In a recent article in Accenture’sOutlook Journal, “Human Performance: Stemming the tide,” authors Tony Clancy and Arnaud André explored the problem of growing turnover rates at major corporations around the world. In the article, the authors quoted a disturbing statistic drawn from reports from the Saratoga Institute, a human capital management consulting firm: Attrition rates at U.S. companies have increased by nearly 20 percent during the past five years, to an average rate of 16.5 percent.

These rising turnover rates make retaining talent a hot topic for consulting firms—especially when, as in many cases, talented consultants leave firms to join a direct competitor. Authors Clancy and André agree: “Indeed, retention has become so problematic in some industries that in an attempt to keep people, companies have resorted to the bluntest of instruments: money, and lots of it.”

We wanted to find out whether TechRepublic’s IT Consultant members felt they were being fairly compensated for their work, and if their feelings had changed during the past few months in light of the recent market downturn in the tech sector. Last month, we conducted an informal survey asking our consultant members to answer a few questions about their salaries and their rates of increase. In this article, we’ll report the findings of the survey and compare them to the results of the same survey from July 2000.

General findings: The grass is always greener…
We received 561 responses to our informal survey, and the highest percentage of respondents said that they make less than $50,000 annually.

Most of our respondents reported that they received significant salary increases on an annual basis and that they were “Somewhat satisfied” with their current salary.

The participating members also reported that a little less than half of their firms offered profit sharing, bonuses, or stock options as part of their compensation packages.

However, when asked whether their salary was consistent with peers with the same level of experience, 54 percent said their salary was “Somewhat consistent” with their peers, and 35 percent reported that their salary was “Not consistent” with their peers.

In comparison: Results from July 2000
The 220 respondents to the July 2000 consultant compensation survey reported similar feelings on each issue. The majority (35 percent) of the respondents in that survey reported an annual salary under $50,000, and most (57 percent) reported they that they received an annual increase. At that time, 63 percent said they felt their salary was “Somewhat consistent” with salaries of their peers who had the same level of experience, and another 24 percent reported that their salary was “Not consistent” with their peers. Again, about half reported that their firms offered profit sharing, bonuses, or stock options as part of their compensation packages.

The biggest difference we saw between the two surveys was in the number of respondents reporting that they never or rarely received salary increases. In July 2000, 19 percent of respondents said they rarely received salary increases, and three percent reported that they never received an increase. In last month’s survey, those numbers jumped to 24 percent and seven percent, respectively.
Have you leveraged a wage increase due to offers from competing firms? Have you noticed an increase or decrease in salary and benefits offers from consulting firms with whom you’ve interviewed? Tell us what you’re experiencing in the trenches! Send us an e-mail or post your comments below.