Salaries rise as storage grows


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The new value of benefits

Storage professional Troy Downing began job hunting in a tough economy, just as his employer of 13 years was being acquired. Within a month of searching, Downing landed a position at Rain and Hail L.L.C. in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has been a member of a two-person storage team for the last two years. Today, Downing earns a smaller base salary than he did at his longtime employer, but his top-notch benefits package makes up for the difference.

"Maybe my base pay doesn't look as good, but our [healthcare payments] are zero. Zero. There's no premium," Downing explained. "Knowing what I was paying in the past … that's worth $12,000."

Downing's new benefits plan means that he pays only a small fee for office co-pays, and there's no healthcare withdrawal from his paycheck. He also has a flex spending account of $1,200 to offset costs that aren't otherwise covered.

With the rising cost of healthcare at the center of national debates, many storage professionals said they're placing greater emphasis on their benefits than before.

However, satisfaction with overall benefits packages dipped in 2009 vs. 2008. In 2009, 64% of respondents rated their company benefits as good, very good or excellent vs. 73% last year. And in 2009, more

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of our respondents reported working at companies that reduced benefits. In 2008, 18% said their benefits packages were reduced vs. 30% in 2009, reflecting a widespread trend at companies looking to keep their doors open and their margins appealing to Wall Street.

"A lot of my friends in town took pay cuts -- a lot of mandatory pay cuts," Downing said. "Watching that, I feel fortunate I ended up where I ended up."

Expanding storage, bigger paycheck

For Downing, another draw in changing jobs was the opportunity to work on server and storage virtualization projects. "I'd like my two primary focuses to be storage and virtualization," he said. At Rain and Hail, Downing is also part of a dedicated, albeit small, storage team, which is a selling point for many of our respondents who said they believe dedicated storage teams are essential to a company understanding the overall value of storage.

In general, the likelihood of having a dedicated storage team increases with the size of the company, according to our survey. At companies with revenue of less than $50 million, only 20% of our respondents reported having a dedicated storage group in place. At companies with revenue between $501 million and $1 billion, that number rose to 34.7%. And a whopping 68% of companies with revenue ranging between $5.1 billion and $10 billion had dedicated storage teams, which suggests that larger companies may be putting more emphasis on and committing more resources to their storage systems.

This was first published in December 2009

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