Salaries rise as storage grows


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Downing has seen storage capacity double to just under a petabyte in the last 18 months, growing at a rate of approximately 10% to 15% a year. Repeating a trend that appeared in our 2008 survey, the current survey showed storage salaries

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growing as installed storage capacity does.

Those who managed between 1 TB and 9 TB had an average salary of $73,646, while the average salary for those who managed between 10 TB and 99 TB spiked to $82,666. Above 500 TB, the average salary jumped to $104,441. Survey respondents who reported no storage capacity growth in 2009 received average salaries of $82,250. For those whose shops experienced capacity growth of 10% to 40%, there were incremental salary increases. Above 40% growth, however, there was a more significant rise: respondents at companies whose storage grew between 41% and 50% reported average salaries of $91,588 vs. $84,226 for those at firms with storage growth between 31% to 40%.

When it comes to salaries and company size, our 2009 survey revealed that only storage professionals at the very largest of companies -- those with more than $10 billion in revenue -- saw any dramatic increases. Those who worked at companies with revenue of $10 billion and beyond reported average salaries of $99,588 -- nearly $3,000 higher than last year's average for this group.


Click here to view a PDF of the 2009 Storage Salary Survey by the numbers.


Commutes, kids and job security

At a time when many retirement funds are dwindling, Eric Hess, a 35-year-old operations engineer at the College of American Pathologists in Northfield, Ill., said his 401(k) is a key factor in his job satisfaction.

The non-profit organization contributes 15% of each employee's total pay into a 401(k) every six months, regardless of whether the employee is also contributing. That 401(k) benefit, Hess said, "is probably the most valued out of the college." While Hess' healthcare premiums didn't rise last year, he said, they have doubled since he arrived at the college approximately seven years ago.

Hess is a member of the newly formed work-life balance committee at the college. "They want to know if any team members are dissatisfied," Hess said of the committee, which consists of eight people and meets periodically to field employee requests and address employee concerns.

Echoing a sentiment expressed by many of our respondents, Hess said storage technology keeps him engaged and committed. "From the time I have been here -- the last 7 years -- we've gone to 1 Gig switches to 8 Gig switches. That shows you the growth and the potential that has happened," he said.

Jeffrey Lawrence, a contractor and senior systems engineer at the Asymmetric Warfare Group at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, recently accepted a position at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Married with five children ranging in age from one to 19, Lawrence is looking forward to the stability of a government job.

Lawrence took rising gas prices and a shorter commute into account. The annual salary at his new job will be lower than his current contract rate. However, Lawrence, 39, will be commuting on the train and the government provides a $250 monthly stipend for employees who use public transportation.

Heading into 2010, the key factor driving Lawrence is job security, he said. "As a civilian contractor, it's a very vulnerable time," he said. "But now that I'm going to the government side I feel a lot safer. That's a major factor for me."

BIO: Ellen O'Brien is the senior editor at Storage magazine and site editor for SearchStorage.com and SearchStorage.co.UK. Rachel Kossman is a student intern/editorial assistant at TechTarget.

This was first published in December 2009

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