High-tech salaries steady despite cutbacks
Jan 03, 2013 (Globes - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
2012 was a stormy year for Israeli high tech. During the second half of the year, the industry faced a wave a layoffs by local companies and the research centers of multinationals. The list included ECI Telecom Ltd., Orckit Corrigent Ltd. (Nasdaq: ORCT; TASE: ORCT), Texas Instruments Israel, Freescale Semiconductors Israel, and Orbotech Ltd. (Nasdaq: ORBK).
The wave of layoffs has naturally raised worries about the future, and they could be a bad omen. But in some cases, the layoffs are decisions by a specific company and caused by a product that did not do as well as it expected, or else the company found it difficult to enter new markets. Layoffs could also be due to an exit, in which production and development are transferred to the buyer, usually abroad.
A study of the high-tech industry by Dialog Consulting for Human Resources Ltd. for "Globes" found that the number of hardware jobs fell by 34 percent in 2012, compared with 2011. "This drop was due to the lack of certainty in foreign markets," said Dialog CEO Haia Bornstein.
Dialog also examined the salaries of the remaining hardware employees, and found that the salary range, in most cases, had not greatly changed. In some case, the salary range for the same jobs actually rose. "Lately, we've encountered quite a few good hardware engineers who have received several salary offers at the same time, with each offer in the upper salary range. They are pulling up the average. But there is no exceeding the range as in the past, and companies are definitely keeping the current salary limits, mainly because of the lack of certainty. Alongside the outstanding engineers, most hardware engineers have the same salaries as prevailed in 2011, so the average salary has not risen much."
A hardware engineer with two years experience earned an average salary of NIS 18,000 in 2012, compared with NIS 16,400 in 2011. An engineer with up to six years exprience earned an average salary of NIS 25,580 in 2012, compared with NIS 23,300 in 2011.
Salaries of software engineers were 1.5-5 percent lower in 2012 than in 2011. For example, a software engineer with up to two years experience earned NIS 10,000-18,000 in 2012, compared with NIS 10,000-20,000 in 2011. An engineer with six years experience earned up to NIS 30,000 in 2012 compared with NIS 32,000 in 2011. A senior software team leader earned NIS 20,000-32,000, unchanged from the year before.
The number of software jobs was unchanged in 2012 compared with 2011, but there have been several changes. There has been a small increase in the number of DotNet jobs and a small decrease in the number C and Java positions. The decline is small, and it is premature to draw any conclusions. It should be noted that, in general in the past few years, the number of DotNet and Java jobs have been greater than the number of C jobs.
2012 apparently marks the start of an unsurprising trend in two fields: web and mobile. The number of jobs in these fields grew sharply in 2012 at the expense of conventional development.
"It isn't surprising that these two fields grew," says Bornstein. "The number of smartphones is growing, as are network and cloud computing services. It's enough to think that, only a few years ago, companies' field workers were only supported by mobile phones, whereas now, many of them are equipped with computers or smartphones, and work from the field as if they were at the office."
These two fields are growing fast, and are absorbing a growing number of software developers. Many software companies are making sure to adapt their products for mobile apps as well, or making them accessible online, so there is rising demand for engineers who know web and mobile protocols and languages.
Jump in IT security jobs
The growing demand for web and mobile engineers, and the rising complexity of development has caused a move from classic developers (C, Java, and C#) to web and mobile, fields that are less complex, and less lucrative salary-wise, in comparison with classic software development. There has also been a rise in basic requirements for web and mobile. If until recently, it was possible to enter these two fields with basic experience and no degree, today, more and more jobs in the field require a degree in computer science or software engineering. This is unsurprising, in view of the fact that development is becoming more complex over time.
A side effect of the switch to web and mobile development is the 43 percent jump in IT security positions. This is no surprise, given the fact that data transmitted over the web or mobile platforms is vulnerable to theft, and need greater security than data which is closed in an internal server with no link to an external network.
Another field that the survey examined was software quality assurance (QA). There are two kinds of workers in this field: testing engineers with degrees, mostly in computer science or software engineering; and software testers with no degree, who may or may not have a diploma.
"This breakdown began more or less with the crisis in late 2008," says Bornstein. "It is reflected in the salaries of software testers. The salaries of software engineers are 7-23 percent higher than the salaries of software testers, and this trend continues throughout their careers."
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