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iSeries salaries make modest gains

Salaries for iSeries pros may be up, but the increases won't have anyone hootin' and hollerin' come review time. Then again, in this economy, a small raise is better than nothing, and it sure beats being out of work.

While concerns over the need for iSeries skills simmer, a new report suggests that iSeries professionals are valued and it's reflected in salary gains for nearly every job title, including directors, managers and programmers, even though the increases are smaller than in some recent years.

Recovery slow for iSeries job market

Salary growth slows as economy softens

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Nate Viall and Associates
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According to a new report from Nate Viall and Associates, a Des Moines, Iowa-based iSeries research and recruiting firm, salaries for iSeries managers are up 5.2% from 2001. By title, most increases were 2.5% to 5.5%. The smallest increases were for technical and network support managers, up just 2.8% and 1.4%. By location, large urban managers reported the largest increase, up 6.4% and $16,100 ahead of rural managers who reported 5.8%. The largest increases went to AS/400 directors, up 6.3. Female managers gained ground -- up 5.8%.

The findings in this report differ slightly from the results of a recent Search400 poll where 39% of the respondents said their most recent raise was less than 5%, while 35% reported a freeze on raises at their companies. However, 23% said they received a raise higher than 5%.

According to Nate Viall, principal at Nate Viall and Associates, the key words are economy and demand. Salary increases (but few salaries) are trending downward, in line with the national economy.

"Our report outlines core economic trends such as stock indexes, consumer spending and the rebound in GDP, all factors that influence salaries," said Viall.

A key benchmark for salaries is the Consumer Price Index, the basis for many cost-of-living adjustments. This index dropped to 0.9% for all 2001 and is currently just 1.6% annually. Most of the reported increases occurred before Sept. 11 and were part of an asset adjustment or reevaluation that took place during 2001.

"So far, very few employed iSeries staffers have reported salary cuts at their current companies.

Grim news for junior-level workers

The recession triggered the well-publicized increase in unemployment, including layoffs in the telecom, dot-com and broader IT markets, said Viall. Campus recruiting and starting salaries are down. For the iSeries platform, junior-level hiring is now down 86% from its peak in late 1998.

"This has important implications when the market turns upward again and is a partial indicator of overall iSeries market demand," said Viall.

Although companies are hiring, said Viall, it's very selective. Surprisingly, iSeries pros were still getting bonuses.

In addition, the aging shift first reported in mid-2000 continues and has grown by as much as two years on some measures. It accounts for part of the reported salary increases for both managers and developers.

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