No Doldrums For U.S. Tech Wages

Attention ASIC Design engineers and application developers: You’re having a hot summer of demand for your skills.

SAS programmers? Database administrators? You’re no slouches either if you’re in the market for work.

According to the Yoh Index of Technology Wages, there’s no room for summer doldrums for tech workers so far this year.

So if you think the offshoring trend in the IT industry is depressing the overall wages of tech skills in the U.S., think again. Better yet, think of which skill sets are likely to stay put.

The tech placement firm said wages for high-impact technology professionals in the second quarter of 2006 are outpacing wages from the same time a year ago.

The Yoh Index of Technology Wages results ended the second quarter of 2006 at 106.87. The firm indexes that number to January 2001 (1/2001 = 100), and said that means wages for highly-skilled technology workers had increased 1.7 percent by the second quarter of 2006, compared to the same quarter in 2005. Fortune 500 companies often use the index to determine salary scales.

Overall, the index data found continued strength in tech wages and said wages for “high-impact” technology professionals during the second quarter of this year surpassed 2005 averages.

ASIC Design engineers and application developers are averaging about $89 and $59 an hour respectively, according to Yoh’s data.

“The product development guys, those that work with marketing teams on the best way to make a widget [or hot consumer device even],” that’s always in demand, said Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing for Yoh.

“Web tools, the high-end Java guys, folks that specialize in [Microsoft’s]  platform,” the new technologies and products in those places are also in demand, he added.

Right now, a hot spot to shop your tech talents is in the pharmaceutical industry.

“Clinical research associates make sure customers are safe and need a strong knowledge of tech in order to get their work done,” Lanzalotto said.

Word to the wise on tech skills.

Lanzalotto said commoditized roles in IT and tech skills drive offshoring decisions: help desk services, for example.

The value-add to the company on those jobs can be considered minimal in the business calculus of those decisions. That said, some companies are reversing that trend, too, such as bringing their call centers back to closer shores after shipping them offshore.

Still, the higher the skill level and the more seasoned one is with higher impact skills, such as anything around ERP  and project management, the better the prospects on wage increases.

“It’s not unusual for wages in general to follow slow spring and summer hiring trends, but technology wages still held on strong and continue to surpass pay from 2005,” he added. “We should keep an eye out for more competitive wages to come from a hungry marketplace in the fall and winter of 2006.”

The high-impact jobs in greatest demand nationwide during the second quarter of 2006 are broken out by average hourly pay rates:

  • ASIC Design Engineer: $89.16

  • Application Developer: $58.18

  • Clinical Research Associate: $47.77

  • Database Administrator: $69.36

  • Drug Safety Specialist: $47.42

  • ERP Functional Consultant: $78.78

  • ERP Technical Consultant: $85.77

  • Network Engineer: $46.12

  • Project Manager: $60.80

  • SAS Programmer: $53.16

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