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Are Skimpy Raises the New Normal?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the something-is-better-than-nothing dept.

The Almighty Buck 736

Lam1969 writes "Computerworld just released their latest salary survey, and it finds that IT worker bees have once again only received small raises. The article notes, "IT raises still lagged slightly behind the average of about 3.2% for all U.S. workers as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the majority of respondents (69%) said their 2004 base salary increased from one year ago, 31% experienced either no change in salary or had their pay cut." It goes on to quote LAN specialist Stephen Noisseau as saying, "I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles ... I'll take 4% over nothing. We're getting basically cost-of-living raises.""

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w00t (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867679)

w00tw00tw00t

first post muther fucker! (-1, Troll)

Big Troller (651808) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867680)

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Welcome to reality.... (5, Insightful)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867681)

We're getting basically cost-of-living raises.

Welcome to the way the rest of the universe works. Be glad you even got that. Most poeple have to find new jobs to get a raise at all.

Don't worry, I'm sure another bubble will be along to get you a 100% raise every 6 months like the good ol days.

Re:Welcome to reality.... (4, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867764)

Exactly the only way for us to get raises is to find a better paying job. If enough tech workers do this then companies may give higher raises to keep their workforce. Or they (Like my company) will replace these people with people will less skills for less pay and train them with experience.

Re:Welcome to reality.... (1)

Slashdot_Gandhi (912342) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867772)



Don't worry, I'm sure another bubble will be along to get you a 100% raise every 6 months like the good ol days.

The Video games bubble?

Re:Welcome to reality.... (3, Insightful)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867780)

Exactly... Around here (Ohio) the job market is so bad, for both degreed and non degreed workers, that people seem happy just to keep their jobs, raise or not. Sometimes it seems that employers create an atmosphere where everyone thinks that they are an inch from unemployment, so they don't have to give raises...

Reality vs. perception (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867804)

After 2 years of unhappiness and general lack of hope in my current job, my group has a 30% turnover.

I remember hearing over and over that raises where only 2% for the last couple years. In fact, due to cost cutting they stopped collecting the trash cans on a daily basis. Now, instead of individual trash cans in our cubes, we have communal trash cans in the hallways, which are emptied once a week. BTW, we keep having record quarters.

So, when my boss's boss threatened to give me a bad review and no raise, I shrugged my shoulders and informed him that "My annual 2% raise is close enough to 0% that it didn't matter." I then proceeded to tell him that he had a structural problem. The lack of raises provided him with no "stick" and the lack of advancement opportunities provided him with no "carrot."

I have already decided to leave as soon as the first of the year comes around (and I quality for the End-of-Year bonus).

The funny thing. I honestly believe I got a 2% raise last year. That is what everyone says the raises were. I was doing some record keeping this weekend and noticed that I actually got a 8.25% raise last year.

Sometimes perception and reality don't match.
I am still leaving though.

Re:Welcome to reality.... (4, Insightful)

forand (530402) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867847)

I think I have heard this type of argument before. . . OH YEAH that was it when slave owners told their slaves that they were better off being slaves in the US than being godless in Africa. My point is that one should not have to be "glad" that they are getting a cost of living increase in pay. Convincing people that they should be happy in a bad situation isn't doing anyone any good. In the long run you are correct that people will have to look for different jobs to get the money they need just to maintain their standard of living which will hurt the employer. Similarly switching jobs like this plays havic with many retirment plans which will hurt the employee in the long run. Just because it is the way it is doesn't mean anyone should be happy about it.

Re:Welcome to reality.... (5, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867883)

Here's something I've noticed - take it as you will.

People that have the attitude of entitlement, that someone must take care of them, that they deserve increases, tend to do worse in the long run over people who believe they are owed nothing and must earn every penny.

All my evidence is strictly anecdotal, so I won't bother detailing it. Feel free to discount this.

Re:Welcome to reality.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867958)

"Feel free to discount this."

50% off?

Re:Welcome to reality.... (4, Insightful)

elgatozorbas (783538) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867923)

Actually a raise equal to the cost of living sounds rather fair to me. If everybody would get a raise significantly higher than the cost of living, things (produced by those employees) would become more expensive too, making the cost of living follow the increase. It is like saying 'everybody should be above average', no?

Re:Welcome to reality.... (4, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867873)

Everyone at my job told me as soon as I got there, "work here for a couple years, then go to another company. You'll get a much bigger raise, then work there for a couple years, then apply back here again. You'll end up making 10x what you would if you just stuck around trying to get raises."

Point is, you've gotta know how much you're worth, and if you're not getting that, find someone who will pay that (this of course ignores the happiness factor).

Re:Welcome to reality.... (2, Interesting)

somoney (694541) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867907)

Yep ... new job is usually the way I go to get a raise. Just be lucky your not taking a 7% paycut in a month or so like I am. :(

Re:Welcome to reality.... (5, Funny)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867932)

What? Some people have jobs?

Re:Welcome to reality.... (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867936)

>> We're getting basically cost-of-living raises.

Just wait until inflation ramps up a bit more. Then at least the raises will seem bigger.

Hard Times (5, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867687)

LAN specialist Stephen Noisseau as saying, "I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles ... I'll take 4% over nothing. We're getting basically cost-of-living raises."

Took a 30% pay cut two years ago, as nothing was available but a job 40 miles from home. Only one pay increase in two years, 1.15% which has more than been eaten by the rise in petrol cost.

It's simple Supply-Demand (Keynesian economic theory), when workers with a particular skill set are not in demand or supply excedes demand, there's not much rationale to give workers higher pay. Of course some increase is a sign of goodwill and encourages workers, but tell the beancounters.

Oh, and the execs got about 6% pay increase this year. Can't have that lot starving, can we?

FUCK, SHIT, COCK - YOU (1)

Albert Pussyjuice (675113) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867709)

It's gasoline, not petrol you fucking dick!

SLASHDOT WILL BE LIBERATED FROM THE SOCIALIST PIG-DOGS THAT CURRENTLY OCCUPY IT AND RETURNED TO THE AMERICANS WHO FOUNDED IT.

Just as in 1098, we took back the Holy Land, so too shall we take back Slashdot.

I posted this while sitting on the toilet, dropping a steaming pile in the toilet.

Re:Hard Times (0)

guyjr (180613) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867711)

You do realize that kissing ass actually is a very disgusting, dehumanizing act, not to mention fraught with danger of disease, and that aftertaste... WHEW...! Those execs deserve every bit of that 6%. After the first couple of nibbles, I'd probably be in the stall for a few hours puking my guts out. Hats off to you execs out there, you deserve a break today!

Re:Hard Times (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867757)

You do realize that kissing ass actually is a very disgusting, dehumanizing act, not to mention fraught with danger of disease, and that aftertaste... WHEW...! Those execs deserve every bit of that 6%. After the first couple of nibbles, I'd probably be in the stall for a few hours puking my guts out. Hats off to you execs out there, you deserve a break today!

My favorites are these two cases:

The CIO at previous job got a retro-active 15% pay increase, even as budgets were being tightened and people being cut.

The President, at the first place I worked, got a 5% or better retro increase, under the same dire conditions for staff.

That's the incentive, I guess, be ruthless enough to rise up to such a position and then grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.

Re:Hard Times (2, Informative)

ichin4 (878990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867754)

Deriving an equilibrium wage using supply and demand curves has nothing to do with Keynesian economic theory [wikipedia.org] . Economists (and mere mortals) understood the effects of supply and demand on wages long before the mid-20th century.

Re:Hard Times (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867781)

Deriving an equilibrium wage using supply and demand curves has nothing to do with Keynesian economic theory. Economists (and mere mortals) understood the effects of supply and demand on wages long before the mid-20th century.

Do tell me, now that Web Design is a commodity skill, who still makes six figures designing web pages?

The last person I knew who was doing that is now living in his parent's house.

Re:Hard Times (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867792)

It's simple Supply-Demand (Keynesian economic theory), when workers with a particular skill set are not in demand or supply excedes demand

Actually, it has a lot more to do with profit-center focus at a micro level within a company (at least, when evaluating most medium to large employers). For instance, Paypal employs many in our metro but looks at IT employees as cost-center workers one step up from fast food. Cost-centers "create costs" not profits, and are only there to support the profit center. Right now, the mode of operation in most corporations is lean (except for incentives for profit center performers) and subsequently IT people rank near the bottom.

Add to that a general exhausted attitude in execs about IT (things like endless security nightmares (which are always the IT shop's fault, not the vendor the CEO picked after reading a really cool marketing slick in the back of a magazine), licensing issues, and out-of-control IT spending over the past decade) and you'll find IT is a black-sheep in many organizations. We're in a midwestern market where the IT outlook is especially bleak - insurance companies, banks, food giants and others who are rebelling at IT's expense and telling the "geeks" to be happy with less for awhile. That IBM server farm ad (with the psycho sysadmin who believes servers "serve us") very much plays into this attitude of perceived IT excess.

Understand things go in cycles and this one will work itself out. As always, the more valuable you make yourself to an organization's process of making money, the better off you'll do.

Hard Times-Crunchy in milk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867908)

"Oh, and the execs got about 6% pay increase this year. Can't have that lot starving, can we?"

Of course not. They make for good eating.

Re:Hard Times (4, Informative)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867925)

Oh, and the execs got about 6% pay increase this year.

Only 6%? That's not much... 2003 saw the average Fortune 500 CEO's salary up 22.18% [cnn.com] .

In 1992 the average CEO made 82x the average employee's salary. By 2004 this ratio has climbed to 400x [stanford.edu] .

Don't forget Gary Smith [msn.com] who was awarded $41.2 million for overseeing the elimination of 93% of Ciena's value in just 4 years.

Sorry, I got a 10% raise... no doom or gloom in WA (2, Funny)

RentonSentinel (906700) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867700)

I often wonder about these surveys... who is an "average"? Who is an "average" slashdot poster? A bot?!

Re:Sorry, I got a 10% raise... no doom or gloom in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867770)

I'll post anonymous, as I don't know what my coworkers got, but I received: 17.8% in 2004 and 22.1% in 2005. Living in south Orange County, CA

Re:Sorry, I got a 10% raise... no doom or gloom in (1)

RentonSentinel (906700) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867785)

High five, my friend! Capitalism rocks... and being your own man rocks too!

whine whine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867704)

I haven't had a raise in years. Not even a cost-of-living raise.

Raises shouldn't be the norm (5, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867707)

Is it really a valid expectation to automatically get a salary increase? What happened to earning it? I feel pretty confident in saying that 69% of all workers didn't perform above average, so why should they be expecting a reward?

Are Skimpy Raises the New Normal? (0)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867714)

Yes.

Re:Raises shouldn't be the norm (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867779)

The first thing that springs to mind is inflation. No raise is the equivalent of a pay cut, taking into account the fact that your salary buys less as time goes on.

Re:Raises shouldn't be the norm (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867831)

Many of us have got lazy. During the Mid-Late 90s you could make millions for saying HTML on your resume. Now they expect more, now they want such odd things like "People Skills", "Experience", "Work Ethics", and "Competence". Now the tech workers who are doing above average are those people who started working in the early 90's and Late 80's who knows what real tech working is about, and you should also watch out for those who started working post bubble, who are trying to get a food hold in the market.

Re:Raises shouldn't be the norm (1)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867927)

and you should also watch out for those who started working post bubble, who are trying to get a food hold in the market.

Some of us *just* got into the market after the bubble. I started getting interested in computers before the bubble, I started programming before the bubble, and when I started college I was a German major, because deciding that I was just too good at computers to give that up.

I still had to finish college though, and when I did, it was post-Bubble. In fact, the two largest classes we had at my college were just barely post-Bubble, and yeah, many of them were there for the free food. But many of my friends, and I as a known, were here in computers before the Bubble.

My biggest problem so far hasn't been skill or knowledge, it's been lack of *professional* experience coupled with a 3.0 GPA (when did a B-average become a bad thing?) I have tons of pratical experience, and a solid skill and knowledge. I just never made money at it, so most companies didn't seem to give a crap about it.

So, basically, beware those that got into the market just for the free food, not just because they came post-Bubble... some of us were here all along, just not making money at it.

Re:Raises shouldn't be the norm (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867846)

Yes, because of inflation. You expect to have your pay remain the same in real terms, and economists have decided the country's better if money is going down in value by about 2% a year.

Re:Raises shouldn't be the norm (1)

Frostalicious (657235) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867882)

I feel pretty confident in saying that 69% of all workers didn't perform above average...

I would have thought 50% of workers would perform above average?

Re:Raises shouldn't be the norm (1)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867949)

Same problem as the lawyers per company average. If a small number of employees perform significantly above average, then you can have 69% of employees performing below-average.

Of course, you always have 50% below and above the median performance level, because that's the definition of median.

Re:Raises shouldn't be the norm (1)

elgatozorbas (783538) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867954)

Not if a small percentage is working 'really really hard' and a large percentage is being just a bit sloppy. In that case the average lies higher because many loafers are needed to balance a few Strebers.

Re:Raises shouldn't be the norm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867884)

So to you, "average" is the target for a raise?

What happened to pay based on responsibility? The junior guy who's barely trusted with operating the coffeepot gets spare change, the regular who's been there several years who can actually update the website without something bursting into flames gets a decent wage, the lead developer who is responsible for his newbie setting fire to the webserver gets a bit extra, and the seasoned veteran who not only knows the root password to all of the servers, but also knows where the boss keeps his porn gets $250K.

This is the way it should be.

(Oh, and don't forget inflation. If your pay doesn't go up as much as inflation did that year, you took a pay cut.)

Interesting ancedotal bit: earlier this year, my father was offered a job that would have made him responsible for certain aspects of production in every arm of a multinational engineering outfit. During the negotiation, several interesting facts came out:
1) They were hiring an entire department of people to carry out this particular responsibility.
2) The office the job was situated in was scheduled to be closed in just over a year as part of a "decentralization" plan. Said office was in a city where cost-of-living was 200% the national average.
3) The budget was cut, so instead of "a department" there would be only one person.
4) That one person would be paid $60k/yr, and regardless of his experience, he would start as an entry level person with entry level benefits.

Re:Raises shouldn't be the norm (1)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867957)

Is it really a valid expectation to automatically get a salary increase? What happened to earning it? I feel pretty confident in saying that 69% of all workers didn't perform above average, so why should they be expecting a reward?

I heard, a long time ago, that 79% of all drivers believed they were better than average. That's truly educational. By definition, half the drivers are "better than average" and the other half are "worse than average".

I don't see how 69% of the workers can realistically perform above average. If you take half a company's output and then try to account for the fewest possible people to produce that output, then you might come up with a number less than 50%, but I think that's only because of support personel who are not directly related to output, but to enabling others.

When I started working for a company, I started with the expectation that I was earning my salary (why else would they hire me?). I continued, under the understanding that I was learning and therefore increasing my value. If I continue to learn for 10 years, continue to do my job better every single year, doesn't my value increase? How, therefore, is it not valid to expect a raise above the cost of living?

If I start working for a company, and over the course of 10 years, never gain any experience at all and never become more efficient, then I should be fired (from a company with a growth objective) because they can hire someone else who will add value to the company and allow it to grow.

Face it, if you're working for a modern tech company with a growth objective, and you've talked yourself out of expecting a raise, you're either: 1) Lieing to yourself so you feel better about your apathy or 2) Convinced yourself that you'll get enough of a raise to make up for it later or 3) Convinced that you can't earn your salary at a different company which can compensate you fairly (which may or may not be true depending on the market and your skillset marketability).

What is this "raise" you speak of? (3, Interesting)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867713)

I have never heard that word before.. I have never experienced it. Paycut I know, I have had three of them :\

The only way I can see increasing my pay is to leave this job for another. And this is NOT a good market now to do that.

Would LOVE a 2% or 3% raise once a year or so...

Re:What is this "raise" you speak of? (2, Interesting)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867832)

In SK, a supposedly labour friendly environment, the government proclaimed that its employees would get 0,1,1% over three years for raises and no more. Since then most departments have cut deals above that, but still barely the rate of inflation is given. People whine and whine about teachers getting 2%/year when that doesn't even cover the cost of inflation which is more like 2.4% last I heard. The average raise was closer to 3% in the private sector.

I think that not giving employees a raise better than inflation's rate, is essentially a pay cut. Presumably the service or good is making more money or is at least as valuable, so why isn't the employee's time?

0% raise is a pay cut (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867717)

And keep in mind that a 0% raise is actually a pay cut, due to inflation. If you're not averaging about a 2% raise every year, your income in terms of buying power is declining.

Re:0% raise is a pay cut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867836)

In the mean time, company officers continued to draw multi million dollar compensation (for small firms, mind you.)

Re:0% raise is a pay cut (-1)

Heian-794 (834234) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867855)

It's egregious that people need to become 2% more skilled every year just to maintain their purchasing power.

Unfortunately the world's governments have colluded to issue money backed not by gold, silver, or something else humans across the world hold to be valuable, but rather by nothing more than a government promise.

This is what needs to be solved if people want to have long-term confidence in the value of their money and the security of their futures.

Geographical breakdown?? (2, Interesting)

jkind (922585) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867718)

I'd like to see how the raises compare in North America versus countries where a lot of the outsourcing jobs are popping up...
But I guess 10% increase in those countries would still be a steal for the labour they are receiving in return.

IT=cost center (2, Insightful)

Kaphin (834914) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867720)

IT does not generate revenue for a company, unless that company is of course an outsourcing firm. Get into a revenue generating line of work and then you'll make some bucks.

IT = cost savings (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867840)

...or at least it should be. No reason why you, the internet security guru, shouldn't get paid as much as Bob over in sales if you equally contribute to the company's bottom line.

Re:IT=cost center (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867879)

Wrong.
I think that the entire purpose of the IT centre is to save a corporation's money. After all, no one is very productive if their computer is often broken and the email server constantly goes down etc. These may not be direct sources of revenue, but they will certainly increase revenue in other areas. Lets also not forget that IT depts. are also responsible for creating and maintaining products and services that do make money.

Re:IT=cost center (2, Insightful)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867899)

Yeah! Amen!

You don't need IT to run a company, just like you don't need oil to run a car!

Just don't expect it to run very well or for very long.

you should learn some maths (1)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867952)

Bottom line is impacted a significant amount more when costs are cut, as opposed to increasing price/sales.
Cost centers are the first thing CEOs/CFOs look at for impacting the bottom line and showing that their 6+ figure salary is worth something. Hence the lack of raises.
Direct revenue generation, by the way, is rather sparse:
Sales
Delivery/Manufacturing
The second two will depend on service vs product. And trust me, you don't make squat in manufacturing until Veep level. VP of Materials Management perhaps. Senior planners and commodity managers make precisely jack and shit. . . . unless your firm recognizes SCM as a core competency, in which case you might do a little better. But perhaps not; lots of companies with Supply Chain competencies got there because of IT. Think Wal-mart. Please don't dispute that, just do some research on Wal-mart SCM)

Coming back to the main point: IT is not getting raises because in the classic corporate mindset it is a commodity. Not all IT, but a fair amount. And they're right. MCSEs are a dime a dozen. Good ones are harder to find, certainly. But finding one isn't an onus on HR. Like most fields, the cream rises to the top and will receive the significant rewards. The rest. . . will suck lemons for a bit. They'll get better, get better jobs, or get out.

Pay Raise? (1)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867721)

That's so 1999. Haven't got a pay raise since last century.

Re:Pay Raise? (2, Funny)

Nimloth (704789) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867818)

You think that's bad, mine was last millenium.

Lets get off the 1990s mindsets (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867731)

Well it is a situation where we are recouping from a huge bubble. We had the end of Y2k in 2000, then 9/11 that scared the chicken investors, Out Sourcing in 2002, By Late 2003 we became so disenfranchised that we were willing to work a large fraction of our pay, 2004 got a little better when they started to see the outsourcing isn't as much a value as they thought. So now most companies are still careful on their IT spending, and with a good supply of IT workers they are willing to save on their budgets as long as possible. So Raises will be COLAs for a while until we get more scares or there is a large business need for some new technology (Like the Web in the late 90s) But right now we are humbled back to the average income job. As it probably should be.

Re:Lets get off the 1990s mindsets (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867811)

Well it is a situation where we are recouping from a huge bubble.

Sure, but there's a difference between stagnant wages because a company is falling on hard times, and stagnant wages among workers so the CEO can continue to enjoy his 20% raise every year. There's a good deal of both to go around.

Re:Lets get off the 1990s mindsets (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867918)

Well you still need to realize that wages and raises are Supply vs. Demand. CEO's get Better Raises when they show company growth, because if they don't give them a raise they will leave for an other company, leaving the risk of getting a poorer performing CEO. While IT workers if they leave they can get another one and they can limp along with marginal costs until they higher a new one. There is a High Demand for a Small Supply of Good CEO's so CEO's get paid a lot. There is a Normal Demand for a Large Supply of It workers, so we get paid less. So when a CEO gets paid an extra Million a year. Where that could give you hole department 100% raises seems unfair, it is just supply and demand. If we could say make a program that replaces a CEO in all aspects and sell it for $1,000,000 per company The cost of Real CEOs will drop to around $100-200k a year. Because the demand for a CEO is much lower.

Are Skimpy Raises the New Normal? (1)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867738)

Yes.

Re: Are Skimpy Raises the New Normal? (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867844)

I'd say that's the normal, period. In countries outside the U.S.

I'd say the US was giving so many raises because of some job bubble or something.

In other words, welcome to the rest of the world.

Bonus / profit sharing and base salary. (2, Interesting)

UpLateDrinkingCoffee (605179) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867741)

How many of your employers use a good bonus year as an excuse to skimp on raises? Sure, bonuses are great and all, but they come and they go... I personally think it's ill advised. When base salaries fall behind the market as soon as the bonuses dry up, it seems like a mass exodous is likely. What do I know, I just need the extra money to pay for gas (most of which is used for my commute)

3-4% really is the norm (4, Insightful)

SupahVee (146778) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867743)

And while I may whine about the fact that most of the time I have to jump jobs to get a raise, if I hung around those places, i'd probably be likely to get the 3-4% every year or so, and I don't really have a problem with that.

What I do have a problem with is when I only get a 3-4% raise, yet, executives can give themselves 50% raises, 4 million dollar bonuses, etc. There is nothing a CEO can produce that warrants that level of compensation. PERIOD.

I say we find somebody crazy enough in congress to propose a salary cap for CEO's bill. Then tell everyone in the public about it, and see how many people really support something like that. Especially when the workers outnumber the C-level's probably 100 to 1.

Re:3-4% really is the norm (3, Interesting)

guyjr (180613) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867784)

Good theory, one I'd like to believe in, but remember - in the U.S., it's not who votes for you, but how much money those people put into your campaign coffer. Can't exactly run a national campaign in this day and age without a multi-million dollar advertising budget.

Jeez... W raised over _100_ million dollars in the last campaign if memory serves right. Mayor Bloomberg is a _billionaire_. The _last_ people these politicians listen to are the working class. Sad as it may be.

Re:3-4% really is the norm (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867858)

For the entire 2004 campaign, the total raised for the Bush campaign was in excess of $260 million. Kerry wasn't terribly far behind at $233 million. Counting minor parties, that's half of a billion dollars raised for the 2004 presidential season alone.

Re:3-4% really is the norm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867786)

Don't get angry at the CEO. If you can do a better job, start your own company and be the CEO.

Re:3-4% really is the norm (1)

DrCode (95839) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867892)

How many of these highly-paid CEO's started the companies they work for? How many took the real risk that you're suggesting?

Re:3-4% really is the norm (4, Interesting)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867857)

Most CEO's get their pay raises voted on through the board of directors of the company, and any majority shareholders that aren't on the board.

Of course they can all also vote themselves the same outrageous pay raises..

A salary increase cap I doubt you could push through - you'd have to rule out the fringe cases where a guy DID earn $4m bonus a year (for instance, turning a company around from bankruptcy - I imagine a couple of airline bosses are hoping they can swing this)

What I suppose could happen is that salary raises and bonuses are capped based on percentages of profit margins and difference between previous years (if it's profits up, add a percent or two, if profits are down, reduce a percent or two), and written into company charters.

How much could Bill Gates grant himself per year if he had a 3% pay raise and a further 2% bonus on a good year? How about Steve Jobs?
It's probably no better than the current "corruption" :(

Re:3-4% really is the norm (4, Interesting)

Ziest (143204) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867912)

How much could Bill Gates grant himself per year if he had a 3% pay raise and a further 2% bonus on a good year? How about Steve Jobs?


If I am not mistaken, Steve Jobs has an annual salary of $1.00. Considering how much stock he owns and how much money he made in the past I don't think he thinks very much about how much he is getting paid. I think the CEO of Cisco has the same deal.

Z.

Re:3-4% really is the norm (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867860)

I agree 100%. I can remember the Japanese execs bitching in the mid-80's about the ridiculously high disparity between upper management and lower paid workers. in a lot of cases, it as much as a couple of thousand times greater in the management ranks. It has probably gotten much worse now but I haven't seen any fresh figures on this.
At my place of employment, the bonus checks (In the years they are actually given out) go on the 6 - 10 - 15% system. Depending on your paygrade, checks are figured out with a complicated system of goals and performance. It isn't enough of course to just give everyone say a 6% bonus times your base salary. No, more salt is rubbed in the employees wounds by giving the already overpaid managers a bigger raise. No sour grapes, just the facts. If companies would just look in the mirror sometimes, and see what they do to piss people off, they could more than make up for these costs by not having to hire do-nothing consultants, pay big bucks for the latest fad (create a misson statement - remember those?), or spend big bucks on retraining yet another employee that will last 6 months and leave for greener pastures.

Go for higher pay when you first negotiate (3, Interesting)

Canberra Bob (763479) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867745)

Thats why I always aim for a decent base package before I sign up. I take the approach that I will only work for an amount I am happy with for that position, any raises, bonuses etc are then just icing on the cake as I dont really need them and dont really care. Also stops me from overworking and chasing the pay rise / promotion that never comes (hint: if you want career progression and better pay you have a far greater chance getting it faster by changing jobs than just sitting back and waiting your turn)

Suck it up! (1)

eagle52997 (691489) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867771)

When other, more important professions have long been underpaid (teachers), somebody's gotta bite the bullet so we can get raises up to the level of where we should be paid. If that means companies have to scale back raises so they can give price breaks to school systems so the systems can pay their teachers more, then I'm in favor of that situation!

Re:Suck it up! (1)

TempeNerd (410268) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867848)

Amen!
IT as an industry is paid far more for the education/training investment than most other career paths. A little balancing of the scales now is reasonable and I second being in favor of the underpaid professionals getting a bit more equitable treatment!
My concern is that the lack of raises for us will NOT mean a shifting of income to them.

Disorganized Labor (5, Interesting)

Safe Sex Goddess (910415) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867788)

I was already modded down as a troll in an earlier posting last week for being pro-union. But no one tells me to shut-up:-)

I'll say once again:

Blue Collar = Organized Labor
White Collar = Disorganized Labor

Democracy is about working together to be treated fairly. Why should corporate profits leap by huge percentages while employee salaries do not?

Obliged (1)

Catskul (323619) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867872)

Shut up. ;-D ... just kidding, but I do think unions are crap.

Large companies may take advantage of workers, but that doesnt negate the fact that unions often represent overpaid laziness.

Re:Obliged (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867931)

Shut up. ;-D ... just kidding, but I do think unions are crap. Large companies may take advantage of workers, but that doesnt negate the fact that unions often represent overpaid laziness.

On a related note, and getting further off track... The biggest problem that I see with unions, is that there is no mechanism allowed to provide employee performance feedback; whether good, bad, or indifferent.

High performers tend to get jaded and frustrated, low performers hide behind the union safety net, and over time... medioctiry rules

Re:Disorganized Labor (1)

bluelip (123578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867898)

Why should my pay be based on anyone's, but my work? A union just grouping people toegther. It's great for a mediocre person, but if you want to excel, you're pulled down by the slackers around you unless you change jobs.

don't tell me about how unions protect me from "the man". I want protection from the unions! If they weren't around, people would have to work for their jobs instead of annoying me all day.

Re:Disorganized Labor (1)

The UberDork (689979) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867926)

Hmm .. doesn't this article specifically talk about average wages? Where do you think HR et al get the guidelines for how much particular jobs and experience should be paid? So basically, you want your pay to be based on other's work without the ability to affect the overall picture.

Be glad you are working (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867790)

Too many people are out of work these days due to plant closings and businesses outsorcing everyting, including the kitchen sink.

Be glad you get a paycheck. After having to live thru 2 bankrupt companies, I am..

pay raise.. did i miss something (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867796)

The way the market is going for Sys Admins I don't get pay raises... at my current job they are just paying me for more of the hours I work... but right now I am caped out so I might try and take a day off here in the next year or so..

I don't expect more money than I agreed to... if it isn't enough money for me to work there I don't - I feel that when you agree to a pay rate that is what you get.. If you prove to go above and beyond and make it worth it for them to give you more money then so be it, but be happy with what you have... all I know is I make twice what my wife does and she is a school teacher, they expect her to go above and beyond for nothing, in fact less than cost of living increases.. And you know that 1,500 they are supposed to get from good old "W" for doing good with the no child left behind... she saw less than 600 of that due to "special" taxes.. That in my mind is someone agreeing (forcibly) to something and getting shafted.

So as far as I am concerned... if you can feed your family and keep a roof over your head and set a little back for rainy days you are doing well. Else find a new job.

Be happy you get cost of living raises... (1)

liamcaden (671807) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867801)

Working for a Large Western Canada ISP, we usually get raises of 0-3%, the cost of living in Calgary goes up by 5-7% yearly.. It is the funniest thing I ever expirienced, although I am getting a raise, it always feels like a paycut...

On the bright side... (1)

haus (129916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867802)

... I hear that the US Army is hiring!

http://www.goarmy.com/ [goarmy.com]

Some geeks might even be able to swing an enlistment bouns...8)

And I've heard Al Qaeda are hiring too... (1)

Darius Jedburgh (920018) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867943)

nt

Part of the culture change (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867807)

It used to be that companies were loyal to employees, and vica-versa. Companies treated employees well, and employees did well staying at the same place. Now, changing companies is the standard way to get a raise. Companies had no loyalty to employees, so employees lost loyalty to companies. Now, companies have no real way to build up employee loyalty, since it is basically nonexistant no matter what they do, so they cut back on expenses they used to have that helped loyalty (now, apparently, including raises).

In a few cases, companies that use forced retention [wikipedia.org] simply don't have to do as much to retain employees, since they count on lawsuits to deter employees from leaving.

Hopefully (5, Funny)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867809)

I give my Chinese sweatshop kids a raise now and again, usually about a cent a month extra, sometimes a dollar bonus if they've been churning out consistently good shoes. It keeps moral up and gives them the belief that they might one day make enough money to break free of their shackles. I would warn bosses against so called 'perk raises' for example taking the number of tardiness lashings down might seem like a good idea but I've had problems when the workers start boasting about it and eventually UNICEF or someone finds out that we actually _are_ lashing them. That was a pretty costly lawsuit. In all I would say treat em mean and keep em keen. Its far better to threaten a wage reduction for poor work than to offer a raise for good work, instead just tell them that you're only paying the Pakistani kids half the price and that will get them feeling pretty good.

Meh (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867810)

My wages are the same as they were in 2001 ... however my 'rank' has moved from developer to lead developer. Woo. Different companies however, the first one went bust a year after I left whilst I was living on nothing trying to run a business. In that respect, getting back into the market (despite having less up-to-date experience) at my previous rate is good. It isn't as if inflation is 15% ...

Would I trade jobs now? No, i'm still absorbing a lot of new technologies. In two years time - maybe, if the wages were significantly higher and it wasn't a really dull job that made me cry tears of boredom.

Oh, I work right next to two pubs too ... mmm, beer.

Outsourcing... (2, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867819)

"Senior management says, 'If you don't like the work, we'll get somebody in India to do it.' The computer people are seen more as part of the technology rather than part of the human resource,"

Translation:

Beggers can't be choosers.

Competition and bad economy (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867823)

Until the econ gets rolling, we have a new paradigm shift, or all compitition stops, we will recieve small raises. Once there is a new way to reduce business costs via IT, and it starts to get implemented, then and only then will we go back to large raises.

Compitition is a good thing.

And in other news.. (5, Interesting)

siliconeyes (154170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867835)

Salaries in India to go up by 11.4 percent [finfacts.com] , possibly the highest in the whole world.

As a small mobile software developer in India currently looking for fresh business and perhaps adding employees other than myself to the business, this news makes me have second thoughts!

Paid! We are supposed to be getting paid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867841)

Now I am pissed!

The paradox (5, Insightful)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867852)

What always gets me every time we have a discussion about raises is that any call for pay increases to the rank and file is met with fierce opposition by those who claim it will obliterate the economy via inflation and will rob shareholders of their rightful gains while sending corporations reeling into bankruptcy.

So, I must pose the question, why is it perfectly fine for managers (especially those in the upper echelons) hand out massive raises to themselves and their cronies that are often the equivalent of several times the average salary of their subordinates? The typical CEO makes 450 times as much as the average person they employ. Even when business is bad, layoffs are rampant and wages stagnant, the raises for the managers continue - because according to them, poor performance is always the fault of the lower rungs, while good quarters are always thanks to their expert stewardship.

The auto parts company Delphi is asking for their non-management staff to accept 50-69% pay cuts, (these workers were described as being basically worthless in a speech the CEO gave two weeks ago) while the managers that have presided over the company sliding into bankruptcy are going to get massive raises.

Please explain who spending tons of money to compensate workers who are being asked to produce more per hour, work more hours and accept fewer fringe benefits like comprehensive healthcare coverage is some evil, evil thing that shall destroy every company and drive them into bankruptcy, while distributing the same amount of money to the higher ups is no problem whatsoever?

This will change when ....... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867948)

This will change when upper management looks around and says:

      "I see the problem. It's me!"

I'm sure that will happen any day now.

here's a good interview tip (4, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867853)

Ask your prospective employer if they offer superior raises to overperforming employees, and what kind of range such a raise might be in.

I always ask this question, and as a result, i've never had a raise less than 9%.

In my world.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867859)

CEO, 500k base, got 60k "market adjustment" in June. Got 250k bonus for waiving his right to block a move of the corporate office (which move HE initiated).

We've been trying to get our staff some token increases just to show we care - they haven't seen an increase in 2 years.

IT has become "overhead" in most traditional businesses. Another expense to be cut.

I quit today.

holy crap! (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867868)

You have a job?

You get raises?!

Shut the hell up, already.

5.5% last year... (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867878)

And this year, I'm expecting something significant to go along with my promotion. Don't know how much it will be, but I'm thinking 10%-ish is in the right ballpark.

IT part of mainstream again (1)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867881)

It looks like IT is now part of the mainstream workforce again, and is now treated as such. Which basically means it stinks. Not because I think everyone should be treated better, but because of the widening gap between CEOs and their "employees".

The average salary of CEOs is now 431 times the salary of his or her respective company's employees. I'm no business expert, but something seems out of whack. If CEOs were held to the same kind of raises based on the performance of their companies (pick your favorite yardstick) I suspect it highly unlikely they would be compensated this way.

Meanwhile, IT folks are perceived to be expendable, and, on paper, it seems to make sense to the people determining salaries they can now play the competitive market against IT workers. I guess that's just the nature of business.

same old same mold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867900)

Ahhh, the effects of a good ol' republican administration are finally coming to fruition. People, this is how the conservatives like their labor -- cheap.

7 years no raises (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13867901)

Im on my 7th year as a Java QA Engineer without any raise. Thats what happens when you are part of a startup company who barely has the money to pay its employees. I made 60K 7 years ago and I still do. I now make $10K a year as a part time musician and so that helps, but only a little. Im on the verge of quitting and finding a new job in order to get a raise.

Why get raises at all? (1)

EvilCabbage (589836) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867910)

I'm genuinely confused, if you're not doing more work, or a harder job, or a more advanced job, then why do you deserve a raise all of a sudden?

It's a serious question. I know here in Australia raises aren't just handed out because it's "that time of year", we're lucky if there's any cost of living increases.

So why is it just expected in the US of A? Is it just tech workers that expect more for the same work or do other industries suffer from the same self serving crap?

If it could be explained, that'd be peachy.

IT sucks, get rich become... (1)

mrs dogbreath (888220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867915)

IP lawyer

woo hoo! (1)

konaforever (744753) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867924)

I got a 3.5 percent raise this year! That makes me above average. IN YOUR FACE, SLASHDOTTERS! Oh, wait. It was .35 percent. Nevermind.

What about the rest of the stats? (1)

Devlin-du-GEnie (512506) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867928)

I'm MUCH more interested in knowing the median annual raise. Averages (arithmetic means) can give a very distorted view if the distribution is odd in some way. For example, suppose you know the average income of a sample of 100 people that includes Bill Gates. It doesn't tell you much about the rest of the sample.

Computerworld is for geeks. They should know better.

Internal promotions (1)

In-Doge (116196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13867955)

I think the subject of raises when it comes to internal promotions deserves some attention too. The last time I quit my job in favour of a higher paying one, it was due to the fact that even a year after moving up into NOC, I was still on tech support salary. This was sadly the norm for most of my colleagues that moved up the same ladder.

When the yearly salary reviews were done and all that was given out was a small cost of living increase, I decided it was time to exercise my other options.

From previous experience this unfortunatley seems to be the norm at more than a few places. I'd imagine that this happens in many more places than IT also which is not really good - doesn't really encourage staff to work towards forward movement.
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