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Statistically Speaking, I Would Parse This Data with a Fine-Toothed Comb

The good folks at Dice.com, who preside over all things IT salary, have issued a press release saying, "After surging 10% last year (Did anybody notice?), virtualization salaries were on average flat year-over-year at $84,777." The release goes on to note that on a national basis, virtualization tech workers are making $78,845. Moreover, it makes the not-so-startling claim that dissatisfaction among IT pros "soared" to 38 percent from 32 percent over the past year. If you allow for a 6 percent margin of error in that computation, the "soared" thing looks sort of weak. However, Dice seems to be making this dubious claim with tongue planted firmly in cheek, adding parenthetically that their PHDs "tell us this is statistically significant!"

Dice also notes that virtualization job postings are up 30 percent from a year ago, which seems at best conclusively doubtful. Could it be that employers figure workers with virtualization backgrounds are more likely to have the knowledge base necessary for other, non-virtualization jobs? I personally think that an alleged 30 percent hike in job postings doesn't mean a heck of a lot in an emerging market such as virtualization, where the overall pool of highly qualified personnel is likely to be pretty small to begin with.

Dice sums up what it is seeing out there by saying "More demand for virtualization + unhappy tech professionals = retention issues." Hmm, I'd put it another way: A statistically arguable growth in virtualization demand plus little change in the same old group of grumpy tech pros who are impossible to please in the first place does little to change the challenge of hanging on to your good people.

On another note, Foote Partners says that virtualization skills remain among those in the greatest demand -- although it is ranked 19th out of the 32 listed in this category. Virtualization is hot on the heels of SAP Quality Management, Unified Comm/Messaging, and SAP Service Management, and just ahead of SANs, Python and Microsoft Sharepoint. You gotta love these kinds of arbitrary rankings -- just don't show them to your boss next time you ask for a raise.

You tell me: How do you know if you're under-paid? I'm waiting to hear from you at bhoard@1105media.com or comment here.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 01/21/2010 at 12:48 PM


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