry BI/DW workers, who pulled down an average of $103,675 per year. State and local governments paid among the lowest average BI/DW salaries, just under $82,000 per year.

The mid-Atlantic region proved to be the most lucrative area of the country for BI/DW workers, the report found, with an average salary of $105,340. The Northeast and Pacific regions came in a close second and third, respectively, both averaging around $104,000. BI/DW workers in the Central Plains are the least compensated in the country, with an average salary of $85,036, according to the report.

As for job satisfaction, more than half of respondents said they are either highly or very highly satisfied with their current position, roughly the same percentage as in 2006. Only 7.6% said their job satisfaction was low, with another 1.4% reporting it at "very low."

BI and DW initiatives overall continue to mature, according to respondents, 25.7% of whom said their companies had completed two or more major BI/DW "iterations that have been relatively successful." Another 20.6% said their BI environment was "relatively mature" and "delivers significant business value."

Those respondents reporting that their organizations are just getting started with BI and DW decreased significantly over the last two years, from 21.3% in 2005 to 15.5% in 2007. The report stated: "This number may be expected to continue to decline as more and more BI/DW implementations continue to mature."

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