IT Employment

IT compensation and hiring trends for 2011

A new CareerBuilder survey indicates that IT hiring and compensation is on the uptick for 2011.

CareerBuilder conducted its national annual IT hiring poll among more than 170 IT employers between November 15 and December 2, 2010. The results were that two in five (42 percent) of IT employers plan to increase the number of full-time, permanent employees this year (this is up from 32 percent who said the same last year). Here are some other employment trends to follow in 2011, according to the survey:

  • Sixty-six percent of those polled said they will increase compensation for their existing staff in 2011. The good news is that 13 percent expect the average increase will be five percent or more. The bad news is that most estimate the average raise will be 3 percent or less.
  • One-third (33 percent) state that they currently have open positions for which they can't find qualified candidates. Thirteen percent said they will be hiring outside the U.S. for workers to work in their U.S. offices. This is an interesting disconnect: Employers are saying they can't find qualified workers, but there are a ton of IT pros out of work.
  • Nearly half (49 percent) of IT employers are hiring contract or freelance workers in 2011, up from 47 percent in 2010. Forty-six percent of IT employers plan to hire temporary workers on a permanent basis in 2011.
  • More than one-third of IT employers (38 percent) voiced concern over worker burnout within their organizations, as heftier workloads and longer hours take their toll on worker morale. Nearly the same amount (34 percent) reported that maintaining productivity levels is one of the top staffing challenges for the new year. The first part of this paragraph sounded kind of nice until you saw the concern was linked to almost the same percentage of employers looking to maintain productivity, didn't it?
  • Forty-four percent of IT employers stated that they will be placing a greater emphasis on social media in 2011.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

67 comments
rAllcorn
rAllcorn

I believe that a lot of the reason employers are having a hard time finding the right individuals is because they've turned it over to a computer. Most jobs now you CANNOT APPLY IN PERSON! You have to go "online" and post your resume information. "And", if your resume does not have the required buzz words or key search words, you don't exist! It's as if you never bothered to put your stuff up - YOU WILL NOT SHOW UP ON THE CANDIDATES LIST. Gone are the days (for the most part) where you can talk to someone who is doing the hiring and find that you are perfect for the job! You see, it's not legal until you've gone through "HR". Am I the only one who sees a problem here? Another thing that is hampering the hiring/employment scenario is that many employers are low-balling highly qualified individuals by offering them what I like to call "Call Center wages". A contractor applies for a position, for which he is qualified. The position states that they are looking for a LINUX Admin. As you begin to talk to the recruiter, though, you find that they are only offering $15-17/hr for the job ... hardly a LINUX Admins wages at all! Call Center Reps, with little experience, are working for the same rate! And, if that's not enough, they strip away all the reasons you went to work as a Contractor, and insist on putting you on a W2! BUT, you are not a employee. You don't get benefits. Your job is not permanent. AND, you are going to get paid the same rate that a full-timer gets paid, only without the benefit package! What happened to the contractor wages? Contractors go into the contracting business for the extra money! THAT is how they pay their own way! All the tech toys required to keep their expertise up, the books, courses, training, tinkering and learning stuff at home, etc. - that costs money!! And that "extra" money is what pays to keep you sharp, and competitive! You also get no health benefits! THAT is what all the extra money is for! But when you take that away ... what's the point. You've been robbed! You're working for "lower than a full-timer" wages!! Bottom line: the employers (as a whole) are the reason that employers are having problems finding qualified people.

CareerSaverSamantha
CareerSaverSamantha

So that means that 66% of employers are not going to be placing emphasis on social networking. *Ahem*, you are part of the fastest growing, most advanced field that exists-IT, you better keep up! Samantha CareerSaver.com

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

They are actually correct on this one. If by "qualified" they mean willing to work slave hours for peanuts, then they are right, there are few IT workers stateside willing to subject themselves to this type of servitude. However, there are thousands of IT workers abroad who could live like kings on these meager salaries.

info
info

I've worked in government jobs before where filling certain IT positions was MANDATED BY LAW...and they weren't because it would eat into their budgets too much. This story is ages old, and more of an excuse to hire cheaper labor than anything else. It speaks to corporate greed and also ineptitude on the parts of their managers and HR people that can't identify those that would fit well into their organization. Of course, the established powers are never the ones who come under scrutiny...

Leo
Leo

I'd like to know who is hiring. I've had one interview in 12 months! WTF!

DPeek
DPeek

Ive heard it said that its better to hire an underqualified person that you work with easily than an overqualified person that you work with poorly. The reason is that you can TEACH the underqualified person to do what you need as they are easy to work with. The person who thinks they know everything already may be less inclined to listen to you and your needs, especially if you are trying to teach them something. Just because there are "IT Pros" out of work doesnt mean that I'd want to hire from that pool of people, talented or not. People arent always out of work through unfortunate circumstance. Some refuse work based on a perceived reduction of rank or pay. Some people have bought themselves into a hole and genuinely need to wait until they find a job that pays at or above some inflated wage they earned in a bubble. Again, lots of IT Pros out of work... could just be a lot of poor matches to local IT needs. People who wont move to where the work is. People who wont work at what the going rate is. People who find it hard to take direction. ...Know any IT people like that?

jgwinner
jgwinner

I think the discrepancy between unemployment and job openings is due to salary. Let's face it, a lot of IT jobs pay OK but not great. A large number of network admins and desktop support people come from 'PC savvy' people that migrate over to the field, not someone with formal training. Cheaper. You can be a a manger at Arby's and paid better than a director of IT support. So sure, there's openings - those qualified people don't get hired because they'd have to take a hefty pay cut. The overseas people? Cheaper. Overtime in this field has always been a massive issue - even allowed by law in many cases. No one complains now because "you should be happy to have a job". Net result: Pay for 3 people, get the work of 4-5. Cheaper. So what happens when something falls apart? Highly paid consultants. Is it really cheaper than good, competant staff with a well rounded background, capable of quicly acquiring new technologies? Debateable. == John ==

kynov
kynov

First off, my boss doesn't set our pay or determine whether or not we get raises. That is left to the powers above him. Anyhow, we haven't gotten a raise in 4 years and our pay is fairly low for the industry($50k per year for a network administrator). So when this fiscal year ended and we found out we weren't getting raises again he simply stated, "Well, be thankful you have a job." Of course I am thankful, but how long is management going to milk this? I can't possibly be the only person hearing this mantra on a regular basis.

suzan.reagan
suzan.reagan

This is a good set of analysis. I think it shows that employers are beginning to look ahead to growth and recovery even if it will be slow. I also wonder about the employer opinion that there are not qualified candidates. I believe this attitude has been around for sometime and is not related to the economy. Is it a reflection of I don't get 10 applicants with a degree from MIT every day in HR, I have to advertize. Or is it a perception just nobody local is good only someone from not around here will do? I know a Network Administer who claims it is easy to find consulting jobs in other states than where he lives but local companies aren't interested in his services. He knows he passes other network consultants in airports taking care of those companies while he works for the ones in their backyard. I'd say that IT job hunters need to figure out how to overcome this mind set.

LewSauder
LewSauder

While businesses will increase their IT hiring, the trend looks as if it will lean more towards consulting. This allows companies to suppliment their staff with specific skils with the flexibility to swap them out for different skills for another project. Lew Sauder, Author, Consulting 101: 101 Tips For Success in Consulting (www.Consulting101Book.com)

douglas.gernat
douglas.gernat

Nice little analysis, Toni. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that so many employers are looking for qualified candidates, but can't find them. Do you think this would reflect that fact that the employers are being too selective, or perhaps that the candidates are being too selective, or simply lacking certifications, experience, or other criteria, and then expecting to be well compensated based on a feeling of entitlement? I say this, because I recently relocated and took a new position, which took 3 months longer than I anticipated. Much of that delay was because I was looking to make too much for my skill set, or being too picky in who I worked for, not the other way around.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

1) The cost of living is higher in America is, in part, due to the 'wants and desires' of public being seen as necessities instead of luxuries. 2)Americans aren't ready to 'take one for the team' in order to bide time while the country gets back on its feet. Either way, companies all over (UK, Canada, USA and I am sure many other nations too)are demanding insanely high requirements of staff simply because they can. Most of those employees will have moved on to beter opps in the next one to two years though and it should level out again. In the meantime, companies continue to play games with people's lives. Many companies aren't even really hiring, they just pretend to be growing to see what kind of candidates they attract. It makes competitors and investors see them as if they are in regrowth mode, they often drag out the hiring process over a year, just to look good in print. You either have a stiff upper lip and just get on with it or you play the blame game and stop enjoying life.

blikketty
blikketty

You need to be willing to relocate, it's all about location. In Austin, TX, there is a glut of unemployed IT folks. Just down the road in San Antonio, companies are hiring like crazy. It all depends on your location, the industries that are heavy in your area, and how they are doing overall. Companies who need IT folks are out there, they are hiring, and they are paying. If you are in the wrong city for it, it could be years before things turn around, so you need to look at what is being offered, figure out if you would rather work for too little $, gain another skill set, or move.

suzan.reagan
suzan.reagan

In my economy health care still seems to be the industry that is hiring. However, local economies vary greatly.

info
info

What's your background? Experience and Education? Are you currently working? It's much easier to find a job if you're already employed. I had a devil of a time even getting crap work for awhile, despite my skill set and experience. Employers will tend to find any excuse they can not to hire you. Eventually someone will 'find' you.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

What matters is whether they are prepared to learn. Hire for attitude, train for aptitude. Most employers take the former as a given, and that's why they get disappointed.

Professor8
Professor8

And I'm sure some refuse to work on unethical projects, like CRM or "social networking" or "street snoop"... It at least used to be the case that professional ethics were taught right along with other CS topics. You were expected to refuse to violate federal laws, or develop software to violate customers' or employees' privacy. The executive wanting to hire up for such a project would see such refusals as simply recalcitrant, "unwilling" candidates, and declare a "terrrrrible shortage", when there's no shortage at all. So, to recap, we've got age discriminiation, hyper-credentialism, over-specificity of "requirements", combining 5 jobs into 3, hiring and paying 3 levels below actual requirements, bodyshopping, cross-border bodyshopping, off-shoring, preference for low or pliant professional ethics standards, preference for people who can be easily bullied...

RRH37
RRH37

Not trying to be confrontational, just taking you up on the "debateable" comment. You stated in regards to OT: "Pay for 3 people, get the work of 4-5." You then said that's fine but what happens when something "falls apart?" Then you mentioned the "high paid consultants" and asked if it was really cheaper than to use "good competant staff w/ well rounded backgrounds and the capability of quickly acquiring new technologies." I agree that there is some room for debate, but not much. If you have staff on hand that are capable of doing the job already, why would there be a NEED for a high paid consultant? If the in-house staff are being paid peanuts already compared to the "high paid" consultant, how on earth could anyone see cost savings by using the consultant? This is the problem in IT today. There is too much outsourcing to these "high paid" consultants or contractors who then get to work right along side the in-house guys. The in-house staff knows full well that the consultant/contractor is being paid at least twice what the in-house guy is making. That does wonders for morale doesn't it? What happened to the days of actually developing and training competent in-house staff? If you already plan to spend a lot of money on a "high paid consultant," why not invest that money into training your on-site staff? Training could be given in exchange for a signed agreement between employer and employee that stated the employee would not receive the training and then immediately leave the company or they would have to reimburse the emplloyer for the cost of the training. A period of 3 years minimum would be sufficient I think. You might even find some cost savings in the process. Now, if I can lay that scenario out, why can't CIO's/CTO's see the logic in that? Because most of them are just too lazy to actually give it some thought and are addicted to the H1B visa types. If the bottom dollar is what really matters, then it makes sense to train and develop in-house instead of just accepting high turn over and looking to India and Pakistan or some east asian country to fill your needs.

blikketty
blikketty

Improve your skills, work on certs, actively seek another gig. 50k a year for network admin, that's pathetic.

Professor8
Professor8

Yes, there are a lot of bright, industrious, creative US STEM workers unemployed and under-employed... and many have been so for years on end since the advent of H-1B. There are US citizens with genius IQs and master's degrees teaching occasional classes at the extension campus... to the guest-workers. There are US citizens with genius IQs and PhDs who are teaching occasional courses at the local junior college because it's the best job they've been able to land. There are US citizens with PhDs who are on their third post-doc research post (right through the peak Nobel prize work years without a chance to embark on their own research) because no one wants to hire tenure-track. There are gifted former software product developers who get only occasional tutoring or private consulting gigs. There are tens of thousands of experienced US STEM workers sending out their resumes every week into the black-hole data-bases of what formerly were employment agencies and are now primarily bodyshops. What I'm not seeing, anymore, are competent, active head-hunters who reach out to present top talent to hiring managers. (Meanwhile, Challenger, disconnected from reality, keeps babbling that people who are destitute should jaunt across the country to "network" on the speculation that some one of these trips might work.) From 2010-05-20: Google gets more than 3K applications per day, over 90K applications per month, 1.09M per year. 2010-05-22: Joyce Boyle of Hoveroud "said, 'I was getting in excess of 150 resumes daily.' Now, Boyle estimates she gets 50-60 resumes a day" (about 1200/month) at an outfit that makes those scooters for the elderly and infirm. From 2008-12-23: Northrup Grumman was getting 30K resumes per week. From 2010-07-01: Shana Westerman of Sapphire Technologies screens, on average, 300 resumes per day (about 6K per month). From 2010-12-24: AT&T is getting about 50K applications per month, and hires about 1 out of 30.

info
info

You have to get the backbone to take things to the cusp of actually leaving. Of course, before you do this, try to feel out how much they actually NEED you, versus the amount of work out there if you DID leave (even at a slight pay cut) versus the amount of qualified people that are looking to take your job... Otherwise, employers know they have you by the short and curlies. They WILL take advantage of this, even if they have a 'good' relationship with you. Money is money, after all. I had a friend that decided to move West, so her boyfriend, who made ~$35k went in to tell his boss he had to leave. To cut the story short, 45 minutes and several offers and impassioned pleas later, the boyfriend told the boss to go screw himself after the final offer of $50k. "Even if I COULD stay," he said, "I'd know that you didn't respect me for not offering me anything close to that salary over the past few years!"

hmx
hmx

find out who sets the compensation and talk to them about this. your boss is clearly a no-op and if management doesn't trust him to manage and compensate his people well then maybe you should work for someone who can do these things.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

is to go find another job. Doesn't matter what it is, apprentice panda wanker will do, but leave, and make sure you tell them why, your boss is a f'ing arse.

rengek
rengek

Sometimes I think its just employer's excuse that the economy is bad or be happy you are employed. I have had managers tell me the economy is bad so we can't give you a good raise (even though you did 3 people's work in the past year). Then days later an email from the CEO to the company tells everyone "hurray we made record profit". I'm sure the managers will have an excuse to counter that as well. From my perspective, you just have to prove your worth by listing all the important things you did in the past 12 months that either few others can do or it would take them much longer or there could be a lost of quality if someone else did it. Or they might just want to see some back bone from you and want to you tell them you want a bigger raise. I did that in one company and they agreed and gave me a huge raise. You also have to be able to suggest in a non diva way that you are willing to move on if after all that explaining you still got nothing. Be aware that if you take that step, you can't use it over and over on your boss. Because that will just be crying wolf.

bdskp
bdskp

No you aren't the only person hearing this. Part of it is the company taking advantage of the downturn and part of it is probably necessity. They probably can't afford to give everyone raises.

Professor8
Professor8

Yes, the bodyshopping is only getting worse. And it allows them to cut total compensation. They can hold up a higher hourly rate and trim the benefits -- including the benefit of steady employment, regularly scheduled training, and the benefit of working with a long-standing team who can communicate and brain-storm well. But sooner or later the B-school bozos will realize their shooting their own legs out from under themselves.

bdskp
bdskp

I'm sure some of the issue is that people want to be paid too much or something like that. However I think it's also a matter of employers thinking they can take advantage of the current job market conditions. Take this as an example: http://www.careerbuilder.com/JobSeeker/Jobs/JobDetails.aspx?IPath=QHKCVGV1K&ff=21&APath=2.21.21.0.0&job_did=J8H5YC5VKBZZ53M910V Now look at the requirements section for this System Admin job. * BS degree in computer sciences, software design, engineering, information systems, related field or comparable experience * 5+ years experience as a system administrator * 5+ years experience in IIS installation, configuration, deployment and administration * SQL Server 2005/2008 experience including T-SQL development is a big plus * Familiarity with VB.NET/C#/VB Scripting * In depth knowledge of IIS 6.0/7.0 and ASP.NET websites * DOS/Powershell scripting is a big plus * Experience in web based and client based systems, and issue tracking systems * Experience in managing multiple web servers/web farms using NLB and/or F5. * Windows XP/2003/2008 and Active Directory experience * Provide off-hours support on an infrequent, but as needed basis Now what do you guys think? Is this a reasonable set of requirements for a system admin? Don't glance over it..actually read and process the requirements. I mean if you were an employer hiring with this set of requirements do you think you'd have a problem finding a qualified candidate?

generalist
generalist

Another thing to factor in is speculation driven housing prices. Before the housing bubble burst, there were a lot of 'flippers' who bought houses, improved them a little and sold them for good profits. That increased the cost of living for a lot of people, whether they rented or owned. The housing market is making an adjustment so the cost of living in that area will go down for a while. You live with it and make plans to deal with it. Knowing why the problems occurred is useful. Playing the blame game is not.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

I agree with you 100% but there's nothing we can do about it. I live below my means but I see so many people around me that believe the American Dream is a big house, two cars and a boat (just like we see in the commercials and TV shows). The average American now believes that they need $150k just to live a comfortable middle class lifestyle. It's what the U.S. commercial system wants us to believe and sadly most of us bought it. However, it's water under the bridge. Even if you don't need 150k, it takes half that to even begin to live in a decent neighborhood with a modest home and one car payment. Yet, you'll be hard pressed to find an employer who want to get up off of 75k for a Sys Admin position.

generalist
generalist

Back in the early 1980's, during the second longest modern recession with 9% plus unemployment, I went to a job interview. The person hiring was intrigued by my resume and wanted to see the person behind it. It was the only interview that I had where I was given an encouraging 'no' after the interview. The person doing the hiring said that he would have hired me if they had a training program. A couple of weeks later I got a call for a second interview. I ended up working for the company for a number of years.

NewsView
NewsView

The "highly paid consultant" is not necessarily going to receive health or retirement benefits, and may have to withhold his or her own taxes, too. So while it may appear that the consultant is overpaid it may not be the case. Benefits are worth thousands of dollars to an employer and that is what they stand to save by outsourcing work either here in the US or offshore. The presence of recruiting firms also poses an advantage because in some cases those agencies will also handle payroll for the term of the contract or consultancy. With less paperwork and a recruiting agency to handle the details, corporations may save even more time and money. Until somebody calls for an act of Congress, the darker side of the IT industry is likely to become a reality for just about every corporate professional: Specifically, a small core of company employees at any given corporation will be outnumbered by consultants, contractors and temp workers (onshore and off). This, in turn, explains why so many job descriptions read like unrealistic catchalls. Major corporations are asking their employees to do the work of 3 or more people because they are trying to get by on too many consultants, temp workers and part-timers to boost their profit margins by cutting their payroll expenses. These companies need full-time employees but they also need happy shareholders. As a result, they walk a fine line at the risk of all concerned. Freelancing once was the bane of artists and writers. In this economy, however, short-term gigs are the new norm. I feel for those who are entering the labor market with ridiculous student loan debts to pay off and/or those who wish to raise a family. Even in a traditional two-parent household --- and studies now show the average American household is no longer a "nuclear family" but a mix dominated by single parents and childless singles and couples --- how does one build any type of "employment security" on a string of mostly low pay, no-benefit consulting, temp or contract jobs in a downwardly mobile economy? The real question everybody ought to ask at this late stage of the recession is WHY. If you think it began with a subprime mortgage crisis, dig deeper. In order to compete with cheaper labor markets abroad the American middle class standard of living must diminish. During the expansion phase of American history GDP benefited from slaves, child laborers and slave-like wages --- until the union movement, among other civil rights efforts, spawned what we call the "living wage". That worked to raise the average person's standard of living, educational options and even life expectancies through better nutrition --- until, that is, we began in the early 1970s to expand our trade to countries that benefited from a labor market that more resembles the America of some 200+ years ago. So what is the solution? Dong Tao, a Credit Suisse economist, said on CNN last year that Americans must prepare to make do on 80 percent less wages and the Chinese must start consuming more to level the playing field and end this undeclared trade war. For most of us, that's going to hurt. And hurt bad. (With the exception of those Americans who can still eat and pay the rent after taking an 80 percent salary hit.) For all the talk of a housing crisis at the root of this protracted downturn, the foreclosure crisis is really just another symptom of a post middle class transition. If we wish to ask where this lopsided game began, look to trades, tariffs and economics. When NAFTA, GATT and other so-called Free Trade Agreements were passed the idea seemed reasonable enough. Why not share the wealth? The catch was this: Unless those trade agreements were balanced with human rights, labor and environmental protections that bore some semblance to one another, there would be no "free trade" --- only the sound of the First World slip, sliding away. Not only did we create an incentive to offshore our economic growth, Congress' lost much of its ability to collect corporate taxes: 2/3 of US corporations, according to a Congressional study released two or three years ago, pay no federal taxes whatsoever! In order for free trade to function the way the global idealists promised, every nation must play by the same set of rules. If not, all you have is a chaotic game of musical chairs wherein the Third World and First World can trade places faster than anyone cared to admit. That's a recipe for uncertainty, at best, and uncertainty does not spur hiring and growth. In the end, even Wall St. could not avoid the pinch of a less profitable domestic economy. Less of a real economy on which to sustain productivity-generated profits led to creative, if not foolish gambling --- casino practices that remain despite the warning shot the subprime lending crisis launched worldwide. Financial instruments --- like faulty mortgage backed securities and credit default swaps --- have come to represent an increasing chunk of every First World trade exchange in direct proportion to the loss of manufacturing and tangible growth. It is no accident that we have become the debt-ridden government and society we are today. Wall St. investment firms are now taking US dollars and converting them into foreign-denominated investments because not only has our labor market offshored but so too has much of the investment trade! (Even the NYSE is in the process of relocating!) As Americans, the impetus for our stagnating wages and unpredictable career trajectories links to how we have repeatedly ignored the influence of trade practices. Government leaders, in their infinite wisdom, continue to craft new and equally lopsided free trade agreements with South Korea, among others. This isn't to say that those nations shouldn't be permitted to enter a trade agreement --- only that it should be negotiated more equitably (and the US is by far the worst trade negotiator at the table). All of this comes to one conclusion: What we are witnessing isn't merely the beginnings of a "double-dip recession". The so-called Great Recession is, in fact, the Great Realignment. We may experience these changes in our personal lives as increasing competition for jobs, wages that seem unjustly low for the amount of time and money we put into our degrees and/or our professional development, longer spates of unemployment and more stress associated with taking on ever-increasing levels of responsibility on the job. Until we educate ourselves, demand a more intelligent American media and spend more time voting with these issues in mind, we can expect more of the same. None of this is to say we should endorse a resurgence of protectionism or aggressive unionism. What should be the case, rather, is a healthy sense of respect for a counterbalance to unsustainable trade deficits. The future is entirely dependent upon how wisely we elect our representatives and how closely we scrutinize the trade laws to ensure that the American Dream is not yanked from beneath our feet.

Professor8
Professor8

That's easy enough. There isn't any. Another thing I've learned over the last few years is never to trust the business and economic press. The editors and writers are all biased toward making things seem far better than they really are. I mean, when the monthly BLS report comes out and they all cheer because a total of 80K net new jobs were created, it's a total scam. It requires an additional 150K to 250K net new jobs per month just to keep up with the increase in population in the USA... and the government has been admitting over 125K additional people on work visas each month. Oh, and that "net new jobs" needs more explanation, too. Each month in the USA a couple million jobs are terminated, and a couple million more are created. Meanwhile, 47K to 66K additional US citizens have been earning CS degrees each year (and since 2000 about 702K additional US citizens have learned how to do IT work), and 264K to 290K additional US citizens have been earning STEM degrees each year (and since 2000 about 3M US citizens have learned how to do STEM work). The significant information of net loss and gain is down in the noise of the margins of all of these processes. Meanwhile, the number of production workers in software publishing (software product development) has been essentially flat since 2000, while only bodyshopping has expanded.

Professor8
Professor8

Yes, that's a good point. One of the problems that's always existed in the field has been extravagant praise and rewards for minor feats, and no praise or pay for brilliant, hard-won improvements. We should keep portfolios of the features and tools and processes we've created or improved, the letters of commendation, certificates, awards, publications, etc. We tend to not keep track very well of such things and lose even the tangible ones... and then, when we need then, we're empty-handed, unarmed and we've lost track of our former co-workers, references, etc.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

It is an employer's market but many will overplay their hand so much that when things finally turn around, there will be a mass exodus--yes, the much feared "brain drain". I understand that some companies can't afford raises, but why do the incentives always have to be monetary? Why can't they just give everyone a couple of extra days of PTO instead of a paid raise? How about buying the office or department lunch or breakfast once a month? Something...

blikketty
blikketty

Most of that stuff is standard 5 year experience sys admin. The only things out of range are the SQL and ISS / Web farm stuff. That is 2 other, additional people. Like most places, they had someone doing all this for too little money, so they figure when posting for the replacement, post the stats for your dream replacement. I imagine they would take someone who can do 2 of the 3, but they probably aren't paying enough money to get that person on board, or keep them for very long.

nnmck
nnmck

This potential employer has taken the jobs of 8 people and rolled them into one! This is insane! No-one is all things to all customers. It is one thing to ask for one even two of the skill sets outlined in the job requirements. But to have all? Read the college curriculum of any of the Bachelor degrees accepted? Other than the most basic courses, anything in common? I am not Wall-ee!

Professor8
Professor8

Well, I've seen worse, and I don't do Windoze, so wouldn't venture to guess whether that was a reasonable combination. But whatever happened to posting a core set of definite requirements, and then a partial list of "nice to have" knowledge and experience, and then picking the best candidate and training him? That's what they used to do before the flood of cheap foreign labor with low ethical standards and cultural qualms against objecting to being abused. I've seen ads over the last 15 years that might as well say they want a genetically engineered Einstein/Superman hybrid, who knows data-base analysis and design, software design (and development with a dozen tools specific down to the brand-name and version out to 2 or 3 dewey decimal places, on 3 significantly different operating systems), PR, marketing... to be an SQA tester or junior sys admin. Oh, and they want you to relocate yourself and wait a couple months before being paid, and then have half of your pay in stock options which they can pull out from under you just before you become vested. Before that, they'd generally demand a sound foundation of knowledge and experience in how things work, and invest in 2-12 weeks of substantive training in the specifics. It's all because of the explosion of bodyshopping.

Sun Badger
Sun Badger

Still sitting on the bust of Pallas waiting for a qualified candidate. The best "Farm Fresh Food" is that which you grow yourself. Same goes for in-house pro's, grow your own candidates. Someone with these credential is gonna want either a very nice salary with trimmings and/or a job/project they really passionate about and enjoy the intellectual stimulation of the group. I do not believe you will have many candidates answering even with a gold mine salary

russgarrett
russgarrett

most all ads i see require a colloge degree which i do not have. but i have walked the walk for 30 years in this business and that has got to be worth more to some people than a sheet of paper. i have been told by Microsoft instructors that a lot of people would pass Microsoft server test even though they had never installed the server software. i think i will just go to the internet and order a college diploma.

generalist
generalist

There's always light at the end of the tunnel but sometimes people don't seem to understand why they have to be in the tunnel to begin with and complain that it's too dark. A very important point that, as you mentioned, a lot of people don't understand. If you realistically look at things, but still have a positive mental attitude, you can survive the trip through the tunnel without making yourself, or those around you, discouraged.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I agree there are so many factors and so much speculation that it's just one of those things you have to deal with. It wasn't that much different in Canada either, just the sting wasn't as bad and recovery looks faster too but we're not out of the water just yet. Working with new construction and development projects myself, I saw a huge hit in 2009 with housing simply falling apart but now it's on the upswing and rapidly too. There's always light at the end of the tunnel but sometimes people don't seem to understand why they have ot be in the tunnel to begin with and complain that it's too dark.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Says at least your interviewer didn't believe in attitude,or perhaps he couldn't sell you as a candidate to his or her bosses. I've ran into similar on a number of occasions. Twenty + years front line experience with multiple tools, and they think some cookie cutter /paper cert/ guy with a flat hat with a year on noddy projects will be better? Cheaper certainly....

Professor8
Professor8

If they "can't afford" pay for performance for production workers, why are so many of them giving huge salaries and bonuses to non-performing executives?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

but quite often a much larger one is all designs are the result of a set of compomises, you get a bunch of experts in and they all figure, their bit is the most critical aspect, and them other less accomplished types will have to live with it. See it more than a few times.

blikketty
blikketty

"I take the specs from the customers, and I take them to the engineers" "I've got people skills, dammit!"

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Becasue if you had three 'experts' you'd need someone to translate.....

generalist
generalist

About the only places growing their own IT employees are privately held companies that are like families. I worked for one a few decades ago and when I left for a better paying job, I was told that if it didn't work out, I would be welcome back. When I visited the company a few years later, I found that another employee had done the same thing I did, but had returned when his new job didn't work out. It could be that companies like that, those that ignore the 'best practices' promoted by some MBAs, may more effective in the long run than those companies that believe in disposable employees.

generalist
generalist

The mention of RIM brings back memories of the 1980's and R:Base 4000. The company I was working at has just gotten to the point that they were trying out those new-fangled PC things and R:Base 4000 was one of the software packages being used, as opposed to dBase II, FoxPro or Javelin. It was interesting playing around with it. For 'real' work we used a System 38, running RPG-III.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

because effectively it's all self teaching, your knowledge will be patchy. The real trick is knowing that you don't know, remebering that if this looks a lot more difficult than it should be , you are almost certainly doing it wrong. An 'expert' would sort this out, but you still need someone who understands the basics of both to knit the experts together. The latter is the key skill to look for in a multi-disciplinary role, someone who talks to themself a lot. :p

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

numpties donlt know the difference between skill and tool. I'm a programmers and a database designer amongst other things, the tools I've used to apply the skills recently... Can't be viewed properly becauuse the big boys would lose shed loads of money from training and certification in the next version. It's also the reason you see job descriptions with garbage like 5 years experience in VS 2010...

Professor8
Professor8

I was a programmer, tech support, instructor, pre-sales support, system accountant, data-base analyst and designer; statistical, mechanical engineering, architectural engineering, nuclear weapons engineering software developer and consultant; economist, radio host, movie consultant, SQA tester, developer of SQA test management and driver systems, sys admin, network admin. I worked on a dozen different operating systems in about a dozen programming languages (OK, some of the programming languages I learned and enjoyed dinking with I never used for real work and there are a couple I've re-learned several times). If you look at text books published over the last 12 months, and compare them with the text books from 10 or 20 or 30 years ago in a university library CS collection, not all that much has changed. The whole "skills become stale after 2 months or 2 years" mantra is bogus. If you know RIM you know FoxBase and FoxPro and "SQL server" and MySQL and PostgreSQL and Access and Oracle. 4D is a little more quirky, though, with certain things that would be easy to implement on the others being essentially impossible to do, and some things that are easy on 4D being difficult to do with the others. And if you knew version 0.5 you know version 11.5.7.8 well enough to be productive within just a few hours. There's very little significant difference among them. From what I can tell, the network tools that run on Windows are just botched implementations of the tools available on the various flavors of Unix. And there's not all that much difference among the flavors of Unix -- AT&T/SCO, BSD, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, SunOS, Solaris, AIX, Irix -- nor the several shell-scriptings. If you "get" the basic ideas of each you can quickly figure out the rest. But, of course, to the body shoppers that's not "hitting the ground running", when it comes to determining whether you're "qualified".

Professor8
Professor8

They haven't been developing employees' abilities since the H-1B visa program was hatched in 1990. They don't want to invest in training, or manuals (paper or on blu-ray DVDs). They want someone 20-30 years old who will "hit the ground running" and get him off the pay-roll as soon as the task is done. The very idea of building on past development, to make products better and better, doesn't fit in most B-school bozo executives' aspirations.

bdskp
bdskp

My issue really isn't does someone know all these different skills. I'm sure there are lots of people who do. The real question is can you use them ALL in a production environment at a pretty advanced level? I don't know anyone who uses all these different skills on at least a semi-regular basis. I'm sure someone out there does...I just think they are very few and far between. Hence..the whole point of employers not being able to find qualified candidates. I think they are looking for people who will do a job that's really supposed to be two jobs for the price of one. Just my opinion.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

System admin, network admin, web admin, lead developer and dba for windows and vms... Course that was ten years ago. Sadly out of date now on all but the developer and dba fronts, even those were SQL server 6 and Delphi 4, so I wouldn't even describe myself as a sql server dba any more. Left there for a 10k payrise and a lot less responsibility. :p and like your colleagues that was not how I started out. Like I said been there done that, won't ever do it again unless the role carries authority and remuneration to match the implicit responsibilities.

sconyers
sconyers

They're both happy where they are and not looking to become a one man IT department like they seem to want, but they started as web developers in VB.Net, thus gaining IIS and some SQL experience. They are now DBAs, with even more SQL, Powershell, and server administration experience. I just want to point out that while candidates that meet these qualifications may be rare, they do exist.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

in their box and the skill, was almost certainly grown in house, probably as a one man shop. There won't be many candidates who could come close, even less looking for a role, and less still who want to stay a one man shop. Been there done that, too damn painful.

gmichaels
gmichaels

I am also in the Detroit area, and can't seem to find a job with my extensive skill set. I am closer to 60 than 50, however, and even though I don't look like it, you are right -- ageism is alive and well in Detroit! Back in the late 90s, all I had to do was sign a W-4 and I would be working the next day ... now the employer puts together an extensive list of "required" skills instead of looking for a good, solid IT worker with a proven track record ...

Professor8
Professor8

So, it sounds like you're saying that they want someone whose skills, knowledge, and experience are several layers above the job title and compensation. There's a firm whose name begins with a G that has a policy of doing that, and, I imagine, a lot of small shops trying to get by on a shoe-string probably do some of that, bringing in student interns and paying them 1/2 or 1/3 the local market compensation level and wanting to hang onto them after their abilities have developed, but not wanting or believing they're able to increase their compensation. And then again, there a lot of B-school bozos out there who believe it's all about defrauding people.

Professor8
Professor8

When did you first see demands for particular degrees, rather than ability to do the work?

Barshalom
Barshalom

Many job descriptions describe a whole slew of requirements, which a candidate cannot be proficient in all of them. This is unrealistic. If a candidate has a propensity to learn, the employer should rephrase the job ad as "ability to learn" so and so.

bdskp
bdskp

Even if the salary was good..the type of person with that skill set is going to be few and far between. Which goes back to my original question of why it's hard for employers to find qualified candidates. I really just think employers are trying to take advantage of this market by packing as much workload as possible onto employees..including new hires. In my view..this is a two person job. But my view is limited and if they can find someone who really fits that skill set..more power to them. I don't think they'll find that person. More likely the person they pick up will be rather weak in one or more of those areas they deemed "required".

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

The only people that qualify for that position, probably wouldn't want to settle for the meager salary. There's a reason why the previous guy left: Because he felt underpaid and underappreciated for all the stuff he/she had to do. I've been there. This person probably had little experience when he started and learned as he went along. Unfortunately, the pay didn't increase as well. So basically the company wants someone with the previous person's skill-level at the same meager pay. Thus they are always going to end up with a situation where the only people who want to work for what they're willing to pay aren't actually very qualified and the ones who are qualified and not desperate find the rate laughable.

info
info

I didn't find too much wrong with it, especially not in the full context of the position. THIS position is looking for someone that can operate continuously in a high-change, high-stress environment around others who are very technically savvy and results/performance oriented. They want someone who can pick up from where the previous person left off (probably got promoted or left because he was underpaid/underappreciated) and hit the ground running. So yeah, having an all-around systems admin (more like a network/server admin) that can handle scripting and small coding requirements to deal with the software testing that'll be going on, while supporting websites and probably advanced use of web technologies within their products would seem realistic to me. Basically, this ad is saying to not bother applying if you're fresh out of school.

ldefore
ldefore

I too have many year experience, which I thought was a hinderence (being 50), and yes age discrimination is alive and well in the field. I was out of work 18 months (IT) in the Detroit Area, there was nothing out there and everything falls into the online black hole. I just recently started contacting to a firm and love it. The person who interviewed me told me he was tired of the degrees, certifications and people who run off at the mouth. He was looking for someone who had the experience and could walk the talk. So hang in there, your next adventure in life might just be right aroud the corner. Best to you.

bdskp
bdskp

I really wasn't focusing on the degree as many IT jobs out there will allow you to substitute experience for formal education. My focus was more on the skill set required in this example. I really don't see too many sys admins having an in depth knowledge of active directory, IIS administration, T-SQL development, VB.NET/C# scripting AND ASP.NET websites while having considerable experience managing web server farms using NLB/F5. My point really is that I think part of the reason employees find the current job market frustrating and employers can't seem to find qualified candidates is that they (employers) are creating unrealistic positions or job descriptions. Yes..IT has had a long tradition of making silly job descriptions but in this market it just seems even worse than normal.

ECMTech
ECMTech

Not only do I not have a degree but never even attended college. Have been lucky my past employer and current employer valued work experience over a degree and certifications.

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