Salary Survey Extra: More data about salary satisfaction, Part 1

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Are certified IT professionals pleased with their salaries? An in-depth discussion of salary satisfaction.A poster on the wall — possibly containing a sunrise, or perhaps showing a cat in the middle of yawning — once observed that, “Satisfaction is the difference between having a job and having a career.” It’s not entirely clear, scientifically speaking, whether this means that you work at a mere job, as opposed to pursuing a career, if you aren’t completely satisfied with the amount of money that you earn.

IT workers as a whole, of course, probably have good reason to be satisfied with their salaries, and many of them are. As noted in our January issue, 70 percent of certified IT pros who participated in our most recent Salary Survey are either completely satisfied with their compensation (9.2 percent), very satisfied (20.7 percent), or at least satisfied (40.4 percent). The rest were either not very satisfied (23.5 percent of those surveyed) or not at all satisfied (6.1 percent).

If we look beyond the black-or-white breakdown — 70 percent = some level of yea vs. 30 percent = some level of nay — however, there are some interesting ways to further dissect salary satisfaction. For example:

All U.S. Respondents
Completely Satisfied — 11.7 percent
Very Satisfied — 26 percent
Satisfied — 40.5 percent
Not very satisfied — 18.1 percent
Not At All Satisfied — 3.7 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Completely Satisfied — 6.3 percent
Very Satisfied — 14.7 percent
Satisfied — 40.6 percent
Not very satisfied — 29.7 percent
Not At All Satisfied — 8.7 percent

Whether you live and work in the United States or find yourself somewhere else in the world, there’s a fair-to-decent chance that you’re happy with what you earn, but maybe not thrilled. On the other hand, U.S. workers are more likely to be excessively satisfied, while those outside the United States are more likely to see themselves as being paid less than they deserve.

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 14.3 percent [No responses] 15.7 percent 57.1 percent 12.9 percent 0.6 percent
 25 to 34 8.8 percent 24.3 percent 38.1 percent 22.7 percent 6.1 percent 14.2 percent
 35 to 44 11 percent 21.4 percent 46.7 percent 18 percent 2.9 percent 27.1 percent
 45 to 54 9.2 percent 29.3 percent 37.8 percent 19 percent 4.7 percent 33.2 percent
 55 to 64 17.5 percent 29.3 percent 38.9 percent 12.5 percent 1.8 percent 22 percent
 65 to 74 17.6 percent 14.7 percent 44.2 percent 20.6 percent 2.9 percent 2.7 percent
 75 or older N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

2021 Survey Data

So there are a couple of small zigs where zags might be expected. The percentage of survey participants who are not at all satisfied with their salaries, for example, gets an odd spike among workers between the ages of 45 and 54. On the whole, however, the basic supposition that people tend to be more satisfied with their earning power as they get older (and hence more experienced) is borne out among U.S. tech workers.

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 8.4 percent [No responses] 45.8 percent 20.8 percent 25 percent 2.1 percent
 25 to 34 5.1 percent 12.4 percent 32.9 percent 37.2 percent 12.4 percent 24.1 percent
 35 to 44 4.4 percent 16.8 percent 41.8 percent 29 percent 8 percent 39.8 percent
 45 to 54 9.1 percent 15.5 percent 43.3 percent 25 percent 7 percent 25 percent
 55 to 64 9.6 percent 10.6 percent 48.9 percent 27.7 percent 3.2 percent 8.3 percent
 65 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

2021 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 generally 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 handful of other ways the would be interesting to slice things up here, so we’ll probably have more to say about this topic in at least one future Salary Survey Extra. Stay tuned.

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CertMag Staff

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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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