How big will your raise be in 2007?

Wondering what your skills will be worth in the New Year? Thinking of changing jobs and need the 411 on your market value? Check out these salary guides in 4 hot fields.

By Anne Fisher, Fortune senior writer

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- First, the ho-hum news: Sibson Consulting reports that most employers "anticipate a less-than-4-percent base pay increase" for the vast majority of their workers in 2007 - about the same as in the past few years. For someone earning $40,000 a year, a pay hike of 3 to 4 percent works out to as little as $100 per month before taxes, which is not exactly a reason to break out the bubbly.

That doesn't mean you can't earn more, especially with specialized skills in office administration, the law, IT, and accounting and finance. Robert Half International, a worldwide staffing firm whose various divisions match up employers with talent in these areas, has done exhaustive analyses of where pay is headed in 2007 and has published four salary guides.

Each includes a formula for calculating regional differences in pay ranges, so that if you're thinking of moving to a different part of the country, you can figure out what you're likely to earn there. Here are some highlights from the guides, including a small sampling of jobs where you're likely to get a bigger-than-average raise:

Office administration: Demand is rising for people who can work effectively for senior executives, or who can run an office or other workplace efficiently. Senior executive assistants' pay range in 2007 is expected to rise 6.5 percent, while senior office managers' salaries are projected to run 8.2 percent higher than in 2006, reaching $52,000 a year at the high end.

The salary guide also suggests ways to boost your market value: Add 9 percent to the salaries listed in the guide if you are bilingual, up to 10 percent if you hold a Microsoft Office Specialist certification, and 10 percent if you are a senior assistant supporting a C-level honcho in a large company.

Information technology: Windows administration (Server 2000/2003) tops the list of the most wanted skills, according to a Robert Half survey of 1,400 chief information officers, with 79 percent of CIOs. It's followed by network administration (Cisco, Nortel, Novell) at 76 percent. Database management (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2) comes third at 69 percent; and 57 percent of CIOs say they're looking to hire people skilled in wireless network management and firewall administration.

A word to the wise: 41 percent of these employers said they are more interested than ever before in hiring techies with "knowledge of business fundamentals, such as accounting, finance and general operations." The IT salary guide shows that pay for experts in applications development, systems integration, and database administration has been climbing over the past couple of years, and in 2007 will rise well into six figures.

The law: Ferocious competition among law firms for up-and-coming talent will nudge first-year associates' pay up 6.2 percent at big firms and 7.9 percent at midsized ones, but you don't have to be an attorney to score an above-average raise.

Office managers at law firms will make 6.3 percent more than in 2006, and many paralegals will do even better: A senior paralegal, meaning one with at least 7 years' experience, will pull down 7.6 percent more in 2007, earning as much as $78,250. A midlevel paralegal (4-6 years' experience) at a small law firm can expect a 7 percent bump, to somewhere between $40,500 and $55,500.

Accounting and finance: The watchword here is "compliance." Sarbanes-Oxley and a plethora of related new rules and regulations have pushed companies to increase their finance staffs by 68 percent since 2002, according to one study, and salaries for compliance specialists reflect the continuing demand. At large companies, average pay for chief compliance officers will jump 14.4 percent in 2007, to as much as $181,250, while compliance officers at midsize firms can expect to make 9.2 percent more than last year, or up to $97,750. Isn't it nice to know that some honest folks are benefiting from the rash of scandals that has plagued corporate America for the past few years?

Want more details? All four of the salary guides are available online for free. The office administration guide can be downloaded at For IT, go to The legal guide is at, and the accounting version at

See you January 2! Happy holidays, everybody! Top of page