The average daily rate for interim IT managers has shot up by £100 ($196) a day over the past two years, putting IT managers near the top of the pay league, new research has revealed.

A survey of nearly 1,300 interim managers and more than 100 companies by interim recruitment specialist Praxis Executive found that average daily rates for interim managers hit £685 in 2006. Pay rates for interim IT managers put them in third place, behind only "turnaround" specialists, hired to drag beleaguered businesses out of the mire, and interim chief executives.

IT managers were paid at the same rate as interim finance managers and more than specialists in project and program management, HR, and sales and marketing.

The biggest employers of IT professionals as interim managers were the telecoms and financial services industries, the research found. Interim IT managers were relatively rare in public sector, where senior external personnel were often provided by large consultancies under outsourcing contracts.

But across all sectors, the survey found that interim IT managers were less frequently hired than Finance, HR and operations managers.

Across all professional categories, 45 percent of the interim managers expected to earn more than £100,000 this year, while 27 percent expected to earn more than £125,000.

Jeremy Finch, managing director of Praxis Executive said interim managers were highly valued "due to their levels of qualification and experience, particularly when compared with management consultants."