CIO salary: 10 stats and trends for 2019

CIO salary: 10 stats and trends for 2019

What does that CIO make in 2019? If you’re a current or aspiring CIO, consider these CIO salary statistics and trends

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September 05, 2019

The CIO role continues to evolve in 2019. The best CIOs of the bunch are transformation masters, helping their organizations improve time to market and customer experience, empowering cross-functional teams, iterating with new technologies, and redefining the role of IT in the business.

In other words, the CIO plays a key role in digital transformation in many organizations. These critical functions do not go unnoticed: CIO salaries continue to rise. We’ve updated our 2018 CIO salary trends report with more recent numbers for 2019. Take a look at how various factors, such as location, experience, and industry, influence a CIO’s earning potential.

[ Which certifications will advance your IT career, pointing you toward a CIO role? Read also: 13 top-paying IT certifications for 2019 and 7 valuable certifications for IT leaders. ]

Average CIO salary 2019

$120,063: Indeed.com estimates that CIOs in the United States make an average of $120,063 per year. This figure, last updated in August 2019, is based on 587 salaries submitted anonymously to Indeed by chief information officer employees and users and is collected from past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months.

$157,557: Payscale reports a slightly higher average CIO salary, at $157,557. They also highlight the average bonus CIOs can expect to take home: $25,857.

$169,669: The highest average salary we could find reported is from Glassdoor data, which looked at 332 CIO salaries submitted anonymously to the site. This figure is up from our analysis last year, when Glassdoor had the average CIO salary listed as $157,934.

$227,150 – $333,339: What’s in a title? More than $50k, potentially. Add the word “technology” to your title (as in chief information technology officer), and you stand to earn between $227,150 and $333,339, according to Salary.com. According to the Salry.com data, this role may be called by different titles, including the better-known “CTO.”

What about CDO salaries?: Adding the word “digital” helps, too. Payscale shows an average salary of $203,473 for chief digital officers. Glassdoor’s average for this title is slightly higher, at $249,818.

Factors that influence CIO salary

Experience pays off: 20 years of experience can greatly impact your earning potential as a CIO – to the tune of $75k. According to Payscale, “an entry-level CIO with less than one year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $99,143.” The average jumps to $174,942 for CIOs with 20 or more years under their belt.

Location matters: Where you live also makes a notable difference for CIOs. According to ZipRecruiter, New York is the most lucrative place to be a CIO. There, the annual salary for this role can climb as high as $293,753, but it averages $171,354. That’s more than $50k higher than the average CIO salary in North Carolina, which ZipRecruiter puts at $120,503.

Mondo, a staffing agency specializing in high-end, niche digital talent in technology hubs including New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Atlanta reports an average annual salary range for CIOs and CTOs between $175,000 and $300,000, much higher than the U.S. averages noted above. This is up about $10k from a year ago, notes the Wall Street Journal.

In-demand industries: According to the Robert Half Technology 2020 Salary Guide, four industries are leading IT hiring in the year ahead: financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and distribution, and technology. Where there’s demand for IT talent, higher salaries typically follow. For instance, in healthcare, CIOs and other senior IT executives earned an average base salary of $235,806 in 2018, according to a survey from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

Fortune 500 CIOs are in a league of their own: If you land a CIO role at a Fortune 500 company, you are in a million-dollar club. CIO.com’s latest salary comparison takes bonuses, stock awards, perks, and other benefits into account to provide the bigger picture of total CIO compensation. The highest earner on this list is Tim Theriault, EVP and global CIO for Walgreens Boots, who netted a whopping $13,588,312 for his work in this role.

More money, more responsibility

The CIO role is more strategic than ever: Angus Loten reports in the WSJ, “In a 2018 report, Korn Ferry found that 83 percent of nearly 200 IT executives surveyed at firms across a range of industries said their role is more strategic than it was three years ago. Sixty-seven percent said they are on their company’s executive committee, up from 55 percent in a similar survey a year earlier.” 

[ Want advice and data for IT hiring managers and job applicants? Download our free eBook: IT job searching in 2019: A practical guide. ]

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Carla Rudder is a writer and content manager on The Enterprisers Project.

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