What Is a CIO Salary?

A Chief Information Officer (CIO) has the ultimate responsibility for technology, teams, and suppliers. They provide clear oversight of systems, processes, data reporting, and staff.

What is the salary for CIOs in the US?

According to recent surveys, a CIO salary can be as high as $300,000 per year.

A CIO salary will vary by experience. Where they work also has an effect. CIO salaries in the Northeast tend to be higher, but CIOs can earn competitive salaries in other regions across the US.

With all these factors – experience, geography, the quality of the candidate and the needs of the business – it can be complicated to assess a CIO’s salary.

How to determine a CIO salary?

Where a candidate fits depends on key factors relating to the CIO role itself, including:


1. To what extent is the CIO responsible for IT strategic decisions? Are they accountable for strategic IT direction or just operational decisions?

2. To what extent do they contribute to business strategy? More specifically, do they contribute IT innovations and options for the business? Do they translate business strategy into IT strategy?

3. To what extent do they lead projects that address changes to process, technology, organization, and reporting? Or do they just handle the technology component?

4. What experience do they have in terms of internal team size, expenditure on products and services, complex contract management, and potential impact of failure or security breach?


Overall, the CIO is an extremely important position that can have a huge impact on a business. The CIO’s salary needs to reflect that. (For more information about the role itself, see our article, What is the meaning of “CIO”?)

If you have questions about the role of the CIO and their salary, we can help. We interview, screen, select and develop more executive-level IT leaders than any other organization. We’re always happy to discuss the recruitment process or any other IT challenges or opportunities.

Why Freeman Clarke?

Freeman Clarke CIOs work on a “fractional,” or part-time model. This provides a business with first-class technology leadership without the full-time cost.

Our fractional CIOs are uniquely suited to mid-market businesses. They have outstanding technical expertise. They are strategic thinkers. They understand how to use technology to drive growth. But they are also suited to the culture and reality of mid-market business.

Whatever the needs of the company, our CIOs operate from the fundamental idea of linking systems and digital strategy to business objectives. This should be the goal of every innovative company because when the two disciplines are connected, we see real, sustainable growth.


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