Career Watch

SAPped Workforce

For the seventh consecutive quarter, Foote Partners LLC's Pay Index shows that the average pay for a large group of IT certifications declined, falling 1.6% in the six months that ended April 1. But salaries for a similarly large group of noncertified skills have continued to advance for an even longer period, since mid-2005. That group of 164 skills saw salaries rise nearly 2% over the same six-month period.

Foote Partners notes that the increase in pay for noncertified skills is due in no small part to competition for IT professionals with experience in various SAP applications. David Foote, CEO and chief research officer of the Vero Beach, Fla., firm, said in a press release that SAP has "caused skills and labor shortages that have gripped sizable segments of the employment market in North America and around the world and created some nasty supply and demand fluctuations."

Only one SAP skill is among the top five for average pay increases over the most recent six-month period, but eight are in the top 25.

The Big Gainers

Top 5 noncertified skills, plus 7 other SAP skills that made the top 25: % change for the 6 months that ended April 1
Network security management (1) 25%
Wireless network management (2) 22.2%
Business intelligence (3) 20%
PHP (3) 20%
SAP Master Data Management (3) 20%
SAP ERP (7) 18%
SAP NetWeaver BI (8) 16.7%
SAP Business Objects (10) 12.5%
SAP Human Capital Management (14) 11.1%
SAP Customer Relationship Management (19) 10%
SAP Materials Management (19) 10%
SAP NetWeaver Applications Server (22) 9.1%

Don't Stress Out About Calling In Sick

Employers in both the U.K. and Australia are looking at voice analysis technology that they think could help reduce absenteeism. The technology makes thousands of checks on a voice in the course of a telephone call. A tool called Voice Risk Analysis, developed by Nemesysco Ltd. and DigiLog UK Ltd., has been used to reduce benefits fraud in the U.K.: A North London borough, for example, saved £420,000 ($832,837 U.S.) in false claims during a product trial. The tool listens in on calls and prompts the manager if it detects changes in the caller's voice that suggest he is under stress, a possible indication that he is lying.

Susan Anderson, personnel policy chief at the Confederation of British Industry, was quoted in a May 14 Mail Online story as saying that "pulling a sickie" (or, in another bit of British slang, "swinging the lead") costs U.K. businesses £1.6 billion ($3.17 billion) annually.

Slowdown Hits IT

IT has been among the more resilient sectors of the economy this year, but the overall slowdown is having an effect there as well. The most compelling evidence of that may be Janco Associates Inc.'s 2008 Mid-Year IT Salary Survey. That study, with more than 20,000 participants, finds that hiring demand is currently the lowest it has been since 2004. It also reports that many companies have stopped hiring except for key replacements, and those hires are coming in at lower salaries.

What's more, Janco says that companies have slowed or even ceased discretionary spending by IT, resulting in fewer projects being initiated and the use of consultants being reduced or even eliminated.

And Janco found that over the past 12 months, compensation increases for IT workers failed to keep up with the cost of living. By level, executives and middle managers of large companies did best, but their mean salary increases were just above 1%.

Salaries Inch Up

Average base and total compensation for large categories of IT professionals at large and midsize companies. ("Change" refers to percentage change in total compensation.)

June 2007 Mean June 2008 Mean
Base Total Base Total Change
Large Companies
Executives $127,620 $143,106 $128,491 $144,645 1.08%
Middle managers $75,143 $78,845 $76,073 $79,777 1.18%
Staff $63,146 $66,517 $63,186 $66,433 0.12%
Midsize Companies
Executives $116,838 $131,321 $116,666 $131,793 0.36%
Middle managers $71,009 $74,645 $70,949 $74,701 0.01%
Staff $58,352 $60,442 $58,647 $60,736 0.49%
Source: Janco Associates Inc. 2008 Mid-Year IT Salary Survey

Page compiled by Jamie Eckle.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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