tor

Increasing your Wage

195 posts in this topic

$100 / hr I would think to be low for anyone with 10 yrs experience and the word "security" in their primary skill set. I think most of the contract security coders at the banks I have been through are on more like $120 / hr for long running contracts. Competition is nasty for those jobs though.

I think once you have the 10 yrs experience things change and how good you are starts to become more important, up to there it is just a "length of time" thing. After that the rates start to reflect the skill level (including non core skills like personal marketing).

You might want to try and find what the Dimension Data / EDS types of shops are charging for their guys, then take off 50% to see what they are paying their top contractor guys. If you go direct to the client you will probably charge about 75% of what the DiData / EDS places charge for their guys. An example I am factually aware of (i.e. not just pub talk) is senior guys (10yrs and good) in the integration space are charged out at 225 / hr, full timers get about 80 or 90 of that and contractors get about 120.

Unfortunately unless you are truly a god in the field (and recognised as such by the internet at large) I suspect a city change might mean you have to take a lower paying role to start with and get your name out there. I know sql work which pays well is never advertised, going by roles the recruiters are trying to fill the maximum hourly rate for sql guys is down at 100. Most of my direct work is now via people that have worked with me at one site and contacted me when they move on to another role. Obviously that takes time to build up during which a "pay the bills" job will have to do.

If your "pay the bills" job gets you around and about you obviously speed up the process by meeting and working with more people.

Thanks tor/wim. It sounds encouraging. I don't expect to get top whack initially coming from an APS background. Although I've worked on some pretty high profile projects so I would hope this counts for something. I'd settle for $90/hr initially. Upping the rate is where the difficulty lies I guessing and the reason for tors original topic. I've the resources to survive without work for a significant period but I fancy I could always retreat into the bosom of the APS in harder times. I have runs on the board here and I'm "known" now by those that hire and fire. Do you guys renegotiate at the (successful?) conclusion of each contract?

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Thanks tor/wim. It sounds encouraging. I don't expect to get top whack initially coming from an APS background. Although I've worked on some pretty high profile projects so I would hope this counts for something. I'd settle for $90/hr initially. Upping the rate is where the difficulty lies I guessing and the reason for tors original topic. I've the resources to survive without work for a significant period but I fancy I could always retreat into the bosom of the APS in harder times. I have runs on the board here and I'm "known" now by those that hire and fire. Do you guys renegotiate at the (successful?) conclusion of each contract?

I'm really bad at negotiation. For the most part I like my job. As a contractor I don't have the same level of responsibility as the consultants which is also good. I took a $750 a week pay cut to come back to Melbourne and haven't attempted to renegotiate that in a year and a half. I have considered paying a Tor equivalent to do the negotiation - it's really part of what the recruitment agencies should be doing but don't. I'm unsure of the maximum rate I could charge in my current role. Would probably need to step up to a QA role and take on more to jump to the next level. Realistically I have no desire to aim for project management so expect I'd top out somewhere around the $1500 mark unless I was hired into a really specialised role.

I'm lucky as my contracts are relatively long (this one a year and a half and hopefully as long left) which is good financially and I'm willing to take a small hit for it. Also looks good on the resume that they were willing to keep me on despite the cost. At $90 an hour it should be a given there's a fair bit going on in banking and insurance.

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Do you guys renegotiate at the (successful?) conclusion of each contract?

I'm really bad at negotiation.

Most of my direct work is less than 48 hrs of billable work or an ad hoc support basis. I think they'd be pissed if I renegotiated every few days :)

End of financial year I tend to announce an increase in billable rates if I think it is justified.

Usually I bring a decent set of reasoning to the table though. I throw together a chart of billable hrs for the company for the year, projects worked on and improvements in my monitoring tool (as that is really what most of them are paying for).

For the startups I renegotiate at each phase of the project always including the point at which the next negotiation will take place.

For the "daily bread" contract (which is still about half of my work) I haven't renegotiated in about 3 yrs as I screwed them so badly last time. The time is coming though and I will have to work out where I want that contract to go.

I don't think you can really outsource your negotiations, in the end you have to do it yourself to know what compromises you are willing to make and so on. Once you get the hang of it you will probably find it is enjoyable to a degree. I think many people don't like doing it because they are not good at it and come out of it feeling ripped off. Once you get good enough that you can come out feeling you got a fair deal it becomes a lot more fun.

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Most of my direct work is less than 48 hrs of billable work or an ad hoc support basis. I think they'd be pissed if I renegotiated every few days :)

End of financial year I tend to announce an increase in billable rates if I think it is justified.

Usually I bring a decent set of reasoning to the table though. I throw together a chart of billable hrs for the company for the year, projects worked on and improvements in my monitoring tool (as that is really what most of them are paying for).

For the startups I renegotiate at each phase of the project always including the point at which the next negotiation will take place.

For the "daily bread" contract (which is still about half of my work) I haven't renegotiated in about 3 yrs as I screwed them so badly last time. The time is coming though and I will have to work out where I want that contract to go.

I don't think you can really outsource your negotiations, in the end you have to do it yourself to know what compromises you are willing to make and so on. Once you get the hang of it you will probably find it is enjoyable to a degree. I think many people don't like doing it because they are not good at it and come out of it feeling ripped off. Once you get good enough that you can come out feeling you got a fair deal it becomes a lot more fun.

At this point I've been working for people I know and that I'm friends with. I'm earning more than they are despite being more junior (same experience) by at least 5 years on the org. chart. It would just feel weird although I have started negotiating parts of the contract. I don't spend anywhere near my wage anyway and my rough plan is to try and go part time or work from home in a few years. At this point I've been working on big projects normally a year or two and at least 10M but normally around 50M.

Some of the recruitment companies I have had brief conversations with didn't believe my rate which suggests I'm doing okay. I would definitely up it if I was working out of town or on short term stuff. My negotiation is through a recruitment company and it is legitimate for me to use a management agency who would be in the position of negotiation if they were paid enough.

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At this point I've been working for people I know and that I'm friends with. I'm earning more than they are despite being more junior (same experience) by at least 5 years on the org. chart. It would just feel weird although I have started negotiating parts of the contract. I don't spend anywhere near my wage anyway and my rough plan is to try and go part time or work from home in a few years. At this point I've been working on big projects normally a year or two and at least 10M but normally around 50M.

Some of the recruitment companies I have had brief conversations with didn't believe my rate which suggests I'm doing okay. I would definitely up it if I was working out of town or on short term stuff. My negotiation is through a recruitment company and it is legitimate for me to use a management agency who would be in the position of negotiation if they were paid enough.

Sounds like you are in an unusual situation and it might be valid. What do you do?

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Sounds like you are in an unusual situation and it might be valid. What do you do?

ERP development but within a specific industry sector. I have a highly specialised skill within that industry but can work just within ERP development.

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Bit of a necro.

Interesting article though.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/21/how_to_get_paid_more/

Being seen to be the one who fixes stuff is certainly where it's at. Even better if you weren't the one who broke it in the first place. :D I still look back at things I've written and think I could do it better. Have to stop doing this. It's a waste of time. No one else cares about quality as long as it works within specifications. (If you get any)

I'm getting the opportunities to shine lately. My PM is from private enterprise (ex software business owner) I love the way he puts a stern look on his face when there is a problem in an effort to exert pressure. It's almost as if he thinks it makes a difference to my performance. :laugh:

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Being seen to be the one who fixes stuff is certainly where it's at. Even better if you weren't the one who broke it in the first place. :D I still look back at things I've written and think I could do it better. Have to stop doing this. It's a waste of time. No one else cares about quality as long as it works within specifications. (If you get any)

I'm getting the opportunities to shine lately. My PM is from private enterprise (ex software business owner) I love the way he puts a stern look on his face when there is a problem in an effort to exert pressure. It's almost as if he thinks it makes a difference to my performance. :laugh:

I do a reasonable amount of work for federal people. It took me a long time to work out how to manipulate them. You guys don't have the same system so, as a boss (which I never am), it must be stunningly fun to try and work out the whole thing.

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I do a reasonable amount of work for federal people. It took me a long time to work out how to manipulate them. You guys don't have the same system so, as a boss (which I never am), it must be stunningly fun to try and work out the whole thing.

Yes it is a slightly different game. The wages are largely fixed. I can get a max bonus of 5% for the year. Got it last year. :) The only way forward is promotion. I'm one off the farthest you can go as a techie in the APS. The technical EL2 is the holy grail.

The APS game is more about getting your face known and getting picked for the more interesting projects in your area. Getting invited to the right meetings is crucial. TBH I've spent the last three years with my head down on various projects and have only recently started taking notice of the politics again. But recently I have had more opportunity to rejoin the human race and circulate again. It's a smallish community so after 10 years here the faces are mostly familiar.

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An opportunity has arisen for a contractor role involving my skill set.

Pros:

It's more than double my current wage.

I know the role as I have worked with the team before.

I have the skills

I can ask a good rate and still be cheaper than the incumbent.

It would be a challenging role.

Cons:

The job security is less. The economy is headed south given the latest RBA rate cut. Contractors will be first against the wall in any cutbacks. They have been so far.The job I have is safe even with a major putsch by Abbott or the current government. Single point of failure.

I know the people.

The costs of pimps, super, payroll tax (unless I enrol with a management company that handles 1.4 M or above) is ~7%

The role is currently inhabited by a guy I know and this is a market "test" advertisement only.

The criteria is 80% skills and 20% "value for money".

I need to go high on the initial offer so negotiations won't leave me in a marginal gain situation. The job description is asking for a wish list of skills/platforms/technologies. I have _most_ of them. Talking to the pimp today and she was saying I needed to be aiming for 1.6 times current wage to make it worthwhile. This puts me at 100/hour. I know 130/hour is less than the incumbent. I was thinking of this as the opening salvo with negotiations taking it down to ~120. Should I go higher to ensure a 120 figure? Anyone have any info on current rates for technically specialised roles in IT?

Edit: Just reread the entire thread - I'm asking 130 and not taking less than 120. Key points in the decision - Security specialists that ask less lack confidence. I've pretty much developed the whole solution for the current dept on my own. f*ck it why not? :)

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The job security is less.

I am sorry but unless you know things better than everyone I worked with at QLD gov stuff a year ago the job security is not less.

On top of which, f*ck job security, it makes you complacent, I want to be complacent when I am old, I like having to prove myself each day and know that I am competitive and not just some old fart that has been there forever.

Keep the anger man :)

Edit: Just reread the entire thread - I'm asking 130 and not taking less than 120. Key points in the decision - Security specialists that ask less lack confidence. I've pretty much developed the whole solution for the current dept on my own. f*ck it why not? :)

Yep now we are talking. The worst thing that can happen is you find you are not in that league for cash and seriously if you think you are then you should bloody well put it to the test.

Otherwise you live a life of "could have been"

Better to have a realistic evaluation of your beliefs and deal with the report card than to sit thinking I coulda been a contender.

In my rabid high risk / egotistical way of thinking anyway :)

Advice from the internet may be closer than it appears

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On top of which, f*ck job security, it makes you complacent, I want to be complacent when I am old, I like having to prove myself each day and know that I am competitive and not just some old fart that has been there forever.

I agree though personal circumstances may influence ones view on "job security" (i.e., children, mortgage, single income household, niche market in declining economy).

At my current company some very weird sh*t is happening in relation to project funding. Two of the team members who are on contracts expiring have not been renewed, contractors tend to be the first to go. I hate the feeling of complacency so am in the process of obtaining professional training/certification.

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What tor said and good luck!

The job description is asking for a wish list of skills/platforms/technologies. I have _most_ of them.

I've often wondered about job ads in this country; I read them for entertainment. A typical ad involving SQL Server might also want Oracle, MySQL, Unix, Sharepoint,.Net, Cognos and unicorn riding expertise. There are so many aspects of SQL Server (e.g. high availability, internals/disaster recovery, T-SQL, performance tuning, data warehousing/VLDB's, Analysis services, Reporting services etc) that being an expert in all or even most of SQL Server is impossible.

Perhaps you could argue that the employer is not looking for someone who is an expert or even competent in all those areas but I don't know why you would want to employ somebody for a task where they know just enough to be dangerous.

Why do so many job ads come with so many unrealistic requirements? I have a few theories:

--This is what happens when out of touch senior management gets an equally clueless recruitment agent to prepare a job ad.

--The requirements are intentionally absurd so that nobody qualifies and the person in charge can say that they advertised and then give the job to a mate.

--Jobs get filled based on networking / people you know and the advertised jobs are intentionally ridiculous in case there is some undiscovered genius out there.

--People exaggerate their CV's and to compensate the job ads get exaggerated.

--I have no idea and everyone in Australia has an IQ of 500 and is an expert in every technology ever invented.

Any other ideas?

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--This is what happens when out of touch senior management gets an equally clueless recruitment agent to prepare a job ad.

--The requirements are intentionally absurd so that nobody qualifies and the person in charge can say that they advertised and then give the job to a mate.

--Jobs get filled based on networking / people you know and the advertised jobs are intentionally ridiculous in case there is some undiscovered genius out there.

--People exaggerate their CV's and to compensate the job ads get exaggerated.

--I have no idea and everyone in Australia has an IQ of 500 and is an expert in every technology ever invented.

All of your theories may be valid except for the last one. Another theory is most jobs are advertised by agencies who know SFA and just add every buzzword they can think of.

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Any other ideas?

HR write the ads, HR is where you put the people that are incompetent.

I agree though, some ads are hilarious and not even complementary technologies, database people do seem to get it the worst though, I have yet to see programmer - C# and SAN expertise required.

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I am sorry but unless you know things better than everyone I worked with at QLD gov stuff a year ago the job security is not less.

On top of which, f*ck job security, it makes you complacent, I want to be complacent when I am old, I like having to prove myself each day and know that I am competitive and not just some old fart that has been there forever.

Keep the anger man :)

Yep now we are talking. The worst thing that can happen is you find you are not in that league for cash and seriously if you think you are then you should bloody well put it to the test.

Otherwise you live a life of "could have been"

Better to have a realistic evaluation of your beliefs and deal with the report card than to sit thinking I coulda been a contender.

In my rabid high risk / egotistical way of thinking anyway :)

Advice from the internet may be closer than it appears

Yeah, I think you're right. Even now when nearly all of the contractors I work with have gone - the key ones that keep the place running are still employed. It's time to see if I've got what it takes. :) I don't want to die wondering.

Any other ideas?

Thanks for the good wishes T. :)

I can say for certain that the job description written for the job I'm going for is a direct list of the skills that the current guy has. I know because I designed the original client software spec for the project. The current guy has more .Net experience than me. (How hard can it be? B) )

Edit: The APS like a lot of different skills listed also for the purposes of scoring candidates more easily - if you've got six and the next guy only has five then you win and the decision is justifiable to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

I'll have to change my fat cat monika if by some small chance I get the gig. :D

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Got a call this week from a pimp. Job was a senior java developer. (Generic skills) I quoted $110 per hour and was told by the pimp that this was waaaay to high. It is a competitive market and there is plenty of competition. Would I consider $100. I said no I wouldn't and the pimp refused to even send me the position description. APS recruitment is down at the moment so maybe the going rate has decreased? I know the rate two years ago was 90-100 for similar roles. I figured wage inflation was 4-5% over the past two years. Apparently not. Funny thing is contractors I worked with ten years ago were charging 90 an hour.

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Got a call this week from a pimp. Job was a senior java developer. (Generic skills) I quoted $110 per hour and was told by the pimp that this was waaaay to high. It is a competitive market and there is plenty of competition. Would I consider $100. I said no I wouldn't and the pimp refused to even send me the position description. APS recruitment is down at the moment so maybe the going rate has decreased? I know the rate two years ago was 90-100 for similar roles. I figured wage inflation was 4-5% over the past two years. Apparently not. Funny thing is contractors I worked with ten years ago were charging 90 an hour.

Probably not relevant to the ACT but my sources tell me that QLD IT contracting rates have dropped quite a lot due to Can-do's layoffs.

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I know the rate two years ago was 90-100 for similar roles. I figured wage inflation was 4-5% over the past two years. Apparently not. Funny thing is contractors I worked with ten years ago were charging 90 an hour.

$1000 a day for SAP was the rumoured gold standard for SAP developers in 2000. It hasn't risen above that now and someone needs to have a special skillset to even come close to that.

Realistically I look at the skills of people on $800 a day and I often find myself disappointed in the standard - not just in SAP but across a range of IT disciplines.

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maybe the going rate has decreased?

If you are currently employed then you are right. If you are currently not employed then the recruiter is right.

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Probably not relevant to the ACT but my sources tell me that QLD IT contracting rates have dropped quite a lot due to Can-do's layoffs.

Increasingly relevant to the ACT I'd say. I know several contractors that haven't been able to get new positions and have been unemployed for months now. The market has definitely cooled.

$1000 a day for SAP was the rumoured gold standard for SAP developers in 2000. It hasn't risen above that now and someone needs to have a special skillset to even come close to that.

Realistically I look at the skills of people on $800 a day and I often find myself disappointed in the standard - not just in SAP but across a range of IT disciplines.

I'd have to sgree. With a few notable exceptions not only the skill levels but the drive to develop new skills is lacking in contractors I have worked with. Initiative just isn't there.

If you are currently employed then you are right. If you are currently not employed then the recruiter is right.

I'm employed but not at $110 ph. I get the feeling that the extra $10 per hour was eating into their margins. They are not a standard 10% on top pimp. More like 40% on top.

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Speaking of pimps and $1000.00 a shift.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/latest/a/-/latest/15884124/single-mums-turn-to-brothels-and-stripping/

Some single mothers hit by recent welfare cuts to parenting payments have turned to prostitution and strip clubs in order to keep a roof over their family's head.

Thats one way to increase your wage. I don't understand how the lady who works full time is affected by the single mother cuts to centre link? I thought the idea of these changes was to encourage single mums to go back to the paid workplace when their youngest turned 8? Would not surprise me if they have made a meal of it though and individeuals are worse off whichever way they go.

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I am surprised this guy didn't get promoted.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/software-developer-busted-for-outsourcing-own-job-to-china/story-e6frep26-1226556262107?from=public_rss

Eventually, it was discovered the employee had outsourced his own job to a Chinese consulting firm, paying about $US50,000 to the firm out of his own salary of several hundred thousand dollars.

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You mean apart from the companies IP and source code being openly provided to Chinese interests. They are a large IT security firm from my understanding. :)

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