Salary Survey Extra: A deeper look at salary satisfaction
Posted on
January 5, 2018

Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

How satisfied are you with your IT salary?

As we revealed in the January issue of Certification Magazine, Mick Jagger isn’t the only one who can’t get no satisfaction. (Does Mick still sing that one at Stones concerts? Are Stones concerts still a thing? Is Mick still alive? Is this thing on?) We haven’t asked about salary satisfaction in past salary surveys, but we changed that this year.

Thanks to that change, we were able to include in the magazine that 27.7 percent of survey respondents are not very satisfied with their current income level, while 7 percent are not all satisfied. (The 7 percenters are the ones who, like Mick, can’t — you see where this is going.) Everyone else was either completely satisfied (6.3 percent of respondents), very satisfied (17.5 percent), or plain old satisfied (41.5 percent).

If we look beyond the black-or-white breakdown — 65.3 percent = some level of yea vs. 34.7 percent = some level of nay — however, there are some interesting ways to further dissect salary satisfaction. For example:

All U.S. Respondents
Completely Satisfied — 8.6 percent
Very Satisfied — 22.8 percent
Satisfied — 43.3 percent
Not very satisfied — 20.5 percent
Not At All Satisfied — 4.8 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Completely Satisfied — 3.3 percent
Very Satisfied — 11.1 percent
Satisfied — 39.2 percent
Not very satisfied — 36.7 percent
Not At All Satisfied — 9.7 percent

Clearly, certified IT professionals in the United States are likelier to be some degree of satisfied with their compensation than their compatriots abroad. The numbers of IT professionals in both groups who are “satisfied” are comparable. On either side of that middle ground, however, there’s a pronounced difference, with greater overall dissatisfaction brewing outside the United States.

You might also argue that certified IT professionals who are nearing the end of their working years are likely to have larger salaries than younger workers and therefore be more satisfied. We can look at that as well:

All U.S. Respondents

Age / Salary Satisfaction Completely Satisfied Very Satisfied Satisfied Not Very Satisfied Not At All Satisfied Percentage of all respondents in this age group
18 or younger N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
19 to 24 6.4 percent 35.1 percent 36.4 percent 14.3 percent 7.8 percent 1.2 percent
25 to 34 3.9 percent 17.5 percent 36.4 percent 35.7 percent 6.5 percent 13.6 percent
35 to 44 8 percent 26.3 percent 43.9 percent 20.4 percent 4.1 percent 27.8 percent
45 to 54 8.1 percent 22.9 percent 46.7 percent 17.6 percent 4.6 percent 30.6 percent
55 to 64 11.3 percent 25.2 percent 43.2 percent 16.5 percent 3.8 percent 23.6 percent
64 to 74 20.6 percent 15 percent 38.2 percent 14.4 percent 11.8 percent 3 percent
75 or older N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

2018 Survey Data

So there’s a blip on the radar with our small group of U.S. respondents ages 19 to 24: Those folks are impressively satisfied with their compensation. It could be because they have fewer expenditures, being at an age where many, if not most, are likely to be single and supporting only themselves. Maybe it’s because they aren’t generally familiar with the industry and don’t yet have strong opinions about what constitutes a fair salary.

Beyond idly speculating, however, there is a clear trend of satisfaction increasing, while dissatisfaction decreases, that kicks in with respondents ages 25 to 34 and runs through the entire survey population from there. So it does seem to be generally true that as certified IT professionals get older, and presumably become both more skilled and experienced — and are hence more valuable and likely better paid — they become generally more satisfied with their earnings.

All Non-U.S. Respondents

Age / Salary Satisfaction Completely Satisfied Very Satisfied Satisfied Not Very Satisfied Not At All Satisfied Percentage of all respondents in this age group
18 or younger N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
19 to 24 2.5 percent 5.3 percent 19.5 percent 51.9 percent 20.8 percent 8.6 percent
25 to 34 3 percent 7.2 percent 35.9 percent 42 percent 11.9 percent 38.8 percent
35 to 44 2 percent 13.3 percent 43.5 percent 34.9 percent 6.3 percent 33.6 percent
45 to 54 5.2 percent 17.2 percent 48.5 percent 22.4 percent 6.7 percent 14.9 percent
55 to 64 11.4 percent 20 percent 42.8 percent 22.8 percent 3 percent 3.9 percent
64 to 74 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
75 or older N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

2018 Survey Data

When it comes to being Not Very Satisfied and Not At All Satisfied, the younger workers here are much more frustrated than their U.S. counterparts. And actually, there’s a strong core of Not Very Satisfied workers at every age level here. High levels of satisfaction, where they do exist, are most prominent among the oldest workers, just as in the United States. Youth and beauty, it would seem, still hasn’t cracked the code on how to defeat old age and treachery.

There are a couple of other ways the would be interest to slice things up here, so we’ll probably have more to say about this topic in next week’s Salary Survey Extra. Stay tuned.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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