IT Employment

Time to change jobs? Check this 2009 pay study

Thinking about switching jobs? Here are some recent statistics to consider the pro's and con's of changing jobs today.

The unemployment levels today are at the worst they've been in decades.  And yet, based on my emails at least, more people are thinking about leaving their current employer and moving elsewhere.  Is this smart career planning?  Or is it simply naive optimism that could result in a far worse outcome for these people?

Let's take a look at both sides of the argument, with some hard stats:

1.  The Labor Department recently reported that the US has had 7.6 job losses since the beginning of this recession in December of 2008. This news brings the overall unemployment level to a whopping 15.1 million.

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Add to that those who have given up looking for a job or out of desperation are working part time instead of full time and the full impact of this crisis really hits home. The level of those who have been hammered moves from the 10.2% reported unemployed rate to about 17.5%. Unfortunately, for those in this situation, the outlook for next year doesn’t look much better with most forecasters expecting it to remain about the same for at least another 6 to 9 months because there are now about 7 people applying for every 1 job opening; compared with a ratio of 1.7 to 1 in early 2008.

All in all, those are compelling reasons why you should stay where you are.  Perhaps.

2.  But, on the other hand, staying where you are may have some real downsides too.  According to research recently completed by Computerworld, the total average compensation (including salary and bonus) is down 0.4% in 2009 versus 2008.

This was their 23rd annual salary survey and it shows a trend line that isn't exactly comforting. While average salaries are up 0.4%, respondents experienced a 10.8% drop, on average, in bonuses this year compared to 2008.

Additionally, 44% reported permanent staff layoffs in the 2009 study, up from 28% reporting the same in the 2008 study. This year also saw increases in canceled projects (from 25% to 35%), training cuts (from 25% to 37%), budget cuts (from 53% to 65%), salary freezes (from 22% to 51%), and hiring freezes (from 33% to 48%).

What about the benefits?  When asked if they've been reduced or eliminated entirely, 17% of respondents noted that their Matching 401(k) Contributions had been hit. The numbers were tough for other bennies also with Profit sharing down for 11%, and Health benefits/insurance cut for 10%.  Read more about this survey and what I said is the smart first course of action.

Whatever your situation, it's always better to take action knowing as much as possible about the environment.  And today at least, it's busy.  40% of respondents were saying they're looking for another job, either actively or passively.  Of those looking for new jobs, these were the most commonly reported reasons:

  • Looking for higher compensation  59%
  • Career opportunities  45%
  • Looking for more personal fulfillment   43
  • More interesting/challenging work   42%

When asked why they’re not looking - the reason “job market is poor/few opportunities” increased from 26% in 2008 to 47% in 2009.  Over two-thirds (67%) said they were satisfied with their current responsibilities, 49% were satisfied with their current compensation, and 47% were satisfied with their company culture.

What about you?

Here's to your Future!

john

Leadership Coach

About

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

26 comments
M9009
M9009

15+ million out of work and we need more H1B -type people? 15+ million out of work yet we don't enforce immigration? Maybe we deserve this by remaining complacent.

decaturboy
decaturboy

Some would say that optimism is merely naivete in action, but that would probably be a cynical point of view. First of all - if you are employed, looking for another job before you quit is mostly risk-free, so why not do it if it gives you some sense of control in your career? Just because the job market is poor right now doesn't mean that all companies have stopped hiring completely or that your perfect job isn't just waiting out there. To not look if you must get out is to fail, plain and simple. Ignore the doom-and-gloomers ... it may take you longer in this market to find your next step up the ladder, but that shouldn't prevent you from trying. Secondly, there may be a larger than normal number of professionals looking for a new job because they are working for a company that has downsized to such a degree that they find themselves working 12-16 hour days for the same or less pay / benefits. Who WOULD want to keep working as a glorified slave just because you happened to avoid the ax? Companies don't realize that those that they abuse now are itching to get out and when the time is right, they will. You will lose your best employees - those you retained - because you overextended them.

Kam Guerra
Kam Guerra

The salaries listed for the region are about twice the reality. Nice try guys.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Always looking to move forward. I hate complacency and in my line of work, forward momentum always brings in more money and greater opportunities. I've learned to give jobs a couple of years now, I used to move every 12 - 18 months on average but am getting old and slow now, I guess. One think that ALWAYS rings true for me and anyone else I know is that, you always move forwards, make mroe money and have a more satisfying position when moving on.

spykeee
spykeee

Re your "VOTE" Are you looking for a new job - either passively or actively? It misses out something very important. 1) Absolutely! I need more than I'll get around here. 2) Yes, but I'd stop if I was given a bit more. 3) Kinda. Would prefer to stay, but the situation's not improving. 4) Not! It's too risky to move at this point. What about "looking for a job?" (presently I am unemployed). Through no fault of my own I am never short listed for interview, despite an IQ of 140 and many useful skills I am 'dyslexic'. And because of there being no actual practical allowance or support for the study/exam issues it poses/posed my 'english' and 'maths' qualifications are not at the same comparative level as my other qualifications and skills. This means that when/if my CV is viewed it is either 'no/poor english-maths = rejected' or, if I send endorsements and other supporting information it is 'too many pages = rejected'. This has proven an insurmountable impass. As the employment services and education services fail to address their ongoing failures and lies about how they claim to 'support and make allowances', they took to refusing to do anything to help me and have instead falsified documentation to cover up the issues. Now I cannot even get access to my records to have them corrected and the culprits taken to task because they use the excuse 'we have been told by the government to withhold your documents because you will sue us'. Any ideas on how to overcome any of this would be appreciated. Don't suggest a court case because it would be a civil matter and there is no legal aid for civil matters and I have no money to pay for I myself. However, 'they' took me to court by setting me up in order to disuade and punish me for having the temerity to ask that they be accountable for the consequences of their lies and falsification of documents etc. They failed because I persented my recordings of conversations with them (where they gleefully admitted their intentions/actions) and I presented some of their other 'records'. Their case fell flat, and was thrown out being met with scorn and disgust by the crown court judge. But they still haven't learned, and despite all the evidence and judgment they insist and bolster their fantasies and with greater efforts of abuse and discrimination and feigned 'ignorance'. Bear in mind, when my barrister did a quick calculation, that this one false case alleged against me cost the tax-payer 'more than a murder case would have'. So much for the education/employment services charters and their claim 'the work you want, the help you need'. Not ranting, just letting you know how false they are about what good work they do and how firm their integrity is. And letting you know where your hard earned taxes go.

HanuYelamarti
HanuYelamarti

It looks like it is the right time to get back to basics and make strong pillars.

uberg33k50
uberg33k50

a category for "No, I am very happy where I am." I know that I am fortunate. None of our benefits or salary have been cut, in fact we are experiencing raises of at least 4.5%. The people I work for and with are great most of the time (everyone has their bad days). The work is fun and rewarding and we get to work on a lot of different projects. The salary is reasonable. Dedication and loyalty are rewarded here. I will have 10 years here as of 03/2010 and if I get my wish I will be here until they will carry me out of here feet first. I know this place is rare and I am very fortunate. I truely wish everyone could find a place where they can be this happy in what they do.

shadeyah
shadeyah

Hi Since I read this article, I thinking carefully about my current job, especially where I find my self after 2 years from now?

Deb G
Deb G

I find that too often people that stay within one company/department are considered "lazy". There is very little incentive today to be loyal/dedicated to a company. Often I find that by moving every years or so, your compensation is rewarded, but those that remain are not given the same recognition/rewards.

jwesleycooper
jwesleycooper

...At least it sounds like the United States' Vocational Rehabilitation Program is doing a little better of a job, though I'm not yet through with school, so I haven't started looking for an IT job yet. I have a minor case of Tourettes Syndrome which, amongst other issues, causes me to make more typing errors than usual; so I can certainly appreciate your plight. Good luck with your situation, and I honestly hope it improves soon.

mjstelly
mjstelly

I applaud your success. There are a great many organizations that remember that employees make a company successful and go "above and beyond" to ensure they stick around. HR wonks will tell you that "it's cheaper to keep'er", that is, employee retention programs ADD value to the bottom line whereas employee turnover sucks money out like a black hole.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

It seems that in IT some hiring managers and other professionals don't look at longevity in a positive light. They think that you're either lazy (as you said), obsolete, lack ambition or that you couldn't be hired anywhere else. I think that's stupid. I'm still here because I'm in a relatively safe sector (healthcare) where alot of new technology is coming down the pipeline and money as well ($20 billion) worth and the benefits are above average.

jck
jck

From about 1996 or 1997 to 2001, moving jobs in IT was kinda normal. I've never had an issue with leaving a job after 6 months or 6 years. I figured if I was no longer a fit for the organization, then it was beneficial to us both for me to move on and them to find someone better suited. Nowadays though, organizations will question you about this...but have no bones about dumping you at a moment's notice. I find it ironic that employers quite often have no sense of responsibility, dedication, or retention to their staff. But, will expect staff to keep only the business' best interest in mind. In fact, I see myself moving within a year to another job and perhaps different profession. Computers have, most of the time, come to bore me. I've written everything from address book apps to messenger apps to black box apps. I don't see much else a career in IT can offer me other than to become management and implement things to make things work better for all involved, and not just pick and choose clients.

mjstelly
mjstelly

Dedication and loyalty to a company "left the building" about 30 years ago when companies began busting unions, i.e. Reagan breaking the air traffic controller's strike, Caterpillar's multi-year holdout against its worker strike, "at-will work state" legislation, etc. I'm not a union advocate. In fact, I've never been part of one. But when worker loyalty is rewarded with layoffs, outsourcing, benefit cuts or removal, and a general disregard for the disposition of company's work force while executive compensation skyrockets along with shareholder earnings, it is no wonder why a "get while the gettin's good" mentality summarizes today's labor force concept of loyalty. In fact, many articles have been written on why you should consider yourself a consultant for any organization that compensates you. The rationale? When the company no longer has need of your services for whatever reason, they WILL drop you like a bad habit.

nospam.online
nospam.online

Been same place for going on 6 year's now and my last "bonus" was this past summer, before that was 2+ year's. I think that was only because a local NASA guy called to ask about my work and they think I was looking elsewhere. They go nuts if there's an issue but otherwise want me to stay in the dark corner of the server room. Out of site, out of mind if you will.

uberg33k50
uberg33k50

Actually I work for a company that has a conscience though. Like you in the healthcare industry.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

You should move to Ireland and get a job randomly gluing a fourth leaf on clovers on the hills! I'll sail up from the Isle of Wight and we can sip cinZano Bianco "The Anchor" on the deck while watching pasty skinned, holiday makers burn on blackpool beach. hmph, huh, cough, whaaa? Oh, yes....work, right...sorry, lost myself for a bit there.

jwesleycooper
jwesleycooper

... as aside from being a full-time college student working on a programming degree, I also have to work at a grocery store as many hours as possible, just so I can help pay the bills and keep my insurance so I can actually keep breathing (asthma). Every day at that place feels like an eternity, and I can't wait until I get my degree and find a real job (whenever that happens); but I can't afford to just walk out, much less threaten to! Think that corporations don't give a cr@p when a trained IT Pro threatens to quit? They REALLY couldn't care less about most of their OTHER employees; which is why, inevitably, things are so badly made and very few people do their jobs properly. The saddest part: the guys up top probably won't wake up until their own little world implodes, and then it'll be too late for most everyone else! (sorry, just had "vent" a bit)

gmccall
gmccall

I'm 62 years old. Most of my department has been here for a lifetime. We are not union. It's the company which does the most to inspire loyalty. The Union has had it's place for a while. But times and cultures change. We don't do child labor any more and there is alot of worker legislation now. The only good I see in a union is a bit of job security. Other than that, it's the union's who keep wages so high that I can not buy an American made dress shirt even if I want to. It's priced out of the market. Everybody can't make $28+ an hour. Somebody has to make the lower wage and also start at the bottom. Janitorial workers at General Motors should not have a comparable wage to, and live the same lifestyle as an I.T. Analyst at GM. That's exactly where the whole thing goes wrong.

Mike-Simms
Mike-Simms

Having spent 20 years with 1 company the Military (USAF)I was shocked when I left. I have been laid off 5 times, quit twice. I am now back with one of the companies which laid me off. I am a defense contractor and contracts are always switching hands or being changed/deleted. I go with the money and job satisfaction. Mike

aandruli
aandruli

I also agree. Pay increases were cancelled last year -- but then I found out several people got pay increases on the sly. I demanded one for myself and got a "we'll look into it". I have a position of high responsibility and no one here qualified to take my place should I leave. Only if I do leave will they get the wake-up call, but they are calling my bluff. I would like the stay -- but am considered a fixture here that doesn't cause problems, so my requests/demands are ignored.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

It was a sideline one year while in trade school. Made HEAPS and HEAPS of money at it, my neighbour was into chemical cleaners, he would create all kinds of cool nonabrasive products for me to use that nobody else had. But with 2 cars a day at $260.00 per car, I wondered why I was even going to school to learn how to fix the damn things properly. However,being Ireland's 4th leaf installer would utilize both skills, detail and hanging out in fields and meadows whil enjoying the sunshine...they do get sunshine in the UK, I've seen it once or twice anyway.

jck
jck

I liked the Ireland part. Throw in Guinness and I'm game. To hell with work. I am ready for a career change to either car detailer or lawn maintenance guy.

mjstelly
mjstelly

One of the hard-learned lessons in the business world is "no one is indispensable." Along with that, "if you are indispensable, you are also immovable." The powers that be in your company KNOW that if you leave, there are 7 more people waiting to fill your position (as noted in this blog). You are fooling yourself if you think otherwise. My bet is that if they had wanted to give you a raise "on the sly", you would have received it already.

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