Reeling in a bigger salary


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High-paid storage guy

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Salary: $130-150K
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Industry: Financial services
Company size: 5,000-15,000 employees
IT experience: 20 years
Direct storage experience: 10 years
Manages: approximately 250TB
Manages: approximately 50 people

A bump in the numbers
Enough generalities. How much should you be making?

The average annual salary in 2003 was $77,554, which represented a modest gain over the 2002 average of $74,106 (See Figure 6). This increase is encouraging in light of the difficult economic environment that exists in IT, according to both storage professionals and recruiters. The gains, however, are not felt everywhere.

"Salaries have been frozen here for three years," reports Keith Leahy, manager of storage architecture for a large financial services firm in Florida. In addition, the firm has experienced staffing cutbacks during the same period. An improvement in the company's 2003 third-quarter earnings, however, is raising the hopes of the storage team. "Maybe we'll see a little bump in 2004," he adds.

NY-based IT recruiter Roy Lewis finds himself in a similar situation. "My first and second quarters were lousy this year," he says. None of his clients were hiring storage professionals or any IT professionals. However, "the third quarter picked up, and the fourth quarter is looking better, too," he adds. "People are starting to hire again." Overall, the survey responses reflected improved expectations.

The anticipated salary for 2004, on average, is $81,161, yet job security is still a concern. One storage professional confirmed that he would receive a 3% raise in 2004--the standard amount in his large company--but he noted that layoffs are likely, because of increased storage management automation.

To some extent, companies are augmenting salaries through bonuses and stock options. Respondents reported bonuses averaging $4,167 (5% of total salary) in 2003. That represents a slight increase over 2002, and respondents expect slightly larger bonuses in 2004--the average expected bonus is $4,549 (See Figure 4). However, almost half of the respondents (46%) received no bonus at all in 2003. Nor did most get stock options--80% report that they received no stock options as part of their compensation.

Recruiters aren't surprised by the lack of bonuses and stock options that are being paid to storage professionals. Those kinds of goodies "are tied to corporate objectives. Unless you are in a revenue-producing role, a bonus would be unusual," says Evan Scott, president of Evan Scott Group International, an executive search firm in Philadelphia.

With storage playing a behind-the-scenes infrastructure role, storage professionals will find it difficult to argue that their work directly affects revenue generation. The bonuses and stock options they receive are offered for other reasons, but with a slow economy and a buyer's job market, even those reasons may seem less compelling.

This was first published in December 2003

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