Golden Years

Experience and age are tops in slowed IT market.

If you were beginning to think IT had become a profession dominated by youth, think again. According to a salary analysis released in March by Dice Inc., of 21,000 IT professionals, age and experience are back in fashion. While salaries for over-40 workers have remained steady, those under 30 have seen their salaries decline by 5 percent, to $53,400.

“With the sluggish economy, we are seeing new trends in the technology labor market,” said Scot Melland, president and CEO of Dice Inc. “Experience is winning out over youth.”

The same report said the gender gap in salaries is widening. On average, women earned 14 percent less than male counterparts (compared to 12 percent in 2001). The job titles with the highest salaries for the year were “IT Management,” which topped the scales at $102,900, and “Project Management,” which followed at $89,100. The highest paying nonmanagement positions were Systems Developer ($80,300) and Software Engineer ($80,200).

You can evaluate the findings for yourself here: MCP Magazine will be publishing its annual salary survey results in the August issue.

About the Author

Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.

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Reader Comments:

Wed, May 28, 2003 Donald Huntington Beach, CA

Hopefully this trend of age discrimination is limited to a few instances. I have returned to school to increase my skills, because I am at the age of 40. I know that I am competing with younger people for the same jobs. I understand the horror stories of the HR monster, but if people show the dedication to improving their skills, I am sure that this will answer alot of their complaints in regards to the HR staff.

Thu, May 22, 2003 Vicki Seattle

The job market is tight for everyone; corporations need experience AND the latest technical knowledge. For those over 40 looking for jobs, are you in school updating your technical knowledge? As difficult as it is to manage a family, work and still have a life, sometimes it's necessary to give up the life and take those technical courses at the local CC or Univ to refresh your knowledge. It increases marketabilty and adds the credentials HR uses to screen resumes.

Thu, May 15, 2003 Rita Zurcher California

The six missing postings are listed in this message. They were inadvertently not restored when we moved SQL servers. Please excuse the inconvenience.
5/2/2003 2:02:00 PM:
Anonymous wrote:
Well, now that gives me hope. At 48 I have been looking for a job for the past 18 months. There are always loads of negotiation going on and preliminare interviews go very well until they say: "by the way, I need to know your date of birthday" and then I never here from them again.

5/2/2003 7:51:00 PM:
who, me? from California wrote:
I agree with anonymous. I'm 51 years old have identical experiences in the job market. Age discrimination is alive and well.

5/3/2003 9:01:00 AM:
Bob the Fish from the Cayman Islands wrote:
This is pretty logical. Since the young guns only had knowledge and experience of the latest industry trend, the older, more mature people have the extra skills to do more than just code, or install xxx copies of Windows.

5/4/2003 9:18:00 PM:
Frustrated from Chicago wrote:
What we need is better HR people. HR dweebs generally are people who have no understanding of technology and less interest in sorting through resumes. They generally try to make their jobs easier by screening out as many candidates as they can on the basis of requirements for specific experience. Gimme a break! Some of this stuff is not that hard to pick up, especially if you've been in IT a few years! But it's so much easier to winnow down the list of candidates on the basis of 'go - no go' tests than to do the hard work of figuring out who has the work ethic and soft skills necessary to getting the job done. Picking up a new skill is not that big of a deal if you've got everything else right. Just because some kid has played around with Java doesn't mean he can handle the responsibility of managing a set of production databases.
5/5/2003 11:37:00 AM:
Anonymous wrote:
Thats totally garbage, the latest industry trend is all that counts. If the job requires that you know cisco or microsoft. Knowing IDNX and Unix will get you nowhere and thats the way it should be. Just because a person is young doesn't mean he cant handle the responsibility of managing a set of production databases. Thats why some of the most successful CEO's are some of the youngest. ie b.gates, etc..

5/6/2003 8:01:00 AM
Frustrated from Chigo wrote:
And just because a person is older doesn't mean they can't learn new technologies, which is the prejudice you'll probably have to deal with sooner than you think, youngin. As for young people being able to handle responsibility without the benefit of experience, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, etc., are exceptions, not the rule. That's why most second lieutenants are in their early 20s and most generals are over 50. Same goes for trend-chasing punks like you and CEOs.

Thu, May 15, 2003 Michael Domingo Irvine, CA

Putnam, good question! I dunno and I'm having our Webmaster check into it.

Fri, May 9, 2003 Putnam Boston

What happened to the postings disagreeing with Dian's premise?

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