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Salary growth slows as economy softens

Economic forces affect all industries, though high-tech pros aren't hit as hard.

Few iSeries 400 professionals should consider themselves recession-proof, says Iowa-based recruiting firm Nate Viall and Associates (NVAA). The firm's 2001 iSeries (AS/400)/ PC Salary Survey Report finds programmers' salaries up only 3.9% in the past year. Earnings for midlevel programmers actually dropped 2%.

The news is better for tech support staff and systems administrators: The ongoing IT labor shortage pushed their earnings up 8.5%. But NVAA president Nate Viall warns that no industry, or region, can resist global economic forces.

Viall is especially wary of "any industry that has a large amount of debt where a downturn in orders will quickly cut into profits." Businesses that depend heavily on electricity and natural gas, and those on the West Coast and the Northeast, are especially vulnerable.

Many companies continue to implement e-commerce initiatives, however, and reward those with new technology skills. And Viall finds some old dogs learning new tricks: In some job categories, experienced programmers are learning Java at a faster rate than junior coders.

To find out where you stand in the new economy, you can order a free individual salary analysis from NVAA. Visit, or send a blank e-mail, with "Free Salary Analysis" as the subject, to You can also purchase regional and state salary reports by visiting the NVAA Web site or by calling 515-274-1729.

And visit search400's Career Center for job listings and the results of our ongoing Interactive Salary Survey.

Has economic uncertainty got you seeking higher ground? Write to us, and let us know how you plan to get there.

Baard is a contributing editor in Milton, Mass.

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