The Information Technology(IT) industry is schizophrenic to say the least. There are good people making low wages and nominally skilled folks making a killing. Since January is often annual review time, the question frequently posed by both employers and employees is what is a fair salary.
Invariably at some point, someone grabs a recent trade rag or Googles for IT Salary Surveys and bases a salary position on this information. The problem is that salary surveys have low credibility and accuracy. Any organization that publishes a salary survey for any group has a vested interest in making sure the numbers are high. Case in point, recruiting firms publish these surveys to lure candidates and justify to employers, while knowing fees are based upon salary signed. Trade rags want to show a history of being a trusted source while driving target readers to have more interest for more advertising. Finally, except when reporting to the IRS, almost no one is truthful about salary.
Which is why innately people know, but often fail to recognize that there is a public record of real wages reported by W-2 to the Department of Labor. No matter what state in which you reside, this information is on a public state government website. The information is usually sorted by job title and listed by years of experience. You can also access wage estimates at the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and select the state and occupation (example for Oklahoma): http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ok.htm#15-0000.
Now you have a known starting point with legitimate credibility of real reported wages. The discussion should turn to job duties and performance, education and experience, and goals/objectives completion.
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It is the little changes that will make the greatest changes.
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