IT jobs crisis

From: Tibor Bode


Here are a couple of article addresses from the Australian for IT people. I put it on as there are quite a number of people on this forum who work in this area. It has some very interesting points to consider and is worth to read even for those ones who have a job today.

http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,4753837%5E15306%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html

http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,4706479%5E15425%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html

http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,4753907%5E15306%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html

http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,4753838%5E15306%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html

Tibor
 
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Reply: 1
From: Dan D


hmmm... scary reading. As an IT professional I do have vested interests in this particular section of industry, I am also very concerned about what we are doing to make sure we are, remain or at least work very hard to be a smart country.

However, going by the fact that price is everything, and our long term future is neither here nor there for a politician, then I fear that things will not look good for Australia in the long run.

Why the heck are we training people for highly skilled professions? We might as well import or export all of our capabilities until we run out of money to pay for the outsourcing and we all go down together. Lucky Country indeed. More like Stupid Country.

Time for me to start getting serious about developing my own business, because one day I too will have to say goodbye to my currently well paid IT job, and there goes that IP that I've been chasing down so hard.

I do however have great fears for Australia's future. Would that we had politicians and voters who had the best interests of Australia at heart.... alas, we do not.

Dan.
 
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Reply: 1.1
From: Tibor Bode


Dan,

Yesterday I wrote to John Howard after reading this article. My wife job has already been "globalised" so now she has to be happy to work as a casual unskilled / lowly skilled employee. Not everyone is cut our for / interested in having a business.

I just don't want to see happening with IT as well. There always be cheaper labour somewhere (except if our beautiful country will make to become a third world country), but private companies who are intending to make a profit HERE from Australians, should have the decency to their job expense is mainly in this country, otherwise when people stop having income, they also stop spending on their goods and services. We just can not work for $1 per hour as we can not live on it. I am also sure that not many people would like to work under the conditions people working in some of those countries with low wages cost.

From government departments to do the same, I personally think this stinks, as they simply live on the taxes we pay.

Unfortunately, IT people never been good at sticking up for their own interest and their representative bodies do not worth 2c. This is why ceased to be a member. But if several people start to bombard their MPs and some senior ministers (yes they have email addresses available via
www.federal.gov.au then search for the person) it might just help to stop the rot.

That there is something really stinky at the moment, last night a friend of mine mentioned that senior managers at a large multinational company (household name where he is working at) to save cost, suggested to clean their own offices and the toilets.
Here come Virgin offices. What a brilliant idea! You pay a 6 digit figure to someone for their knowledge, skills and experience then ask them to do an unskilled work cost around $15 per hour. It saves cost!!!!????The sad bit in it, that this idea came from one of these senior managers. Maybe if they would rather try to think how to do things smarter or explore new ways of doing business, instead of trying to reduce the cost by any means (there is no cost saving here, it is only a dream in their head) we would go a bit better. I have also seen this attitude in IT area as well. Save 10K, at the cost of 30K, or 300K then whine why the cost is so high.

Tibor
 
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Sim

Administrator
Reply: 1.1.1
From: Sim' Hampel


I've said it before, and I'll say it again... IT people are for the most part grossly overpaid. This is more the fault of the business world than the IT industry.

What we are seeing now is a simple supply and demand issue. There are too many IT people who are too paid too much for the type of work they do.

People need to accept work at more realistic pay levels based on the demands for their skills out there now. If they can't find work, then that means that their skills are simply no longer in demand, or they are being unreasonable about their expectations. I don't know of terribly much demand for wheelwrights these days, even though these skills were once very much sought after. The world moves on.

Many of these IT people, contrary to popular opinion (theirs), are NOT highly skilled professionals. Mostly they are what I consider to be monkeys who have been taught how to do a particular task, and can reproduce that on demand. This is in contrast to people who have to make their own decisions and are held responsible for those decisions that are made.

Compare "professionals" like doctors, lawyers, accountants (real, consulting accountants like Dale, not number crunchers), engineers and such. Most IT people I know are NOT in this category, despite being on similar pay scales in many cases. These professionals do NOT rely on their employer to keep them skilled. They must take it upon themselves to continually learn new skills and keep up with the latest in technologies in their field of expertise, or be left behind.

So these monkeys as I call them have been in monkey heaven up until now, with all the bananas they could possibly eat. Now all of a sudden, the bananas have run out, and they don't know what to do.

Some monkeys have already run off blindly into the world to find a new source of bananas, some in the IT industry, some out of it.

Some monkeys have reinvented themselves, overcome their fears and moved on to new areas, developing new skills, and have developed the skills to be able to keep pace with change in their environment.

The rest of the monkeys are now just sitting around screaming at everyone... "who moved my bananas ?".

 
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Reply: 1.1.1.1
From: Michael G


Sim,

I guess that makes me a Silverback Gorilla huh?

Michael G
 
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Reply: 1.1.1.2
From: Manny B


Well said Sim,

I must agree with you there, as I'm also an IT person I can say that you are spot on... our industry (IT) has been overpaying some of their IT professionals... I'll give you an example:

I hire 7 IT trainees every year (basically students completed their second year of their computing degree & take a year off to work) & pay them $29,000 to learn, etc... when they complete this year (some times before the year ends), if vacancies do arise (which they frequently do) they tend to jump to $35,000 jobs with us (we are talking about a 20-22 year old with under 1 year's experience, who normally look at completing their degree in the evenings)... then these individuals can move up our IT hierarchy & get low $40k paid jobs by the time they are 23 years old (note: some of our techos who do PC maintenance, basically desktop support for both s/w & limited h/w as all PCs have on-site warranty nowdays get in excess of $50k)...

Well this $40-$50k job doesn't have too many responsibilities, but if you compare the role with a bank manager (just an example) who also gets this summ of money (many are getting paid in their $40k's), they have the responsibilities of an entire bank branch (balancing the books at the end of the day, staffing issues, complaints, fraud issues, etc.)...

I must say that not all IT employees are overpaid (there are some specialists that are highly qualified & skilled), but unfortunately due to the crazy $$$ paid in the IT industry in the past, IT staff seem to have higher expectations in terms of $$$ even thought their skill set is limited...

I must say that I have had staff leaving our $45k paid job (basically someone with 4 yrs experience & a degree) & have managed to jump into jobs paying over $80k & some in excess of $100k, but that was the past (few years ago), now IT remuneration has come down a little, but unfortunately the expectations are still high...

On another note, I should say that the number of staff we have in our IT department hasn't changed in the last couple of years & pays have been constant (only increases being the ones passed through our EB agreements)...

Just my quick 2cents worth...

Cheers,

MannyB.
 
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Reply: 1.1.1.1.1
From: Always Learning


I somewhat agree with Sim. I find there is a unbelievably huge difference in productivity between IT workers, the difference between the 80% "IT-Monkeys" and the 20% of what I call the "IT-Professionals" is huge. And then within the 20% of professionals there is another huge big scale with those in the top 5% being truly 10X or 20X or 50X more productive. Whilst I agree with Sim that IT workers are overpaid, I think IT professionals are UNDERPAID!

<p>

I think it was Tibor comment that employers just look for a particular skill set like 3 months experience with some strange product like "Crapwere2.2", I cannot think of anything more shortsighted by an employees. Here are the two questions I ask during any interview of a potential employee:

<ol>

<li> What product did you last become a true expert at?

<li> What IT book(s) did you last read?

</ol>

The monkey's will never have been an expert at anything! Highly skilled professionals will take it as there personal goal, to become an expert at any product they are given, quickly!

<p>

The monkey's are in the IT for a JOB, and just are not interested in reading books or learning in their own time about IT or computer science trends. ie. IT is just their JOB not their Profession. They are also the ones complaining that they don't get enough training (meaning the company pays them for a one week vacation to a training course, which they learn "jack"!)

<p>

That being said, this IT "professional" remembers the Oracle job market in the 91 slump....not a contract to be had in Melbourne. A few years ago, I think I was at the "top" of my game, being sucked into management, I now find myself being "top" at neither the technical or managerial.

<p>

I don't think Australian IT workers doing the low end "coder jobs/supporter jobs" have a chance against the huge wave in the next 3~10 years of skilled IT Chinese workers. We need to add value in a new different ways. I think we will see a decline in numbers of traditional IT jobs in Australia. Here is my idea: The integration of business transactions incorporating intercompany/intracompany computer systems, performing transactions that today are done with phone, fax, order entry staff/ purchase departments / accounts payable receivable on both sides of companies is what will keep IT workers employed for the next 10 or 15 years. Don't do the programming for this, Oracle, SAP, IBM, Micro$oft will provide the tools, however local IT workers will need to be on the ground doing the implementations. The fax machine will be a thing of the past for transferring of business transactions!

<p>

<hr width="50%" color="pink">

<ul>



<li> Unless you change how you are, you'll always have what you've got.

<li> To have more than you've got, become more than you are.



</ul>
 
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Sim

Administrator
Reply: 1.1.1.1.1.1
From: Sim' Hampel


On 7/24/02 10:39:00 AM, Always Learning wrote:
>I somewhat agree with Sim. I
>find there is a unbelievably
>huge difference in
>productivity between IT
>workers, the difference
>between the 80% "IT-Monkeys"
>and the 20% of what I call the
>"IT-Professionals" is huge.
>And then within the 20% of
>professionals there is another
>huge big scale with those in
>the top 5% being truly 10X or
>20X or 50X more productive.
>Whilst I agree with Sim that
>IT workers are overpaid, I
>think IT professionals are
>UNDERPAID!

Agree totally with your analysis about both IT-monkeys and IT-professionals.

>I think it was Tibor comment
>that employers just look for a
>particular skill set like 3
>months experience with some
>strange product like
>"Crapwere2.2", I cannot think
>of anything more shortsighted
>by an employees. Here are the
>two questions I ask during any
>interview of a potential
>employee:
>
>What product did you last
>become a true expert at?
>What IT book(s) did you last
>read?
>
>The monkey's will never have
>been an expert at anything!
>Highly skilled professionals
>will take it as there personal
>goal, to become an expert at
>any product they are given,
>quickly!

The trick is that someone who is an expert in only one thing will become obsolete reasonably quickly. What is more important is having the ability to pick up new skills and become an expert in a new area as the needs arise - which is kind of what you were saying I think.

Generalists are a difficult one to pick... a good generalist doesn't tend to be an expert in any particular field of IT, but brings other key skills along to augment their IT knowledge, such a business knowledge, project management, education and so on. I think this is where I fit in... I have inherited my parents' knack for teaching, and coupling that with my knowledge I have done well. My knowledge is certainly specialised, but not to the "guru" status of some of my colleagues.

>The monkey's are in the IT for
>a JOB, and just are not
>interested in reading books or
>learning in their own time
>about IT or computer science
>trends. ie. IT is just their
>JOB not their Profession. They
>are also the ones complaining
>that they don't get enough
>training (meaning the company
>pays them for a one week
>vacation to a training course,
>which they learn "jack"!)

Indeed. I had one of those "a-ha" moments a couple of years back when I realised why it was that the best guys in our organisation never went on training courses. I always thought it was that they were too busy. It was actually that they found it more beneficial to spend time learning it themselves as required. Learning to obtain knowledge for yourself is key in achieving excellence.

>That being said, this IT
>"professional" remembers the
>Oracle job market in the 91
>slump....not a contract to be
>had in Melbourne. A few years
>ago, I think I was at the
>"top" of my game, being sucked
>into management, I now find
>myself being "top" at neither
>the technical or managerial.
>
>I don't think Australian IT
>workers doing the low end
>"coder jobs/supporter jobs"
>have a chance against the huge
>wave in the next 3~10 years of
>skilled IT Chinese workers. We
>need to add value in a new
>different ways. I think we
>will see a decline in numbers
>of traditional IT jobs in
>Australia.

Agree. I have worked with people in India, where they churn out IT monkeys by the millions. These people are good at what they are taught, but require constant retraining to keep current. Because there are so many of them, and they cost less than their western counterparts, they will force changes in our local IT market, causing a lot of lesser skilled, but relatively expensive people to lose work.

>Here is my idea:
>The integration of business
>transactions incorporating
>intercompany/intracompany
>computer systems, performing
>transactions that today are
>done with phone, fax, order
>entry staff/ purchase
>departments / accounts payable
>receivable on both sides of
>companies is what will keep IT
>workers employed for the next
>10 or 15 years.

Okay... this has certainly been identified by industy analysts as a growth area in coming years.

>Don't do the
>programming for this, Oracle,
>SAP, IBM, Micro$oft will
>provide the tools, however
>local IT workers will need to
>be on the ground doing the
>implementations. The fax
>machine will be a thing of the
>past for transferring of
>business transactions!

Indeed, products have matured significantly in recent times. Enterprise Application Integration has been identified by analysts as the number one task on large businesses IT todo list. You no longer have to (or should) write the integration code yourself. You can buy code that has been well tested and proven to work, and is fully supported.

If anyone wants information on what can be done in this area, email me at simon.hampel@au.ibm.com - we have the technology ;-)

 
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Reply: 1.1.1.3
From: Tibor Bode


Sim,

You wrote;
>
>Many of these IT people,
>contrary to popular opinion
>(theirs), are NOT highly
>skilled professionals. Mostly
>they are what I consider to be
>monkeys who have been taught
>how to do a particular task,
>and can reproduce that on
>demand. This is in contrast to
>people who have to make their
>own decisions and are held
>responsible for those
>decisions that are made.
>
>Compare "professionals" like
>doctors, lawyers, accountants
>(real, consulting accountants
>like Dale, not number
>crunchers), engineers and
>such. Most IT people I know
>are NOT in this category,
>despite being on similar pay
>scales in many cases. These
>professionals do NOT rely on
>their employer to keep them
>skilled. They must take it
>upon themselves to continually
>learn new skills and keep up
>with the latest in
>technologies in their field of
>expertise, or be left behind.
>
I personally find your comment the least to say, very strange maybe even offensive.
I don't know your IT background, but personally I have done major developments and implementations over the past 20 years, sometimes straight from legislations (if you have not done it believe me it is real fun) with absolute minimum business input, knew (even today I know) more about the GST (what I also implemented 2 companies as well) than the professionals as part of my job was to advise them, several times I also had to advise the professionals about other IT related matter which actually effected their business and in my specific area I know more about the business than several professional people employed by business. I had to learn about all aspects of the business as IT was looked upon to provide a cost efficient solution for their antiquated and inefficient manual processes. I had to do several hundreds of hours (vast majority was unpaid) research work, read books, legislations, interpretations, etc, to be able to fulfill my task. I also know several people in the IT industry who have very strong work ethics, very knowledgeable and been highly respected, in spite of the fact that they don't have all the latest buzzwords on their CV. I also would like to see what percentage of your highly regarded professional people willing to get up at any time of the night(maybe after a 12 to 14 hours work day), solve the problem what they were presented and go back to sleep with regular frequency. Some doctors do, but I just can not think of any accountants or lawyers (sure there is always some who do it). In IT it is called "being on support".

You obviously have a very high regard for the true professionals (not IT monkeys). Maybe just as an example, when you catch the flu next time, what will your friendly local professional doctor will do? Most likely will go for antibiotics or if more sensible then will tell you not to take anything as it will not cure the flu. I am only an IT monkey, but I have to say they are simply wrong. There is an Australian invented anti flu treatment (which actually works and has been accepted around the world) called Relenza. There is also a Swiss product called Tamiflu, but as far as I know it is not available here. Ask your doctor has he ever heard about Relenza? It is available for over 3 years.
When I had the flu, I had to explain to the doctor what it was, what was the name, etc, then the doctor looked it up in the book and agreed that it might just do the task. Flu is one of the biggest killer and one of the main contributor of people being off work or have lower productivity when they are trying to "soldier on". So, why do I have to tell about it to the doctor? According to your view, they keep their skills up to date. From my example maybe not on everything, something so common as the flu. I had to tell it to 3 different doctors so it might not been a unique situation.
I don't try to demean doctors and their profession as they are doing a fantastic job
in sometimes under very harsh conditions, but I don't put them on pedestal either (neither do it with IT people, but I do not accept the trained monkey version either).

I don't want to bore you with some similar stories from the legal or accounting area, but at the same time I am trying to look at them just as realistically as I look at IT. There is good and not so good and while agree that IT lately has been "loosened" with some more not so good quality people, today they are all paying for previous bad business management decisions and corporate / shareholder greed for cutting the cost no matter what.

Anyway, as this forum is about property investing, so I might close on this subject agreeing that we disagree on it.

Tibor
 
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Sim

Administrator
Reply: 1.1.1.3.1
From: Sim' Hampel


On 7/24/02 12:05:00 PM, Tibor Bode wrote:
>
>You obviously have a very high
>regard for the true
>professionals

I have a very high regard for true professionals who know what they are doing. There are many people out there (including doctors, accountants, IT people), who are simply dangerous.

Just because someone has a degree or some qualification that says they are an expert, does not make them the right person for the job.

I do not simply visit any GP and expect them to be the best person to advise me on all matters medical. If I don't understand, or question the advice given to me, I get a second opinion.

I also only use professionals who have been personally recommended to me by people whose opinions I trust. This applies to everything. If I can't get a recommendation, I tread very carefully, measuring everything I get told, questioning their methods and motives, doing my own research until I am confident in their advice.

Nobody should be placed on a pedalstool to the point where you take their word as gospel without questioning it. Not even the ATO ;-)

All I can say in regards to IT jobs is that if you believe in fundamental economics... in a jobs market where supply exceeds demand, some people will be out of work.

If you know someone who cannot find work, it simply means they do not have skills that are needed right now. They must either change to get the skills that are needed, or they wait, unemployed, until their skills are in demand again.

 
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Reply: 1.1.1.3.1.1
From: Owen .


I have an IT jobs crisis - I have one and don't want it...


Owen

"Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich – something for nothing"
 
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Reply: 1.1.1.1.1.1.1
From: Always Learning


Yes, my point is that a person who as mastered any product, has the skills to master any new product. The person who is never be able master any product, I believe in the future will not master any new product.
<p>
If we look into evolutionary history, we see that the generalists last the longest. The specialists have their day in the sun, then die off as there specific niche environment changes, or some die off in some natural cataclysmic disaster which "changes everything". The generalist, just move on, uses what it has in new ways. Specialists die off.
<p>
Thus I like to consider myself an IT professional. Thus give me a job, I will learn crapwere2.2 in a methodological manner, plan my time, manage my resources, try to understand the big picture. I will be up an running fast!
<p>
I think that in Tibor and many like him he has had a double blow, the first is the change in tax laws for against contract workers and second the huge downturn in investment in IT industry. My memory of the 91 Oracle downturn, was that things where soft for a few months, then suddenly, everything went dead, good workers or bad workers there were no jobs. I remember some real guru developers without contracts. Only in '91 or maybe today (in Australia ) could I not find work in my "core" skill as an DBA. My advise to Tibor is to leave Aussieland if he can find another part of the world who needs his skills (www.jobserve.com).
<p>
<hr width="50%" color="pink">
<ul>

<li> Unless you change how you are, you'll always have what you've got.
<li> To have more than you've got, become more than you are.

</ul>
 
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Reply: 1.1.1.3.1.1.1
From: Ian Parham


I have the solution Owen!

...shhh, don't tell anyone, or they'll all want in....I hear there's a buck to be made in property ;>)

Ian
 
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IT jobs solution

Reply: 1.1.1.3.1.1.1.1
From: Owen .


And so this thread becomes the 'IT job solution' thread or the 'any job solution' thread if you like.

It's easy to get caught up in your own industry but the reality is it's no different in any industry. I always thought takeovers and outsourcing was a big IT thing until I had a few discussions with a friend who was a fitter and turner working contract on waterboard reservoir pumps and filters. He went through about 4 employers in 5 years doing the same job just because of takeovers. IT pales in comparison.

Ian hit the nail on the head though...if your not happy then make yourself an alternative. I hate my job (really hate it) but it is a means to an end and I have a set timeframe. I also know that I can work in anything because the J.O.B doesn't make you wealthy, it just puts a bit of temporary food on the table.

I worked 15 years in IT and then gave it up and worked in a bike shop as a mechanic for 2 years. I earned less than half of what I was earning before and bought my first IP during this time.

IT is a means to an end and so is any other job. That's why we are on this forum.

Owen

"Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich – something for nothing"
 
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Sim

Administrator
Why ?

Reply: 1.1.1.3.1.1.1.1.1
From: Sim' Hampel


On 7/25/02 9:39:00 AM, Owen . wrote:
>
>IT is a means to an end and so
>is any other job. That's why
>we are on this forum.

Agree with everything you have said, Owen.

The question people also have to answer for themselves is...

Is wealth through property a means to an end or an end in itself ?

What comes next ?

(not expecting an answer, just posing some questions for people to ponder)

 
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Why ?

Reply: 1.1.1.3.1.1.1.1.1.1
From: Owen .


>Is wealth through property a means to an
>end or an end in itself ?
>
>What comes next ?
>
I think that the 'end' is financial freedom and no J.O.B is going to give you that.

Getting out of the Rat Race has already been covered in a recent thread and appears to mean different things to different people but the goal of financial freedom allows people to make their own choices. Investing in property will be part of achieving financial freedom for me.

To me, getting out of the Rat Race is getting out from behind this desk. It doesn't mean stopping work as I will be working on my portfolio. The 'end' for me is when I really don't have to get out of bed in order to survive. Real financial freedom.

Then anything I do, I do for fun. Game over.

Owen

"Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich – something for nothing"
 
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Reply: 2
From: Adam Randall


I am one of those highly paid monkeys.
A classic saying is "you can teach a monkey to fly an aircraft, try teaching a monkey to fix it". How much do airline pilots get paid?
You are actually telling me that if an out sourcing company hires you out at $180 per hour or $240 after hours, that 60G a year and no overtime is not a fair re numeration. I would like to know what drugs you are taking.
Ive got an idea, lets make sure the top 2 % of all Australians are filthy rich because they deserve it (Jodi rich, Alan Bond, Chris Skase top blokes the lot)even though the people working for them are the ones with the skills.
I will tell you what an overpaid monkey is. Its a fat dumb self important executive on 250K per year who needs to be shown every Monday morning how to send an email.
I have spent 13 years of my life fixing other peoples F***ps, from weapons systems, to communication gear, then onto small medium and large networks. I find it highly offensive to have a blanket criticism of an Industry that no one person could ever possibly no everything, that is complex and constantly changing.
If I make a company a large amount of money I should be entitled to a portion of it. If a vital system goes down in a company of 500 people, every hour it is down costs 500 working hours. So you are telling me that you would get some low qualified wet back who takes your pocket change, and expect them to do a competent job on what is a complex group of systems that take years and years of experience to understand them all.
Be honest you are that fat greedy CEO on 250K a year, and you have finally worked out how to send your email all on your own.
 
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Sim

Administrator
Reply: 2.1
From: Sim' Hampel


I'm not sure who or what you are getting upset about Adam. My comments were a generalisation about people who get laid off and cannot find work in the IT industry then complain about how unfair it all is.

I was commenting about economics. Not about what is fair, nor about how much people should be paid. IT salaries are generally based on free-market economics.

My comments about monkeys were not targetted at anyone in particular, nor at any particular type of job. Monkeys are those people who learn things by rote and cannot think for themselves. Monkeys are generally not charged out at $240ph (the companies who pay for $240ph monkeys are suckers), and monkeys rarely work in services or consulting organisations.

I was not accusing anyone here of being monkeys, it was an observation about why there are not enough jobs to go around. When cab drivers are attending training courses and getting Microsoft certifications, then you know there is going to be an oversupply of skills.

 
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Reply: 2.1.1
From: Adam Randall


No worries sim, had a bad day, saw the word monkeys ,and decided to attack without reading the information properly, anyway I feel much better because of it.
 
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