Workers are more likely to receive bigger bonuses if they have technology certifications than if they rely on skills based on knowledge or experience, according to a new survey.
Rewards to staff without IT certifications slumped along with the economy in 2002, while staff with valuable letters after their name continued to receive bonuses.
Foote Partners' annual Technical Skills & Certifications Pay Trends review found that bonus payments for staff with certifications have risen by nearly one per cent since the end of 2000, to an average eight per cent of base salary.
Meanwhile premium pay for non-certified technical skills plummeted 25 per cent over the past two years, down 13.2 per cent in 2002 alone, to its current seven per cent of base pay.
This puts certified employees a percentage point ahead for the first time.
David Foote, president and chief research officer at Foote Partners, said: "Employers faced with deep budget cuts have become more suspicious of workers' self-marketing of their skills acumen.
"Many report that they now regard certifications as more solid and meaningful measures for comparing IT workers.
"Some managers in our survey are even convinced that certifications symbolise greater commitment to job and career, and result in more workers keeping their skills current."
Until 2001 the trend had been for staff with 'stand-alone' skills to earn higher bonuses - by almost three per cent - than those with certificates.
The research firm's study of 32,000 IT workers and 1,830 employers across Europe and the US found that certifications relating to project management and security secured the highest bonuses.
Average premium pay for these certifications increased seven per cent and 11.3 per cent respectively in 2002, and 25 per cent and 31 per cent over the past two years.
Lowest performing certifications included application development and programming languages.
Skills not backed by certificates hit especially hard over the past year are messaging and groupware (down 25 per cent), web and e-commerce (down 17 per cent) and enterprise application (down 15 per cent).
But database skills held up relatively well, losing only eight per cent of their value on average in 2002, while applications development tools and languages skills lost 13 per cent overall in 2002.
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