Some Employer Gimmicks to Pay Lower IT Salaries | Hacker Noon

@pudeianMkrtich Pudeian

Data Wharehouse developer and Data Analyst with 10+ years of experience

It is not a secret that in many companies, expenses on salaries of IT departments’ employees make up a significant part of the budget. And the high competition in the labor market further pushes the level of wages for IT specialists. High expenses lead to the fact that the employer is always searching for options to reduce their costs. It turned out, the companies themselves, trying to reduce costs as much as possible, turn to various tricks to reduce the cost of the work done. Similar mechanisms are used not only in IT but also in different other areas of the employer. But let’s talk about everything in order.

We often make choices in an information vacuum.

Often in life, we make choices in conditions of insufficient information. For example, when entering a university, we have a poor idea of what options are available and how the knowledge gained will help us in the future. Only years later, having received life experience, we understand what could have helped achieve this result faster.

A similar way works when choosing a job. Often we get a job somewhere, accidentally learning about this place. And when we do at a particular position of work, we also usually have a vague idea of ​​what is happening in the industry. And about a huge gap between some adjacent and similar areas in wages, organization of the work process and attitude to the employee, we often do not even suspect. You can often meet people who have been sitting on an unloved project for years in depression and without any motivation — and this is instead trying to find better options. And all because of fear or ignorance: “What is better?”

Features of the IT market

Firstly, an IT specialist’s profession has a reasonably low entry threshold and does not require many years of study. Therefore, any adequate student of non-humanitarian areas can start working already from the first years. It is enough to be a little quick-witted and moderately assiduous.

Secondly, the demand for IT specialists in the global market still exceeds supply. Therefore, even an entry-level professional will find a job with decent salaries.

Thirdly, the specifics of the activity and access to the Internet make it possible to work remotely, which finally breaks down the territorial barrier to employment.

And fourth, the labor cost of a highly skilled worker in less developed countries is lower than that of a trainee student in Germany or a cleaning lady in Silicon Valley. In contrast, the quality of labor for the same money is far better than to hire these workers.

Few people want to pay for one programmer as a whole department of non-IT engineers. That is why many employers start to go for gimmicks, tricks, and even outright deception in order to save a little budget.

Complex hierarchies, ranks, titles

In many companies, especially large and outsourcing companies, it is common to build ranks, grades, titles, etc. The names might be different, but the sense is the same — companies are driving employees into a box, limiting their earnings and career development opportunities, arguing this by their invented rank system. 

We owe this system at best to the classic trio ( junior, middle, senior )and at worst to grades tables like L3, L4… L210, etc.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with these systems, especially in large companies where people with 0 and 10 years of experience working together. However, these ranks often begin to be imposed in order not to raise salaries. For example, in some companies, it is a practice that after the transition between levels, a specific time must be passed (2–3 years) before we can talk about the next increase in salary. There are even funny cases when people leave the company and then return two levels higher a year later, which would not have been possible if they had remained in the company.

Besides, since the level of pay is related to the ranks, people who do not fit these ranks are denied increasing salaries that their skills are worth in the labor market. And as a result, they lose good staff.

I had a funny experience when I was invited for an interview at a company that I left three months before. The interview went well, and I entirely fitted the project needs. However, They refuse because of the salary that I asked for too high. Although the fact it was almost the same as the one I was receiving at the time. They said it corresponds to two grades higher than the one I left. And the colleagues “cannot understand”. Needless to say, after another month, I accepted an offer from another company, where they offered me another 50% more.

You need to understand that these ranks have only one goal — to create a reason to pay you less. There are no ranks at all in many companies, and people get as much as they agreed on a job interview. I think this approach is the most appropriate.

Non-cash tricks

Many companies try to compensate for low wages with various benefits — intangible additions to the basic salary.

On the one hand, there are many worthwhile things — paying for sports, fruit in the office, free lunches, corporate transport, mobile communications, etc. You need to understand that money for this is somehow taken from your pocket (more precisely, it does not go into it). But often, a company can afford more beneficial conditions than an individual, so this is savings in any case.

On the other hand, many companies often resort to other manipulative levers that are absolutely useless for the employee. It can be all sorts of certificates(like Thank You Latter), badges, stickers, and different types of gamification. Some companies directly offer to write you a leading position in the labor book in exchange for lower wages.

You need to understand that although it may be pleasant for you and cause envy among your colleagues and pride in your mother, all these certificates and badges won’t help you in any way either in your career, or in life, or the development of your experience. Just remember that instead of a certificate, there should be a financial bonus, but now it has flowed into the pocket of a savvy manager.

Corporate culture

Another tool that employers are using to reduce employee benefits is “corporate culture.” There is nothing wrong with the culture itself. Every company is free to create an atmosphere that is more suitable for their inner life.

But sometimes, the “corporate culture” begins to include things that have nothing to do with the work process and business goals. For example, when they begin to fine or humiliate workers in every possible way for being late, taking smoke breaks, being absent from the workplace for a snack — this is despite the fact that a person is engaged in engineering (mental) activities. The time and period of his stay at the workplace are minimally correlated with his labor productivity. By the way, people often think about work tasks in transport, at home, and a party, and even lying in bed before going to bed, but no one wants to pay for this.

The worst thing here is that many people are so imbued with the idea of ​​” corporate culture” that they become ardent champions of fictitious rules. They begin to observe all the faddles and spread rot on those who pay more attention to real work than to the HR department’s next inventions. Do not forget that your main task is to get the work done, thereby bringing the company profit. And if the company itself imposes values ​​on you that distract you from this task, it may be worth looking for a company that better understands what it needs most — the achievement of tasks, or so that everyone is in the workplace by 9:00 PM.

Outright lies

But the most exciting thing is not even that. Many companies have adopted a practice of drastically limiting the clearness of the processes associated with hiring and paying employees, and some companies resort to outright lies.

Working in outsourcing companies, I faced the strictest prohibition on disclosing salaries everywhere, even to my colleagues. Many support this practice, but it is just a tool to manipulate wages. An employee will have nothing to motivate requests for a salary increase if he does not know the company’s situation and the market as a whole. A person is convinced that his pay is extremely high, although his colleagues who do the same can receive twice as much.

I am not lobbying for disclosing all employees’ salaries, but you need to understand that this tool always uses against you.
But the most interesting is the situation in companies in which IT is not the primary means of earning them, but only indirectly affects the production process, but is nevertheless necessary. These are companies such as government agencies, factories, all kinds of retailers, and other small and medium-sized businesses. In general, all those who receive money, not for an IT product.

Such companies face the following situation: non-IT specialists produce their product, and the market in which they operate gives much less money than IT. However, they have to hire IT specialists, for various reasons. And due to the fact that the contribution of IT specialists to the final product of the company is indirect and it is often difficult to accurately assess it, an attitude is formed towards these departments as a “necessary evil”. They are expensive, they do not bring direct profit, but it is also impossible without them. Therefore, the attitude towards them is appropriate, and the offices are trying in every possible way to catch them to reduce wages.

One of the main tools is deception. Companies inspire employees that the working conditions they provided are the best on the market. They tell him that in other companies, they pay less and fine for everything. They do not pay bonuses, delay payments, and other fictions. Some managers even begin to play psychology, talking about patriotism, about the country’s hard times, that you cannot go to a competitor and work for foreigners who are willing to pay more. Even such managers are specially trained on how to convince employees that working conditions are better nowhere else.

Conclusions

Of course, this is not all the tricks that campaigns use. Many other tricks keep specialists from getting paid. There are just a few simple tips below to follow.

Don’t be afraid to change something. The IT industry is extremely different, and you can always find what works best for you. Go to interviews, ask people for advice at conferences and meetups, explore other areas, and technology stacks. Try to find out as much as possible about the various areas close to yours and be aware of your services in the labor market. Never be afraid to change jobs — it is always a step forward for you, even if the experience turns out to be unsuccessful.

There is no point in enduring an unpleasant environment. Just give it up to those who want to work for less money and with less sense. Or, allow your company to hire less qualified staff if it does not see fit to provide a good workflow. Leave, without doubt, from positions in which you cannot work productively due to external factors or where there is no smell of productive work at all.

There will always be bad projects. But there will always be good ones. And there is always one that is perfect for you. Perhaps tomorrow, or perhaps in two years of waiting. But it’s worth it.

Work where you are allowed to work with maximum productivity, help make the company’s product better, and do not try to throw a spanner in the works. Respect yourself, value your time, your nerves, and your mental health.

– Mkrtich Pudeian, Data Analyst of Finbridge

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Data Wharehouse developer and Data Analyst with 10+ years of experience

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