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Disclosing Salary

 
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In a different thread Paul McKenna wrote:
Don't disclose your salary on a public forum


Now this is generally true, because you never know who can use this information against you. But it reminds me of another point. Companies greatly benefit from salaries being secret.
I've hired people at two companies and when I've gone in there have been large ranges in salaries, sometimes not corresponding as well as it should to skill set.
For example, at one company we were paying kids out of college around $X (all numbers in thousands). We hired a guy for $(X-25). This was in early 2000. We got away with it because he didn't know that he could do better and his recruiter was an idiot. Now we did quickly bump up his salary by $15 because we felt he was way underpaid. Still, if he knew that others were getting $10 more than he, maybe he would have been unhappy (either rightly or wrongly).
Salary surveys are supposed to help employees but letting them know the going rates. However, I have found surveys are fairly useless because:
1) They have small samples, relatively speaking
2) They often cover a wide geography
3) There are no standards, e.g. my 3 years of EJB experience may be more less impressive than your 3 years of EJB experience
4) There is such a wide range of ability in general (on the order of 10:1) that you get a large spread in the sample space.
Now within a company, you get much more focus. You have a good idea of where you fall with respect to your peers, ability-wise. You've also normalized for geography, industry, etc.
Of course, companies don't want to give out this info. You also might not want to give out this info. It's unfortunate because it keeps you down, but understandable, because the information is personal.
I do talk about salary with some close friends of mine, mostly because I want to keep on top of what the reality is out there. I'm also at an advantage in that I hire people, so I'm in touch with market prices.
Just something to think about.
--Mark
 
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Mark -
1. Does anybody here actually use their real name?
2. I have never seen any relationship between salary/pay and actual programming ability. In fact, if there is any relationship at all - it is an inverse relationship.
The best programmers are paid the least.
The reasons for this to be true is that the 2 skill sets of:
"negotiating for pay"
and
"selling & promoting oneself as an expert"
are completeling and totally unrelated to actual programming ability.
Note how that stupid people lack the self-awareness skills to know that they are incompetant. However, many stupid people actually have excellant skills for "negotiating for pay" and "selling and promoting oneself as an expert"
Kevin
 
Mark Herschberg
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Originally posted by Kevin Thompson:

1. Does anybody here actually use their real name?


I do. All moderators do. I think most people on the site do.

Originally posted by Kevin Thompson:

2. I have never seen any relationship between salary/pay and actual programming ability. In fact, if there is any relationship at all - it is an inverse relationship.


I have, but that's in companies which value communication, or which recognize technical competance.* You're right in that the stereotypical geek is brilliant, but can't communicate/negotiate/come across well and so has trouble.
*I remember someone once commented about Gosling, who had just given a talk in a t-shirt and jeans, walking in drinking sode from a fast food place, that in Germany (where this person was from) someone like Gosling could never succeed, but at Sun they knew how to reward him for his mind, and not appearance.

--Mark
 
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