Salary Survey Extra: Digging into salary satisfaction

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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.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 you happy with your compensation? We take a deeper look at our data about salary satisfaction among certified IT professionals.It was noted wordsmith and poet of the working class Hugh Anthony Cregg III who first expressed that sometimes you have to be content with “taking what they’re giving” when you are working for a living. It’s a dismally proletarian outlook, but does get at the heart of why people often don’t think much about their level of satisfaction with the paychecks that show up in their bank account.

IT workers as a whole probably have good reason to be satisfied with their salaries, and many of them are. As noted in our January issue, 66.3 percent of certified IT pros who participated in our most recent Salary Survey are either completely satisfied with their compensation (8 percent), very satisfied (18.8 percent), or at least satisfied (39.5 percent). The rest were either not very satisfied (27 percent of those surveyed) or not at all satisfied (6.7 percent).

If we look beyond the black-or-white breakdown — 66.3 percent = some level of yea vs. 33.7 percent = some level of nay — however, there are some interesting ways to further dissect salary satisfaction. For example:

All U.S. Respondents
Completely Satisfied — 10 percent
Very Satisfied — 21.4 percent
Satisfied — 39.2 percent
Not very satisfied — 24 percent
Not At All Satisfied — 5.4 percent

All Non-U.S. Respondents
Completely Satisfied — 5 percent
Very Satisfied — 14.5 percent
Satisfied — 38.2 percent
Not very satisfied — 32.2 percent
Not At All Satisfied — 10.1 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 7.1 percent 7.1 percent 28.6 percent 46.5 percent 10.7 percent 1.8 percent
 25 to 34 8.1 percent 22.1 percent 36.9 percent 27.5 percent 5.4 percent 17.1 percent
 35 to 44 9.4 percent 22.6 percent 38.2 percent 23.1 percent 6.6 percent 28.1 percent
 45 to 54 10.2 percent 20.2 percent 41.7 percent 22.6 percent 5.3 percent 31.1 percent
 55 to 64 11.3 percent 23.2 percent 40.5 percent 22.1 percent 2.8 percent 18.8 percent
 64 to 74 16.3 percent 16.3 percent 34.9 percent 27.9 percent 4.7 percent 2.8 percent
 75 or older N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

2019 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 a small spike among workers between the ages of 35 and 44. 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 3.5 percent 15.7 percent 24.7 percent 36.8 percent 19.3 percent 4.5 percent
 25 to 34 4 percent 11.9 percent 32.4 percent 37.2 percent 14.4 percent 28.1 percent
 35 to 44 4.8 percent 12.4 percent 43.8 percent 30.8 percent 8.2 percent 39.9 percent
 45 to 54 6.9 percent 20.8 percent 38 percent 28.8 percent 5.5 percent 21.9 percent
 55 to 64 7.5 percent 11.9 percent 41.8 percent 26.9 percent 11.9 percent 5.3 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

2019 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 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 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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