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Technology Workers' Raises Lower This Year

SALARY

Technology professionals used to be at the top of the nation's salary scale.
Not anymore.

This year, information technology workers received modest pay increases of just 3 percent, slightly lower than the national average of 4 percent, according to Computerworld's 2004 Salary Survey.


The annual survey of nearly 10,000 technology workers found that professionals employed as chief security officers garnered 6 percent pay raises, the highest of all job categories. Information security managers saw their earnings rise 5 percent as did data warehousing managers. By contrast, Web developers, information technology security specialists, and quality assurance specialists received, on average, 4 percent more in their paychecks this year. They were lucky. Most technology workers got less.

When Computerworld began tracking technology pay in 1989, average raises were 5.9 percent per year, the magazine said. The dot-com bust and the recession contributed to the lower pay hikes, as did outsourcing and decreased corporate spending on information technology.

This year, geography also made a difference. Technology workers living in the South Atlantic region fared better than most others in pay raises this year, while those in the Northeast and on the West Coast experienced flat salaries, the report said. IT workers in the North Central region saw increases slightly below average, it added.

The highest paid information technology professionals were those at the top, with chief information officers and vice presidents earning just over $162,000 in 2004. By contrast, chief technology officers brought home approximately $159,000. The lowest paid workers were technicians, with average earnings of $41,757 this year.

The survey offered some good news: When it came to pay raises, women outpaced men this year. They received average increases of 3.2 percent. However, their male counterparts received only 2.4 percent. In addition, women in the technology industry saw their bonuses decline by only 1.5 percent. Men, however, experienced a 2.1 percent drop in bonus pay this year, the magazine said.

HOMEOWNERSHIP

Hispanics net worth seen lagging whites.

The median net worth of Hispanic households in 2002 was $7,932, about 9 percent of the median wealth of white households during the same time period, according to the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C. That year, white families reported a total median net worth of $88,651. The data are based on an analysis of US Census Reports on minorities.

The study also found that between 1999 and 2001, the net worth of Hispanic and black households fell by 27 percent each. By contrast, the net worth of white households increased by 2 percent. The center reported that 26 percent of Hispanic, 32 percent of black, and 13 percent of white households had no net worth in 2002, numbers essentially unchanged since 1996.

The study's authors said that homeownership is essential to households seeking to maximize wealth, but found that minorities have more limited access to financial markets and face greater barriers to homeownership.

In 2002, nearly 75 percent of white Americans owned a home. Homeownership rates for blacks was 47.7 percent. The rate for Hispanics was 47.3 percent.

One reason for the disparity, the report said, is that many recent immigrants are Hispanics or West Indians from Central American and Caribbean countries. They tend to be younger and less educated than native-born residents of the same ethnic group or race. In addition, they often gravitate to more expensive urban areas where it is more difficult to support a family or save enough to buy a home.

According to the Pew Center, the country's newest immigrants are assimilating rapidly, but it usually takes approximately 20 years for the homeownership rates of a new group to equal the homeownership rates of their native-born counterparts.

EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE

Child depression concerns seen rising.

ComPsych Corp., the Chicago company that offers guidance and employee assistance programs to US firms, reports a 22 percent increase in calls from working parents who are worried about child depression.

In addition, calls were up 15 percent among parents who are concerned their child might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The company said the percentage of cases its counselors handle relating to children under 12 have increased 25 percent since last year and cases for children 13 to 18 years old have risen 20 percent during the same period.

The firm attributed the uptick to increased parental awareness of the symptoms of depression and other disorders.

When the company looked at the calls working parents with children under 12 have logged with the employment assistance programs it runs, it found that 22 percent of the callers were concerned about a child's conduct in school, 11 percent thought their child might be having problems in school, and 5 percent said the child seemed to be having difficulty adjusting to school.

By contrast, 39 percent of the parents with teenagers were worried about depression, 21 percent thought their child might have the attention disorder, 13 percent reported conduct issues, 9 percent said the child was having school problems, 9 percent reported other problems, and 6 percent said their teenager was having difficulty adjusting to school, said ComPsych.

SURVEY

Some hope election alters job situation.

TrueCareers, the online job board, polled 830 workers about the upcoming presidential election and found that 44 percent hope the outcome will change their employment situation.

One-third said the economy was the most important issue in this election; 15 percent said they believe the war in Iraq is the most critical issue. Of those surveyed, 97 percent said they plan to vote, up from 78 percent in 2000.

Cecilia Dwyer, president of TrueCareers, said the findings suggest many US citizens will base their vote "in large part on their own employment situations and the economy as a whole."

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