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back to article CIOs get £170k but helpdesk staffers settle for £6/hr

A survey of fifteen of the most popular technology job titles reveals salaries for both permanent and contractor positions around the UK. Bottom of the list is the helpdesk with starting salaries of £18,000 or contractor jobs from £7 an hour, or just £6 in Scotland. But high salaries go up to £36,000 in London or £32,000 in …

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Anonymous Coward

Cushy

£7 per hour for reading from a checklist and pissing off end users that know more than you isn't at all bad.

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Flame

And...

...what about Senior/Junior Application/Web Developers?

Left out some key demographics there El Reg...

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"the" southwest...?

" In the South-West you can expect to do even worse as an IT director "

The southwest of what? England? Scotland? Wales? The UK? It pays to be clear when you're talking stats.

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The top salaries *are* worth it.

Not necessarily because the individual who hold the position actually makes the organisation that much more profit (although as they are the only individuals in positions of pivotal decision-making, very fews others have the authority to decide on the directions that make or lose the corporate millions or billions).No. these people get paid a lot to incentivise the people below them.The reward of the "lower ranks" for the hard work and long hours they put in, is that one day - if they stick at it long/hard enough, is that they'll get the top paying job and then become the figurehead who spends all day "working" with other executives, on the golf course.

People seem to think that getting and keeping high paying jobs is about talent - if you've good enough, you'll be rewarded. Those people are wrong: to get the best paying jobs involves putting in more than the 9 - 5, 5 days a week. The promotions and pay rises are rewards for 60-hour weeks, working weekends and evenings. Taking work home and spending time away from home improving the company's profits. Oh yes, and having the dependability to not rush off and abandon a piece of work 'cos little Jonny's developed a runny nose (or other orifices).

You can either have a work-life balance, or you can go for the money. It's a free country, make your choices.

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Shurely Shome Mishtake?

I keep seeing a TV advert that says you can go on a 15-day course. It also says the average salary is something like £36,000 "for an IT professional". Are these two facts related? I think we should be told.

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I wish I got £18k for my helpdesk job

More like £12.5k. Clearly your information gathering doesn't consider me a proper IT worker.

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Thumb Up

"The Southwest of what?"

The Southwest of England, dear chap.

That is where this illustrious site hails from. If it were talking about the southwest of wales, scotland, the USA or other colonies or foreign parts, I think they would have had the decency to mention it.

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WTF?

Not just IT that's dodgy

A recent job advert for JobCenterPlus recruitment stated, quite clearly, that people who worked at the Brighton Job Centre would get more money than those working at any of the other Job Centres in East or West Sussex.

So civil servants doing the same work less than 10 miles apart get paid differently... is Brighton really /that/ bad, or is that where the Directors live?

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Big Brother

@The Indomitable Gall

If you really wanted people to know what you're talking about, you wouldn't be using stats in the first place.

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Pint

Higher positioned roles paid more

So, more senior positions give you more money. Niche skilled roles have a greater potential for high salary.

Did they actually need to do a survey for this? Or knock it up themselves in the pub. I know what I'd have done.

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Pint

@Jolyon Ralph

"the USA or other colonies"..

Such subtlety.

Perfect.

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Linux

It's true!

That is, the old aphorism about lies, damned lies and statistics.

£7 an hour for me translates to about £14K, and my company (like I'm going to tell you the name) is known as one of the lowest-paying in the industry, save Crap-Gemini.

Oh, and incidentally, not all firstline helpdesks are filled with checklist readers. Mine's filled with utterly perverted IT workers.

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Coat

Compare to other industries

A starting teacher will get £20,000 (25 in London), which may rise to £60,000 or so for the head of an Inner London primary and £100,000 for a handful of heads of large secondary schools.

A nurse starts at £15,000 and is unlikely to ever get over £50,000 and even that would be for a matron ( yes they do apparently exist, they're called Modern Matrons now).

So sitting on an IT desk and saying;

"Have you switched it on and off again?, You have, Oh well you'll have to reinstall windows then". Doesn't seem too bad.

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@Pete 2

My good god. I hope your not a manager. You do realise doing that it illigal don't you?

That would be the reason Women don't get to the top of professions as much as men. Idiots like you that think time=work.

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@ Pete 2

When what they're actually doing is sitting around surfing the Internet and talking the right kind of management bullshit that's in vogue at the moment. The high paid jobs are all given by arseholes to other arseholes that they're friends with. Nobody actually gets to work their way up from the bottom unless they can talk shit for England and are fucking incompetent at actual work...

Can't say I've seen any of my managers doing a shred of useful work in my life...

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@Paul 4

> That would be the reason Women don't get to the top of professions as much as men

Apparently not. (anyway, I said nothing gender-specific). The point is that high paying jobs are the rewards for putting in the work. Look again at what I said - there's a phrase: " ... improving the conmpany's profits ..." that's the key. Obviously the more time a talented worker spends working the greater the contributions they will make, hence higher rewards. I had hoped that would have been obvious, and I wouldn't have to spell it out. Apparently not.

If yo really want to talk about pay-gaps, which is straying WAY off topic, read this piece from the FT

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/a8ab2872-1779-11de-8c9d-0000779fd2ac.html

Apart from the observation that “Men want power enough to hang on to it and women don’t want it enough to make them let go.” (this observation by Lucy Kellaway - I'm not saying I hold to it though), the piece considers the reasons why women tend to earn less and don't get as many top jobs as men can be summed up as:

"Far more important was what happened when children came along. If you look only at promotions and earnings, childless women are all but indistinguishable from men."

Which gave rise to my closing comment about freedom and choice.

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@Pete 2

I agree with your statement re. women, it's true that they do tend to "damage" (for want of a better word) their promotability by getting pregnant.

But as for "improving the company's profits" in my experience that's more like "taking credit for improving the company's profits". I don't deny that if you are hard-working, talented and put in the extra effort that it *may* help to get you promoted/more money, but the reality is that in many cases, it just leaves you tired. And the fuckstick that plays golf with the CEO or wears a better suit and talks better bullshit, gets the promotion.

That's not just unqualified cynicism though; many smaller companies take the wrong road of keeping their top performers trapped where they are (because they are so good at their jobs) because they are afraid of losing their skills when that person moves up the ladder. So instead of putting someone who can motivate and inspire the people below them because they actually know what they're talking about, they put in the guy who sucks at his job.

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Comments

@ El Reg

"But high salaries go up to £36,000 in London or £32,000 in Scotland or £31 and £29 an hour respectively."

One's salary is roughly 2000 times one's hourly rate (40 hours per week * 50 weeks per year). That's one lazy bunch of people they've surveyed.

@ Pete 2

"The point is that high paying jobs are the rewards for putting in the work."

Yeah? Really? Ever been an NED who gets £50,000 a year for 10 hours work? No? You're not near enough the top of the pole to accurately survey the terrain.

" ... improving the conmpany's profits ..."

It can therefore be argued (and has been argued in many companies I've worked for) that sales salaries should be ten times technical salaries. If you have aggressive sales people and a shit product you'll still bring in the money. Sales: no skill, no talent, little work, and usually revolving around a little network of wide-boys who trade clients with each other for purely personal (and not company) gain. With apologies to El Reg Sales.

"Obviously the more time a talented worker spends working the greater the contributions they will make"

Not necessarily. So your "obviously" shows an inability to think clearly. Clocked hours, hours spent actually working, work produced and revenue created are all different, and that is why your arguments are so muddled.

How much are _you_ actually _costing_ your company?

"Which gave rise to my closing comment about freedom and choice."

Yeah, and if we were all actually free to choose more life than work (and many, many people would) ... your house of cards would come tumbling down. Since people at the top rely on (feed off) those at the bottom, perhaps they should redistribute their wealth a bit more instead of dropping £10,000 on a bottle of whisky.

"anyway, I said nothing gender-specific"

No, you just chose an example that was suspiciously redolent of many male managers' attitudes towards female staff. You could have chosen a more general example of less than fully committed staff, but you chose that one.

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@John Dee

"It can therefore be argued (and has been argued in many companies I've worked for) that sales salaries should be ten times technical salaries. If you have aggressive sales people and a shit product you'll still bring in the money. Sales: no skill, no talent, little work, and usually revolving around a little network of wide-boys who trade clients with each other for purely personal (and not company) gain. With apologies to El Reg Sales."

I agree with a lot you say, but the above paragraph is just fucking crazy. Maybe you're from sales and marketing or whatever but I hate to break it to you but sales is basically lying. People don't get sold things unleess they've been conned, people buy things, the "sales" person is completely irrelevant. That's why companies like MFI go bankrupt, they start thinking it's all about the sales, then when everyone catches on that the product is shit it doesn't matter how good the sales person is, nothing can save them. Probably the best money spinning places to be are where there's no "product" and all you're doing is "selling" something abstract. There are plent of knobs out there to buy bullshit and no way they can measure the quality.

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Anonymous Coward

The real problem

The problem isn't that of wages or pay gaps. The problem is with incompetent managers surrounding themselves by uneducated arsehole gobshites who know even less than they do but by virtue of that tend to question things less. This makes said manager feel vindicated and often becomes self-propagating.

Try having a proven track record in four separate Engineering disciplines along with a vocabulary of more than 20 words AND the intelligence to use them and then some halfwit who left school with no qualifications suddenly outranks you.

I'm not bitter or twisted and I remain philosophical about it. I have my self-respect. Others have brown noses and a working life where they'll taste nothing but shit. I hope they like the taste.

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Anonymous Coward

@pete2

Hmm if you are so talented and clever what are you doing posting on El Reg on a Friday morning? Best make sure you don't piss off your IT support too, they can leave all sorts of nasties on your hard drive.

.

Personally I think you can keep your 60 hour weeks, working weekends and holidays. go look up the parable of the railroad engineer and the hammer.

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Paris Hilton

People don't get what they deserve. They get what they negotiate.

People don't get what they deserve. They get what they negotiate.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Richard 120

"I agree with a lot you say, but the above paragraph is just fucking crazy. "

You're probably right. :o)

"Maybe you're from sales and marketing or whatever but I hate to break it to you but sales is basically lying"

Hang on ... I can't work out whether you actually agree with me or not ... !?

My dislike for sales is based on a few years spent watching them operate in the communications sector. There was a hell of a lot of deception going on to the extent that it really was lying. I know it was lying because I had data in one hand and sales bumpf in the other.

I guess you're taking exception to my remark that "[i]f you have aggressive sales people and a shit product you'll still bring in the money." I stand by that remark. I think it is evidenced by the sheer amount of crap that's out there and being bought.

"when everyone catches on that the product is shit"

But how long did it take in the case of MFI? They were a national joke for years, and still people bought their product. It takes a lot of anti-sales to bring a sales-oriented company down and how much money is made by the cheap suits in the meantime? Enough for many of them to demand and get big raises and bonuses. By the time the company is failing they've moved off elsewhere, which is why _I_ think sales people should get a 10th the salary of technical people. With apologies to El Reg Sales.

"There are plent of knobs out there to buy bullshit and no way they can measure the quality."

To a greater or lesser extent, we are all knobs who buy bullshit. Look at every single thing you have bought, and ask yourself "In all honesty, why did I buy that"? There's a lot of science that goes into developing sales and advertising techniques (if you consider psychology a science) and we're all guilty of being conned at some point or other. I agree with Martin Gardner that smart, scientific types are often more vulnerable than most, believing themselves to be immune and having few natural defences.

Anyways, we both agree that sales is a con, but you seem to have a bit more faith in and respect for your fellow human then I do. Would that be a fair way of putting it?

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Anonymous Coward

Could be worse

The biggest problem in the IT industry these days is the damn CEOs and CIOs want lots on incoming money, but they dont want to spend money to make sure service is good enough.

Then they wonder why customers are leaving.

The company I work as a remote technician (I am based in the USA) for a webhosting company who are also based in the USA that have been firing a lot of techs lately, and theres rumors of money trouble.

However, it appears that with the average USA based tech making $20000/yr (starting base), they are actually hiring poeple from thailand at approx $5000/yr. For ever tech that gets fired, they get 2 from thailand. This means that the company saves $10k per year, probably going into ceo pockets.

Unfortunantly, these techs take 2 months to train (compared to 1/4 of the time for a US based worker) for first line support.

After the 2 months of training, the thailand techs still can't handle tickets.

For example, they will get a ticket sayig "I cant send email through webmail" , they read the "cant send email" and send our standard reply for users who are having issues using mail clients such as outlook or mac mail. (Usually when this occurs, its because ISP is blocking port 25).

Of course the reply has absolutely nothing to do with the users issue, since webmail has nothing to do with a mail client.

Oh, and they expect us to spend less then 5 minutes on a ticket. This really isnt enough time to check the users account info, let alone start resolving an issue.

In the past 2 years, I have seen the level of support given to users drop considerably due to the stupid choices made by management.

Just waiting to get fired.

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Its the real world

I am always surprised at peoples reactions to this type of research. Unfortunately organisations have "pay bands" and brackets, so if your good at your job you may still only earn the same as a collegue who is shockingly bad. Unfortunately thats life, not just in IT.

Obviously were your business is located will also have an effect on your wage, aswell as other factors, such as your companies size (ability to pay more), size of customers, size of contracts, your responsibilities etc etc etc.

My own company pays purely on performance and ability. If we have a great help desk worker who works hard, fixes lots of issues he will always get paid more and be up for promotions compared to those who dont perform as well or those we feel dont have as much knowledge or ability to learn more. The key is to ensure you can monitor performance well enough...

Finally noticed some responses with regards to women. I think that women often work a lot harder than men (in general not always obviously) and they are more often than not, more disciplined in their working. In many cases I am sure women work harder than men just to get the same recognition, unfortunately too many in IT see this industry as a very male orientated one....its simply wrong...

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@ Keith T

"People don't get what they deserve. They get what they negotiate."

Unless you work at the place that I do and you fall under an agreement of non-negotiation; for pay, conditions, notification & consultation (for redundancy etc.) But you don't find that out until you receive your contract of employment. Still this job fulfils a need for now.. another year or two here then I can move on.

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@ Pete2

"Obviously the more time a talented worker spends working the greater the contributions they will make, hence higher rewards. I had hoped that would have been obvious, and I wouldn't have to spell it out. Apparently not."

This is, in fact, not only not obvious, but totally incorrect.

The best workers (Particularly on IT helpdesks) are the ones who quickly resolve a problem, and are free to move on to the next. The best people can be more effective in two hours than a typical worker is in eight, and than a poor worker is in twelve.

You correctly note that those who put in a twelve hour day are more likely to be promoted than those who put in four or five hours of actual work, spend three or four hours a day drinking coffee and surfing el Reg, and piss off home on time (or even early).

My team of five consists of four people who are good at their jobs, and who go home on time (except during genuine emergencies); plus one who, through their own incompetence, has to work back two or three hours every day, despite having less workload than the rest (because when we finish our work, we help with theirs).

Who will get the promotion? Who SHOULD get the promotion?

Your assessment of the way in which promotions are assigned is touchingly naive, and would no doubt be lovely in an ideal world. Unfortunately the world is much less than ideal, precisely because it is full of fools who actually believe this kind of bullshit - and even think that it is 'obvious'

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Welcome

Haha

I wish I got even 12K a year for my 5 days a week, in fact I'm working the weekend to get a little extra cash. Hopefully it's all to come.

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@Keith T

Too true.

AC 3August: You negotiated too. You signed up! Negotiate with your feet and walk out if you don't like the deal.

Negotiation is primarily a sales job.

Everyone knows you're nice and helpful. What you need to do is have hard verifiable numbers that you've contributed directly to the bottom line. That's what good sales people do and how they earn big dolla.

If your contribution saves the company $5M per year you have a far better negotiating position than being a random cog in the machine.

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WTF?

£10 an hour?!

Would love to know where in the South West Helldeskers earn £10 an hour cos I would work there.

£10/hour is a lot more than the £7.79 (slightly less than £16k pa) that I get. And I use my brain, rather than reading a script.

This survey can be safely disregarded as it has no relation to the reality that I work in.

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