IT Manager Salary: Starting, Average, and Skills to Boost It

IT managers are charged with determining organizations’ technology needs and implementing (and maintaining) their tech stacks. They must also oversee teams, which means they need great “soft skills” such as communication and empathy. Given the complex nature of the job, you might expect a typical IT manager salary to be quite high—and you’d be right. But how high? Let’s find out!

What is an IT manager’s starting salary?

According to Emsi Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, the median salary for an IT manager with between zero and two years of experience is $87,000 per year. That rises significantly with experience, of course; by the time they’ve been in their profession for nine years, the median IT manager salary has risen to $116,000. Education and specialized skills can drive their salary up still further.

What is an average IT manager salary?

Emsi Burning Glass pegs the average IT manager salary at $104,967 per year. According to Dice’s latest Tech Salary Report, MIS managers, who are tasked with overseeing companies’ hardware and software operations, make an average of $119,186 per year; in fact, the Report found that managers of all types generally made high salaries by tech standards (project managers, for example, pulled down an average of $118,517 per year).

What do IT managers make in comparison to other popular tech positions?

The Dice Tech Salary Report estimates the average technologist salary at $104,566, a 6.9 percent increase between 2020 and 2021. That aligns closely with what IT managers make—and these professionals can, of course, take their overall compensation much higher if they have the right skills and experience.

How do you negotiate salary?

In order to secure the maximum possible salary (and land on a good track for future advancement), IT managers must demonstrate they can apply their technical and soft skills toward furthering a company’s aims.

According to Emsi Burning Glass, employers seeking IT managers often asked for the following skills:

Mastering these skills is vital to the job; showing employers how you’ve used these skills (and others) to help complete projects and achieve strategic goals is key to laddering up your pay. Whenever you enter any kind of compensation discussion, bring data that demonstrates your impact on your past and future companies (budget saved, new lines of business created, customer engagement boosted). Emphasize that you’ll continue to deliver future results.  

Are IT managers in demand?

According to Emsi Burning Glass, organizations posted 255,595 open IT manager jobs; the average time to fill these positions was 41 days, indicating a high level of demand.