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Sysadmin Pay Type Survey Results

11.29.2011
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I promised an update with the information that I received from my survey of pay types, and here it is.

This post was originally authored by Matt Simmons, the Standalone Sysadmin


Over the past several days, I received 567 responses from people, both in the United States and around the world. The law that we were discussing was relevant only to the United States, so I’m going to give the stats with the international visitors at the end.

From the US, there were 489 responses. Here’s how they break out:

Hourly or Salary?
Hourly   125 26%
Salary   359 73%
Other   5 1%
About what percent of the time do you receive any overtime pay?
0%   370 76%
1-25%   74 15%
25-50%   10 2%
50-75%   9 2%
75-99%   12 2%
100%   13 3%
International visitors accounted for almost 16% of the total responses, with 9% of the 78 international responses indicating that they were hourly. All of this is interesting to me. Where I thought that pretty much all sysadmins were salary and wouldn’t be affected by the CPU Act, in reality a quarter of us will likely be affected. One of the things that I didn’t ask (both because I wanted to limit the scope of the survey and because I don’t have the means to do it correctly) was ask for pay, both hourly and wage, because in the end, that’s really going to be the defining line if  this bill passes. Lets look at the law as written and compare it to the CPU act:

(17) any employee who is a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer, or other similarly skilled worker, whose primary duty is—

(A) the application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software, or system functional specifications;

(B) the design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing, or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications;

(C) the design, documentation, testing, creation, or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or

(D) a combination of duties described in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) the performance of which requires the same level of skills, and

who, in the case of an employee who is compensated on an hourly basis, is compensated at a rate of not less than $27.63 an hour.


And the law as the CPU act would have it (with the differences highlighted in red):

(17) any employee working in a computer or information technology occupation (including, but not limited to, work related to computers, information systems, components, networks, software, hardware, databases, security, internet, intranet, or websites) as an analyst, programmer, engineer, designer, developer, administrator, or other similarly skilled worker, whose primary duty is-

(A) the application of systems, network or database analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine or modify hardware, software, network, database, or system functional specifications;

(B) the design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing, securing, configuration, integration, debugging, modification of computer or information technology, or enabling continuity of systems and applications;

(C) directing the work of individuals performing duties described in subparagraph (A) or (B), including training such individuals or leading teams performing such duties; or

(D) a combination of duties described in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C), the performance of which requires the same level of skill;

who is compensated at an hourly rate of not less than $27.63 an hour or who is paid on a salary basis at a salary level as set forth by the Department of Labor in part 541 of title 29, Code of Federal Regulations. An employee described in this paragraph shall be considered an employee in a professional capacity pursuant to paragraph (1)


It’s pretty obvious what most of these changes are doing, but a couple are pretty subtle.

Clearly, the authors of the bill feel like there are some…uhh…loopholes, in the current law which are letting some IT workers through the noose. They seem to particularly have it in for network and database administrators, although if you pay attention in paragraph C, even the trainers and team leads are drawn in.

Basically, anyone operates things in IT and works for wages and gets over $27.63/hour is going to be affected by this bill.

My initial response when I read this was “Why would anyone want to do this? Especially a lawmaker?” – Clearly the lawmakers aren’t in it for themselves since most of them barely know how to work their webcams well enough to proposition interns, which means something else must be causing this.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to do the digging. Someone else did it for me.

The sponsor is Kay Hagan (North Carolina Senator). Listed in her Top 20 contributors are companies like Bank of America, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Time Warner. The cosponsors are Michael Bennet (Comcast, Qwest, DISH Network, Level 3, Time Warner), Michael Enzi (Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and John Isakson (Home Depot, Delta, AFLAC, Cox, Citigroup, & GE). So, you know,  no one that would be interested in lowering their IT costs a bit. If anyone knows where I could get numbers based on what percentage of employees at those companies are wage versus salary, I’d like to see them.

So what do I think? I think that they want to eliminate the ability of IT workers to get overtime pay, regardless of how much we work. What do you think?

Source: http://www.standalone-sysadmin.com/blog/2011/11/update-on-pay-type-survey/