IT and telecoms salaries in South Africa in 2015

bleh.. is it just me or has this year had the most salary review articles ever. I reckon this kinda indicates an interesting development with regards to what is important to a person.. that or this has been a slow news year and floggin a tattered dead horse
 
bleh.. is it just me or has this year had the most salary review articles ever. I reckon this kinda indicates an interesting development with regards to what is important to a person.. that or this has been a slow news year and floggin a tattered dead horse

Well now I don't know. It appears all I have to do to feel better is compare my salary to these articles. It's these rare news article moments that made me smile this year :D
(Maybe a more positive spin helps, lol)
 
bleh.. is it just me or has this year had the most salary review articles ever. I reckon this kinda indicates an interesting development with regards to what is important to a person.. that or this has been a slow news year and floggin a tattered dead horse

* Too many articles about salary
* slow news year, the stuff that has passed for "news" on this forum has amazed me.
 
Well now I don't know. It appears all I have to do to feel better is compare my salary to these articles. It's these rare news article moments that made me smile this year :D
(Maybe a more positive spin helps, lol)

Lol.. Nah for me it just confirms what I know ie salary vs exp and salary vs age one of which I'm behind :( but then such is life and the thing to remember is that jumps can happen fast if in right industry, experience, degree etc so not worried as I know where I'm headed fast :)
 
Lol.. Nah for me it just confirms what I know ie salary vs exp and salary vs age one of which I'm behind :( but then such is life and the thing to remember is that jumps can happen fast if in right industry, experience, degree etc so not worried as I know where I'm headed fast :)

My salary is what it is due to pure chance. I was an employee at one company, got head hunted and became a contractor at another. After a few years the new company woo'd me to become an employee to allow for certain projects to come my way. They couldn't change the rates too much and thus, my above average salary that gets slowly worse and worse every year. I'm still not complaining about it, don't get me wrong, but I get poorer every year just like everyone else.

The big realization for me was to figure out that being good at something didn't imply proportionate salary increases, nor did increases in responsibility or even being a key and critical resource responsible for arguably the most important aspect of the business. Regardless of how good you are, you are a number on an HR payroll. Maybe it happens elsewhere in the world but definitely not in South Africa. The opposite appears to be true.

In my case, I am one of the foremost experts in my field in South Africa and if my colleagues are to be believed I'm probably *the* foremost expert in my field, in South Africa at least. It sounds a lot more vain than I mean it to, trust me, it's just relevant for my scenario and example.

All that it meant for me in my career was that I wasn't allowed to build certain systems. The organization "feared" me and labelled me as a "key man dependency". For a long time I wasn't allowed to write a single line of code, which as a programmer is another way of describing hell. Attempts were made to recruit and head hunt but after failing for a long time everyone just gave up.

In the end the company spent lots and lots of money to buy a system that could run in parallel with mine. They sent me on ridiculously expensive training, abroad, to work this new system and because this off the shelf system isn't capable of doing what our in house one does, it's a nice and shiny white elephant that only I have the skills to run. It simply increased the key man dependency... Only now everyone feels better about it for reasons I can't explain.

Did that make a difference to my salary? Nope. Am I on any long term incentive scheme to retain my skills at the company, nope. I don't have a career path, nor a proper job specification or even clear guidance as to what it is I should be doing to do my job. I carry a lot of responsibility though.

I am merely expected to know those things and do them. Salary? Pft, HR will ensure I get mine every month, so I can't expect any more.

So I guess what I'm saying, if you want your salary to increase, being good at what you do really doesn't matter. You need to be able to sell yourself, you need to be able to find those opportunities in the market to increase your salary. Above all, the absolutely most important thing you can do is to not be irreplaceable, but to transfer your skills to juniors and go into management.

For me that's not an option. What makes me good at my job also makes me a slave driver :D
 
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if you want your salary to increase, being good at what you do really doesn't matter. You need to be able to sell yourself

What he said...
 
What he said...

It's a bitter pill to swallow, especially for IT guys. Everyone's current piece of work is always the most spectacularly awesome thing ever seen on this planet, which is too much ego. The first step is to check your ego at the door, which it appears nobody is able to do...
 
if you want your salary to increase, being good at what you do really doesn't matter. You need to be able to sell yourself, you need to be able to find those opportunities in the market to increase your salary. Above all, the absolutely most important thing you can do is to not be irreplaceable, but to transfer your skills to juniors and go into management.

Definitely this.
My manager told me that the work I have been doing this past year, is going to have a huge payoff effect over the next few years. This is always great to hear.
 
My manager told me that the work I have been doing this past year, is going to have a huge payoff effect over the next few years. This is always great to hear.

Tread carefully. It's good to hear but it generally means nothing for you. Your logical assumption is that what is good for the company will be good for you, which is false. The company has owners/directors/shareholders/etc and any additional payoff simply means greater returns for them. You get your salary, you signed a contract to do your job and in their mind, this is just you fulfilling your commitment.

How many times have you read about companies making it big and then giving each employee a stack load of cash, like Mark Shuttleworth did. The answer? Hardly ever.
 
So I guess what I'm saying, if you want your salary to increase, being good at what you do really doesn't matter. You need to be able to sell yourself, you need to be able to find those opportunities in the market to increase your salary. Above all, the absolutely most important thing you can do is to not be irreplaceable, but to transfer your skills to juniors and go into management.

Wise words Lazy :)
 
Wise words Lazy :)

Good advise, yes. Unfortunate, very much so. Being a good programmer doesn't necessarily make you good at management.
Unfortunately the MBA manuals that are used to run business forget that there's such a thing as reality and sound logical thinking. As such programmer->team lead->management appears to be the defacto career path with one or two more hops in between. It's idiotic thinking actually and absolutely reflected in the limited number of true technological success stories in South Africa. Count them on your two hands to see my point.

Nobody teaches us as techies about this stuff when we study and we spend our careers wishing for something that will never happen: that our true value will be seen. So best let that notion go and play by the rules of the playing field mate...
 
The big realization for me was to figure out that being good at something didn't imply proportionate salary increases, nor did increases in responsibility or even being a key and critical resource responsible for arguably the most important aspect of the business. Regardless of how good you are, you are a number on an HR payroll. Maybe it happens elsewhere in the world but definitely not in South Africa. The opposite appears to be true.

...

So I guess what I'm saying, if you want your salary to increase, being good at what you do really doesn't matter. You need to be able to sell yourself, you need to be able to find those opportunities in the market to increase your salary. Above all, the absolutely most important thing you can do is to not be irreplaceable, but to transfer your skills to juniors and go into management.

I'm not sure if this is an SA vs. USA thing, but in the US, there seems to be so much more scope for ICs (individual contributors vs. management). For the most part, if you have really good technical skills there is little advantage to going into management (I've done it once in the US, and then went back to an IC role). I have zero salary incentive to go into management at this point in my career.

So I'm not disagreeing with you (SA seems to be very hierarchy driven), just pointing out that there are places where it doesn't have to work that way. There are companies that work like that (hierarchy driven) in the US, but they are generally regarded as bad companies to work for. I hope things evolve in SA (I am hoping that the US companies setting up there, like Amazon will do that - despite their bad US press, apparently they treat their ICs very well).

Good advise, yes. Unfortunate, very much so. Being a good programmer doesn't necessarily make you good at management.
Unfortunately the MBA manuals that are used to run business forget that there's such a thing as reality and sound logical thinking. As such programmer->team lead->management appears to be the defacto career path with one or two more hops in between. It's idiotic thinking actually and absolutely reflected in the limited number of true technological success stories in South Africa. Count them on your two hands to see my point.

Nobody teaches us as techies about this stuff when we study and we spend our careers wishing for something that will never happen: that our true value will be seen. So best let that notion go and play by the rules of the playing field mate...

I usually see the above pattern here in the US, but it seems to work, since only the developers who are actually good at management will make the transition, rather than just forcing the best developers to do something they're not good at in order to prevent their careers from freezing. For those who looked at the Google salary post a few weeks ago, one of the things that stuck out is that (a) their senior developers are paid very well, and (b) quite a bit more in total comp, than bottom/mid tier managers too. It seems as though what has to fundamentally change is this idea that "bottom level management > top level IC staff".
 
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Tread carefully. It's good to hear but it generally means nothing for you. Your logical assumption is that what is good for the company will be good for you, which is false. The company has owners/directors/shareholders/etc and any additional payoff simply means greater returns for them. You get your salary, you signed a contract to do your job and in their mind, this is just you fulfilling your commitment.

How many times have you read about companies making it big and then giving each employee a stack load of cash, like Mark Shuttleworth did. The answer? Hardly ever.

I had to learn that this year... doesn't matter if you do anything great at work, it means very little benefit for you, save for experience and in-depth knowledge perhaps.

This is why at work, these days, the bare minimum is what they get from me, the specified KPI in my contract is all they are getting. One can argue that you did such and such for them, and that you are the only one who knows how it works... means bollocks to them.

The only time it counts, is if you are the business owner or major shareholder.

This year, I decided to live by this rule:

Work is a necessary evil
Do all the cool stuff in your private time, at home
Put your family and health first, screw the workplace.
Drive a hard bargain when it comes to salary, don't let them "make you an offer" ever! If they don't want to pay, they won't pay, not now, or ever.
 
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