Enterprise Systems 2008 Salary Survey, Part 4: Employee Attitudes

Just as IT salaries and bonuses are in a growth stage, uncertainty about the economy has begun to cast a pall over the employment market


Just as IT salaries and bonuses are in a growth stage, uncertainty about the economy has begun to cast a pall over the employment market.

As shown in the first two reports of this series, most IT professional and management positions saw, at a minimum, modest year-to-year increases in base salaries, a trend that began mid-decade as the industry pulled out of the post-dot-com slump. Bonuses in the last two to three years have been quite healthy as well. This may be a contributing factor in helping to boost satisfaction levels among both IT staff professionals and managers in this year’s survey.

However, the uncertainty that has shaken parts of the economy over the past year has also given rise to some anxiety over job security.

Along with salaries and bonuses, the latest Enterprise Systems survey of 691 enterprises covered general attitudes toward pay scales and jobs. While last year’s survey showed a greater willingness to move to new positions or companies that have greater opportunities, more IT managers and professionals are showing a tendency to stay put this year. The average length of time respondents have been employed in their current position is 7.9 years, up from 6.3 a year ago. The average stay with their current employer is close to 11 years, up from eight years in the 2007 survey.

There has also been less moving up the ladder as well. About 74 percent of respondents say they are in the same position as a year ago, up from 67 percent at the same time a year ago, and 65 percent the year before that. About 15 percent report that they have moved up or have been promoted in their organizations, down from 20 percent a year ago and 19 percent the year before. Another seven percent report they made a lateral move -- down from nine percent last year and 11 percent in the 2006 survey.


SATISFACTION

The greater willingness to stay put may be a reflection of general job satisfaction. The survey found salaries across most positions have been growing over the past three years, and this may be helping to increase jobholders’ satisfaction levels. About 63 percent say they are satisfied, to some degree, with their salaries and compensation. This is up from 56 percent last year and the highest level since 2001 (the first year this survey was conducted), in which 63 percent also expressed satisfaction with their compensation levels (see Table 1).

Over the past year, the percentage of respondents that consider themselves to be “extremely” satisfied with their salary levels -- 11 percent -- jumped over the past year, when it was nine percent.

Conversely, dissatisfaction levels also dropped over the past year. About 31 percent of respondents are dissatisfied to some degree with their salaries -- the lowest level since 2002.

“Our salaries may be increasing this year, after being stagnant the past few years,” one respondent mentioned, adding that he is seeing the most opportunities in network security positions. However, as noted above, there is a sizeable contingent that human resources may need to address: four out of ten respondents are unhappy with their compensation levels, or, often, the way salary issues are dealt with within their organizations. As one respondent lamented: “My company is below industry standards and does not plan to increase the salary bands,” he said. “They will not share or publish the salary bands with their employees. Due to this secrecy, we do not know what we can strive for in promotions.”

As found in previous surveys, management-level employees tend to be more satisfied with their pay than IT line staff -- and this satisfaction has grown over the past year. Sixty-seven percent of managers responding to the survey say they are satisfied with their compensation. While IT staff have been less satisfied than managers with their pay levels, their satisfaction has also been on the upswing, our survey shows. About 60 percent of the IT staff professionals responding to the survey say they are generally satisfied with their salaries, up from 55 percent a year ago (see Table 2).

As one respondent put it, rising through the ranks is often the best strategy for increasing pay levels: “There are always opportunities in the IT field, but they usually require moving to a new location,” the respondent said. “Moving into management positions is the best way to acquire the highest pay.”

When looking at satisfaction levels by platform, the survey finds a shift has taken place in the ranks of large systems staff. As shown in Table 3, there has been a significant drop in the percentage of respondents at mainframe systems expressing dissatisfaction with their compensation (28 percent, down from 37 percent last year). As shown in the first two installments of our survey series, mainframe salaries tended to top other categories of platforms. The mainframe itself has been undergoing a resurgence as of late, becoming a key platform for service oriented applications, Web services, and open source-based implementations.

A key driver improving the quality of many jobs, in fact, may be the closer engagement to the business seen among a growing number of IT departments. As one respondent put it, increasing salary rates “are due to the transition from commodity-based technology services to truly strategic technology services.”

As another respondent succinctly put it: “Business knowledge is key ... know more about the business and how they need to do their jobs, and make more.”

The survey found the highest level of disenchantment in the ranks of midrange systems professionals and managers -- 38 percent were unhappy on some level with their compensation levels. Respondents at Linux sites followed with 36 percent. As shown in the first two installments, Linux-intensive sites tended to pay the lowest.

Job satisfaction overall -- which takes in many factors along with pay rates -- has been hovering in the 70 to 80 percent range since this survey was first launched in 2001. This year, 73 percent of respondents said they were mostly satisfied with their jobs, an uptick from last year’s low point of 71 percent.




TABLE 1: SALARY SATISFACTION
2001200220042005200620072008
Extremely satisfied 11%13%12%14%12%9%11%
Somewhat satisfied 52%48%46%47%46%47%52%
Somewhat dissatisfied 24%25%25%25%26%26%24%
Extremely dissatisfied 7%6%8%8%8%10%7%

TABLE 2: SALARY SATISFACTION -- BY JOB LEVEL
STAFFMANAGER
200620072008200620072008
Satisfied57%55%60%67%60%67%
Dissatisfied38%39%33%30%33%31%

TABLE 3: SALARY DISSATISFACTION -- BY PLATFORM
2005200620072008
Mainframe30%32%37%28%
Midrange30%37%40%38%
AIX/Unix32%31%38%32%
Windows*34%35%35%34%
Linux*35%35%33%36%

*Non-mainframe sites only

TABLE 4: JOB SATISFACTION
200120042005200620072008
Satisfied79%72%75%72%71%73%
Dissatisfied15%22%20%22%22%20%


INSECURITY

The overall economy has been going through some stormy times, and one effect has been a renewed uptick in concerns about job security -- at least among IT staff professionals. In the current survey, 18 percent of IT professionals expressed some degree of insecurity about their jobs, up from 12 percent last year, just as the expanding economy had finally lifted IT out of its post-dot-com doldrums. While 18 percent is only a minority of respondents, it is significant that this portion has increased by 50 percent over the last year. Interestingly, the percentage that simply does not know about the status of their job security has risen to five percent, reflecting the uncertainty of the current economic climate. (See Table 5.)

Managers, on the other hand, do not see any looming threats to their job security, as only 12 percent expressed reservations about their job security –unchanged from a year ago.

Greater insecurity about jobs seems to pervade all platforms, the survey finds. It appears the growing sense of job security seen a year ago has retreated off its peak levels as uncertainty about the economy increased over the past year. Mainframe professionals continue to experience slightly lower levels of job security than their counterparts on other platforms, the survey finds.

Overall, large majorities in each category continue to report that they do feel their jobs are secure, but the feeling isn’t as near unanimous than it was in last year’s survey.

For example, 77 percent of respondents in mainframe sites feel that their jobs are secure -- down from 85 percent a year ago, but more in line with previous surveys in 2005 and 2006. Feelings of job security have also dropped down from 2007’s highs among midrange systems professionals -- from 88 percent to 80 percent this year. Likewise, while 80 percent of respondents in Unix shops feel their jobs are secure, this is down from 85 percent a year ago. For Linux-intensive sites, this level of security has dropped from 89 percent to 79 percent. Even some professionals at Windows sites are feeling a little less secure, dropping from 88 percent to 83 percent. (See Table 6.)

With more uncertainty in the economy, there continues to be anxiety over outsourcing among IT staff professionals, the survey also finds. This year, 23 percent of line IT staff members say they fear their jobs may be outsourced, up from 20 percent last year at this time. Managers, however, are less inclined to show trepidation over outsourcing -- 18 percent say their jobs could be outsourced, down from 20 percent a year ago. (See Table 7.)

Outsourcing fears run highest among mainframe and midrange systems site professionals and managers, as shown in Table 8. Overall, those respondents working at Linux sites (with no mainframe present) are the least likely to be concerned about outsourcing -- only 17 percent indicated such fears, a drop from 19 percent in last year’s survey.


TABLE 5: PERCEIVED JOB SECURITY
STAFFMANAGER
200620072008200620072008
Insecure17%12%18%14%12%12%
Secure81%87%77%84%87%87%
Don't know2%1%5%2%1%1%

TABLE 6: PERCEIVED JOB SECRUTY -- BY PLATFORM
2005200620072008
Mainframe76%75%85%77%
Midrange82%76%88%80%
AIX/Unix82%79%85%80%
Windows*87%84%88%83%
Linux*87%83%89%79%

*Non-mainframe sites only

TABLE 7: PERCEIVED LIKELIHOOD OF JOB BEING OUTSOURCED
STAFFMANAGER
200620072008200620072008
Likely24%23%20%18%20%18%
Unlikely71%76%67%77%76%78%

TABLE 8: PERCEIVED LIKELIHOOD OF JOB BEING OUTSOURCED -- BY PLATFORM
2005200620072008
Mainframe24%28%23%25%
Midrange21%28%20%26%
AIX/Unix23%25%21%21%
Windows*19%19%16%19%
Linux*23%18%19%17%
*Non-mainframe sites only


HOURS

As has been the case in previous surveys, managers tend to put in a few more hours a week than staff members. In both cases, there has been a slight uptick in average hours worked per week. For IT managers, the average workweek was 47 and a half hours, up by half an hour from last year. This is still lower than the 48-and-a-half-hour workweeks put in back in 2006, however. (See Table 9.)

IT staff members tend to put in close to 44 hours a week, little changed from the past two years.

As has been the trend in previous surveys, the IT professional continues to be dominated by men. In this survey, 87 percent of the respondents are male, and 13 percent female -- reflecting little change over the past year. Women continue to be significantly underrepresented in IT management ranks as well -- only nine percent of the managers responding were female.


TABLE 9: AVERAGE HOURS WORKED PER WEEK
STAFFMANAGER
200620072008200620072008
43.743.443.848.547.047.5


TABLE 10: GENDER
STAFFMANAGER
MaleFemaleMaleFemale
84%16%91%9%