Compensation surveys for 2012 are starting to roll in, and while the median forecast for raises is a dismal 2.3 to 3 percent, things look a little brighter for the most-skilled and best-performing IT professionals. First, tech sector salaries are expected to rise 4.5 percent with some positions increasing by 6 percent or more, says Robert Half International. Workers in the South Central and West Coast regions may get slightly higher increases. Second, employers are concerned about retaining top performers, with 62 percent naming retention as their top priority for 2012. In fact, top performers should demand larger increases and bonuses, because over 90 percent of U.S. organizations say they're tying salary increases and bonuses to performance measures, up from 78 percent in 2009, according to a 2011 study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity. Leaders across all positions will receive average raises of 4.5 percent to 6 percent. If you can’t score a bigger raise or market-based pay adjustment, try other avenues to boost your total compensation. Some 64 percent of companies plan to offer top performers new career opportunities, while 21 percent will offer larger bonuses and 52 percent will offer hiring or retention bonus to those with specialized industry or product knowledge. The key is to document your performance, quantify your business impact and be the first one to ask for a raise. Most companies -- 73 percent -- have already communicated next year’s budget to managers, and when it comes to compensation the early bird usually gets the worm.