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Surveys show Web jobs pay best

New evidence shows that the fastest road to riches, aside from winning the lottery or scoring a stock market coup, is a job in the Internet industry.

New evidence shows that the fastest road to riches, aside from winning the lottery or scoring a stock market coup, is a job in the Internet industry.

Two new salary surveys reveal that Internet professionals--the large majority of whom continue to be men--make much more than the national salary average and can expect sizable annual raises in addition to bonuses and other compensation.

A new survey conducted by Toppmeyer Research for Network Computing magazine found that, on average, Web professionals' salaries increased by 9 percent this year over 1997. The "Intranet/Web Manager Job Satisfaction and Salary Survey," which polled 391 Internet-industry employees in June and July, found their average annual compensation to be $59,600, up from $54,800 last year.

The survey also found that the growth of e-commerce and corporate intranets--used for internal company information, human resources, tech support, and employee training, See special report:
Fat cats among other things--is driving the demand for Web professionals and, subsequently, is pushing their compensation figures higher. Companies are spending an average of $1.9 million on intranets this year, a 70 percent increase over 1997, according to the Network Computing survey.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post's online edition recently completed a five-month survey of more than 7,000 online professionals in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area. The survey, conducted through voluntarily participation online, revealed that the ratio of men to women in online professions is 2.5-to-1.

The Post survey, which was not conducted through any scientific method, found that local Internet industry employees make an average of $53,523, significantly higher than the $38,660 average salary of white-collar workers. The survey also found that Web-industry workers without a college degree earned an average of $49,000 annually, only $5,000 less than their bachelor's degree-holding counterparts and still higher than the average salary of white-collar workers.

"People are seeing the Internet as the future and are making huge investments in Internet-related projects," Les Fenyves, director at James Moore & Associates, a technical and managerial computer industry placement firm in San Francisco, said in explaining the findings of both surveys. "Most high-tech companies offer some opportunity to purchase their products online. All of this activity has continued to boost demand for Web professionals."

But Fenyves said he doesn't expect the salaries of these Web professionals to continue increasing exponentially.

"The job market has softened in the last year," he said. "The market peaked about a year-and-a-half ago, and we're on a downslope now."

Fenyves said Internet professionals still are in high demand, but pointed out that the shortage of skilled workers is not as acute as in the database programming and client/server development fields.

He noted also that many employers at Web-related companies still woo job candidates with 15 percent salary increases and hefty signing bonuses, but said companies now are being more selective about their hires.