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Businesses The Almighty Buck IT

Flat Pay Prompts 1 In 3 In IT To Consider Jump 608

CWmike writes "Companies have cut salaries and training, held back on bonuses and piled more work on employees in response to the economic downturn. These tactics may well be pushing many IT pros to go job hunting, Computerworld's latest salary poll has found. More than one third (36%) of the 343 respondents to a recent poll said they are looking to move to a new employer in the next six months. And 69% reported they had not received a pay raise in the past six months. The poll was conducted during the last two weeks in September. For employers, the warning could not be more clear. As the economy improves, the most able IT workers may leave for something better."
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Flat Pay Prompts 1 In 3 In IT To Consider Jump

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  • by Cornwallis ( 1188489 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @03:55PM (#33828716)

    I love a good fiction story.

    I'm gonna become a farmer.

    • by bberens ( 965711 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:34PM (#33829248)
      I'm more curious about this:

      69% reported they had not received a pay raise in the past six months.

      If raises were given evenly distributed throughout the year you should see 50% answering no. My experience is that most companies give raises at the beginning of the year (Feb/March) so 70% saying no isn't surprising. Is anyone really getting raises every 6 months? If you do, is your company hiring Java developers? I've clearly been doing this wrong.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Lockheed Martin generally does/did their raises in February. I've always assumed it was pretty much industry standard. Or at least at the end of the FY.

        I too did not receive a raise in the last 6 months, I'm not worried at all, our raises come in December.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by danlip ( 737336 )

      Well the better job is another job in the same field.
      I've been a software engineer for 15 years, and during that
      time I was lucky to get 1 or 2 cost-of-living pay increases.
      But I got enormous pay bumps by switching companies (and
      the last switch was mid-2009, the height of the Bush economic
      meltdown). Why companies insist on doing things this way is
      a mystery to me, but that's how it is.

      • by Excelsior ( 164338 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:48PM (#33829454)

        Any chance that
        while you aren't
        getting any raises
        you are sending
        emails with forced
        carriage returns to
        your boss? I'm
        just saying...

      • by Low Ranked Craig ( 1327799 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:53PM (#33829528)

        Bush economic meltdown

        I'm no fan of Bush, but fixating on him is shortsighted. Remember that congress appropriates money and originates budgets, not the president, so, I suppose all the Democrats in congress had nothing to do with it, right? I mean, they've only been in control for the last 4 years. And of course the fact that the spending over the last 18 months dwarfs what happened in 2007/2008 and the impending tax increases has nothing to do with businesses being reluctant to hire, right?

        Congress is corrupt, the executive branch is corrupt and the judiciary is most of the way there. If you think that R=bad and D=good, or the inverse you are deluded. They all suck

        • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <> on Thursday October 07, 2010 @05:29PM (#33829958) Homepage Journal

          Control? no not in control. They barely have majority, but REP filibuster pretty much everything to death. There hand where tied as the previous republican majority mistake continued to ride. The tax measure that's expiring will not add any more jobs whether or not it expires.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            There hand

            Their hands

            where tied

            were tied

            Fixed that for you. How does it feel to fail something that fourth-graders are expected to do correctly?

            You're a dumbass. Note, that's "you're" and is not "your," just in case you got confused there.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            OK, when the Repubs had a smaller majority than the Dems have now they did all sorts of bad stuff that everybody knew was bad, but now that the Dems have a larger majority than the Repubs ever had, they can't do anything to fix what the Repubs did? Is that what you believe? You do realize that the Dems had a filibuster proof majority from January 2009 through January 2010 and even now, it requires every Republican to agree to maintain a filibuster (the Dems are only one vote short of having a filibuster pro
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by CodeBuster ( 516420 )

            The tax measure that's expiring will not add any more jobs whether or not it expires.

            Have you considered the possibility that allowing the tax measure to expire, thereby increasing taxes relative to prevailing levels during the measure, might result in even more job losses? Asking businesses to pay more taxes during the middle of the worst economy since the Great Depression is undeniably stupid. Indeed, the biggest problem with the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress, IMHO, is that they continually inject large amounts of uncertainty into the economy: uncertainty about tax

        • by bill_kress ( 99356 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @05:29PM (#33829960)

          Very off topic, but wouldn't you think that someone spending that much on a military campaign without raising taxes would have some ramifications? To NOT blame Bush would be a new level of blinders. This HAD to happen.

          I'm not disagreeing that they are all corrupt, but such massive failures as the huge deficit spending increase and allowing our corporate overlords to run rampant is significantly more dangerous--not recognizing that is shortsignted at best (Criminal may be more accurate)

        • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @05:35PM (#33830028) Journal

          but fixating on him is shortsighted.

          No, considering the man GW Bush to be the only thing meant when someone mentions "bush economic meltdown" is shortsighted.

          Letting his party have control of America again would be a total disaster. The minute the Supreme Court put them in unchecked power in 2000, they fired up the pump and started draining the treasury and several decades' worth of future earnings, putting us in the deepest hole we've ever been in.

  • This just in... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sunking2 ( 521698 )
    IT really isn't all that hard for the most part. It's time to stop equating yourselves to engineers. Again, for the most part.
    • Re:This just in... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:02PM (#33828836) Journal

      Hehe.... I manage $10M in construction. I deal with contract disputes, State and Federal funding and regulatory agencies, local politics, you name it. Oh, and I'm a licensed engineer.

      My pay is less than the guy who goes around wiping viruses off people's computers.

      Go ahead and jump, IT. There's nothing on the other side.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by NetNed ( 955141 )
        Yeah, because IT people only deal with one type of person, answer to no one and only "wipe viruses" off people's computers.

        And the costs of certs and education in the computer and network field is ALWAYS just a drop in the bucket compared to becoming a "licensed construction engineer" in any city or state. I mean they have that fee you have to renew every once in a while.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by BuckaBooBob ( 635108 )

        Sounds like you should dust off your resume and look for a new job. You are the reason why people are underpaid.. You accept a shitty wage. Move to green pastures.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by spun ( 1352 )

          Whoa there cowboy, don't go blaming the victim, it's not like he was "asking for it." He is not the reason why people are underpaid. You confuse symptom with cause. The cause is C*O pay, plain and simple. These guys call the shots, and surprise, surprise, they decided they need to get paid more, at the expense of people who actually create value instead of shuffle papers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cptdondo ( 59460 )

          If you haven't noticed, there's a recession on. Construction has taken the brunt of lost jobs, stagnant wages, and wrecked careers.

          It's taken me 2 years to get a call back on a resume. In the meantime my shitty wage feeds my family.

          My point is that many IT people still expect the salaries from the 90s, when simply knowing how to spell IT was a guarantee of a high paying job. It's changing, and not for the better.

      • by Jaysyn ( 203771 )

        I work with communications engineers that pull down between $100k & $200k a year.

        What are you doing wrong?

      • Re:This just in... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Defenestrar ( 1773808 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:21PM (#33829080)

        69% have not had pay raises in the last six months

        They work in an industry where 31% have received pay raises across a short span of time which likely doesn't intersect with the organization's fiscal year (e.g. did many run on Federal or Calendar years). [sarcasm] Oh, my - what a hardship.[/sarcasm] In such a climate as this - that sounds pretty good to me. You want to talk about flat pay - then make that time period at least a year, and compare it to other fields.

    • Working on the space shuttle really isn't all that hard for the most part. It's time to stop equating yourselves to rocket scientists. Again, for the most part.
      being a CEO really isn't all that hard for the most part. It's time to stop equating yourselves to big shots. Again, for the most part.
      Designing Bridges really isn't all that hard for the most part. It's time to stop equating yourselves to engineers. Again, for the most part.


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      IT really isn't all that hard for the most part. It's time to stop equating yourselves to engineers. Again, for the most part.

      That's because you're doing it wrong. IT done properly, with change management, proper testing, business deadlines, purchasing, project deadlines, budgeting cycles, politics, etc. etc. can be very stressful and difficult. People who think its easy are likely not doing these things, or not doing them properly. Flying by the seat of your pants can be pretty easy most of the time, but most of the time it also gets you in trouble.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        nothing done properly is stressful.

        if you're doing too much, you're doing it wrong. live with doing it wrong, find a boss that isn't bad, or be a better boss.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mlts ( 1038732 ) *

      It really depends on the IT position:

      If you are an operator, it is fairly easy. Look for lights on servers that glow differently from others, run a script or two, clean packets dropped on the floor by the N5ks and N7ks, pass any complicated stuff to L2, and dig out a good beer from the stash in the CRAC's cooling duct.

      If you are a junior admin, it is easy to hard, depending on how much stuff falls on your plate. On more staffed places, it might be just basic system maintaining and pushing out profiles, an

  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:00PM (#33828786) Homepage Journal

    Most employers do annual pay adjustments, so asking if they received a pay increase in the past 6 months would, on average, get at least 50% saying no. The report was engineered from the start to get the result that they published.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:11PM (#33828952)

      True.... but its not entirely wrong, 69% is still above the expected 50% by almost 20%. We haven't gotten a raise in about 2 years here, with a hiring freeze. This resonates with me since, its exactly what I told a head hunter last night.... I am looking to leave because they haven't given raises in 2 years, and the group dynamic means that I can epxect to be waiting quite a while for a promotion....all the while being told "you are one of the senior guys"... even though I don't have the title.

      That and, I know I could make more elsewhere.

      • by crow ( 16139 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:16PM (#33829016) Homepage Journal

        Yes, it is above the expected 50% if the date of pay raises was random, but I doubt it is. My company is within that 50% for its date, but until a few years ago it wasn't. The question is plainly biased.

        Further, saying that 36% are looking is a much softer threshold than saying 36% have submitted resumes or job applications. At least it wasn't the completely nebulous "considering" that they sometimes use.

        That said, changing jobs is often the best way to get a pay raise, and I don't blame you one bit for trying for it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by j0nb0y ( 107699 )

      Seriously. I want to see the result for the past year. Or better yet, the past two years. Not everyone in the private sector gets a pay raise every year, even in good times.

    • by tsstahl ( 812393 )

      You are assuming that pay raises everywhere follow the calendar year. Almost every place I have worked at has adjusted pay based on their fiscal year.

  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:03PM (#33828856)

    Anyone who stays more than 3 years in a position is going to be very much left behind and facing increasing inflation in housing prices, cars, and eventually the basics as well.

  • by carp3_noct3m ( 1185697 ) <slashdot AT warriors-shade DOT net> on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:05PM (#33828890)

    Its not always about money. I recently (about a year ago) went from being a partner at an up and coming IT firm, to the number 2 IT guy for an agriculture company. Before, I was stressed out, always worrying about this client or that client, income, taxes, ticket systems, just in general had too much on my plate. I left due to business structure and strategy disagreements, but now I am working in a laid back environment where I do a good job, and can still take the time to study after hours. IT guys are far too often over-taxed, over-used, and under-appreciated. That is why I think there needs to be a shift in the work environment for IT people or else we will continue to see this constant migration to the always greener grass.

    • time for a union?

      • Yep, that worked out really well for the auto industry. It will work out even better for the IT where the jobs are dead easy to move overseas.
      • by Kenja ( 541830 )
        Good luck getting the people in India etc to join your union.
    • Economy bad...
    • People not getting raises every 6 months...
    • IT professionals looking for better jobs...

    Computerworld couldn't find anything else to fill their pages with than this? I knew they were useless, but this is pretty sad.

  • Flat technology! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spaceyhackerlady ( 462530 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:09PM (#33828936)

    My concern isn't so much flat pay - I have more money than I know what to do with - but flat technology. I spend my days fixing idiotic bugs in legacy systems, with few prospects for learning anything new.


  • True (sample size 1) (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:09PM (#33828942) Homepage

    True for me. I made the jump this past January. 2009 my company said no raises for anyone (except executives, of course). 2010 they claimed the same thing, I declined, they offered me an insulting pittance, and away I went.

    Cut my expenses to the bone, picked up some contract work, and now doing economic research most of the time. Getting ready to publish my first paper, if the vetting goes well. Also took some time to do my first fine woodworking -- produced two nice footstools(*), which I gave to my parents.

    Damned fine thing. I strongly recommend it if you can bzip your budget.

    * []

  • by Narcocide ( 102829 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:12PM (#33828974) Homepage

    I never once got a raise I was promised. All any employer ever did was blow smoke up my ass in the performance reviews. I never once got a salary increase that I didn't have to quit my old job for. Once or twice jumping ship for better pay got the rest of the team members *their* promised raises though.

  • Unionize. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:14PM (#33828990)
    Despite what fanatical libertarians around here may say, this is exactly the sort of situations unions are for.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons ( 302214 )

      Ask the steel industry how that worked out. Or the auto industry. Or any of the half dozen other industries chased offshore because (in part) of unions that insisted on never ending pay and benefits increases - regardless of how the company and/or the economy was faring.
      Don't get me wrong, unions have accomplished a lot of good, but they've also done a lot of damage.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Those industries you mentioned have always been quick to complain about the unions, but they can't be bothered to take a second look at $25 million executive compensation.

        They think a union hurts them? They should be thankful the workers aren't killing them and taking their money.

    • Re:Unionize. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by feepness ( 543479 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @06:18PM (#33830496) Homepage

      Despite what fanatical libertarians around here may say, this is exactly the sort of situations unions are for.

      Libertarians aren't against Unions, after all, they're just voluntary associations of people.

      It's the various laws around them (not right to vote by secret ballot, forced participation to work, forced dues), that gives them the heebee jeebees.

  • I bet the author xeroxed it and left a few copies laying strategically around the office.

  • I work in Public Sector, I like my job, I work hard, and I'm not paid very well for what I do (51K/yr) I haven't had a pay raise in two years, and this year they are requiring three furlough days (pay cut). Next year, they're saying four.

    I realize that is is popular to criticize Public Employees as being lazy and overpaid Union drones, but guys in IT at the Public Sector are often the exception.

    I realize that times are tough, and with unemployment hovering at (or hidden) above 10%, I'm just thankful I have

  • by orsty3001 ( 1377575 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:20PM (#33829060)
    According to my girlfriend's students they are all going to grow up to be big rich software engineers. They will all run their own companies and have no one to answer to. It's just the old neck beards that worry about the economy.
  • It and engineering pay has suffered badly because of outsourcing and visa abuse. According to Love to Know here: [] It seems that if the Obama administration was to take job creation seriously and curb outsourcing of American jobs to cheap foreign contractor slavers it would save close to 1.5 million jobs for Americans. Most of those in IT are familiar by now with the visa abuse that takes place in the US. Many unscrupulous companies are playing ga
  • its pretty clear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:29PM (#33829170)
    It's pretty clear how most companies work today. They hire kids from the local community college that are half way to getting their 4yr degree and little more than they could make at McDonalds and then don't give them raises with the clear intention of driving them away so they can rehire other students even cheaper. Most places only have 1 or 2 people with any real experience. Usually those are the ones too lazy to go looking for something better.
    • My wife is a nurse with 25years of experience. The local colleges crank out nurses at an alarming rate, all with no experience and willing to work for peanuts. The hospital knows this, and this is why my wife has to work on Xmas and New Years.

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @05:01PM (#33829622) Journal

    I say this after being on both sides of the table. Most people out there are bordering on a waste of oxygen - taking valuable time from the useful ones to solve inane problems. About 10% of workers are truly talented, and can solve problems independently - those are the guys you want. The next 10-15% are good - not really independent problem solvers, but reliable and honest, and would prefer a productive work day to being bored 'cause there isn't enough to keep them busy. Everybody else is just killing time for their meal ticket. An, honestly, I was a combination of the first and last groups for a lot of years. I sure as hell wouldn't have given my former self a raise of any significance. In the past three years I've been asked by several people to join their staff or lead a new department - but I've also got 8 years of running a very successful firm (~30-40% growth every year for 7 years, we'll probably drop back to about 20-25% year with the recession).

    If you're not getting a raise, one of three things is happening:

    1) the company really is on hard times - they're keeping you, perhaps at a loss, because you're valuable.
    2) you're boss is not giving you credit for what you do, or nobody with decision authority sees your brilliance and work ethic.
    3) you're in the 75-80% of people who really aren't that good.

    If you're in the rare #2 slot (I'm going to put that at less than 1%; good odds are that you're really a #3), I feel for you, and you definitely need to find another job. If you're #1, you have to decide if it's worth bailing on the company who is keeping you employed. If you're #3, good luck. You'll always be disappointed.

  • by FriendlyPrimate ( 461389 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @05:10PM (#33829746)
    I work for one of the large IT companies. Pay isn't my concern. I'm pretty happy with my salary.

    My concern is job stability. They've been laying off people simply to prop up the stock price. Year after year, its round of layoff after round of layoffs despite near a record high stock price and record profits and revenue. We got rid of the low performers years ago, yet the layoffs keep on coming. They've even laid off distinguished engineers. That tells me that even if I perform so well in my job that I reach one of the highest levels for an engineer, even that's not going to keep me from being laid off. So what's the point? If I stay, I risk being laid off when I'm 50 when it's going to be even more difficult to find a job.

    I'd be willing to take a $10k-$20k cut in salary for a more secure that isn't going to lay me off unless it at least has good reason to.

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.