More good news for IT professionals: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP says IT professionals in hot demand will receive merit increases averaging 5.6% this year, and that the merit pay increase for all corporate positions in the computer and information technology sector will average 4.85%. "These professionals can almost write their own ticket," says Paul Platten, principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers and member of its National Rewards practice. The industries projected to have the next best merit increases: chemicals, 4.2% and utilities, 3.9%. The firm's Compensation Planning Survey: 2000 also found that the least variation in pay by geographic location was at the CEO level where only 10.3% of companies said location made a difference. By contrast, 87% of companies said that the pay of nonexempt employees included geographic location as a factor.