SDN architectures

Salary Survey Report 2014

Things are finally looking up in the telecom market, with employees upbeat about their jobs, salaries and prospects.

In fact, 72% of those in the industry are satisfied with their current employer, and nearly 70% expect to make more money next year, according to Light Reading's latest global salary survey.

This is the fourth year we've conducted the survey and, this year, nearly 1,200 of you, including representatives from 326 telecom service providers, chimed in on what you're making, how the headcount has changed at your company, and how you feel about the future (your own and that of your company). (See Salary Survey: What's It Worth to You?)

Here are some key findings:

  • NFV/SDN is not yet having an effect on most companies' recruitment policies, but many are still hiring 4G/LTE skills, albeit it at a slower rate than last year. The good news is that the shift to next-gen mobile broadband and the introduction of telco network virtualization isn't leading to any significant layoffs (yet).
  • Our respondents are fairly satisfied with their current company and pay, but they're more optimistic for raises and advancement next year.
  • A much higher percentage of people indicated this time round that they would be prepared to leave their current employer for reasons such as more money, or greater stability.

It's refreshing to see a return to positivity. We began conducting the salary survey in 2010 when the telecom industry was still clawing its way out of the recession. At that time, it was no longer in a trough, but the labor market was in a bad state, as was employee moral.

Dr. Peter Mueser, professor of labor economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia, told us at the time that most weren't thinking beyond the fact that they have a job. Since then, he says, it's been a slow climb out of the recession. Unemployment rates are still around 6% to 7%, but the economy, in general, is much healthier.

"We're not where we'd like the economy to be, by any means," Mueser says. "It's a very slow recovery. Looking back in history, you do find recessions with very slow recoveries, but in the last 30 years, the recoveries have been much faster than this."

Other dynamics are at play, too. Many big operators are investing significantly in their networks through programs such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s Project VIP, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s Network Vision, and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD)'s Project Spring. (See AT&T Puts Up $14B to Boost Broadband, Sprint Hunkers Down for Network Vision, and Vodafone Ups 'Project Spring' Capex to $11B+.)

At the same time, the move towards virtualization and automation is making a few positions redundant. And, as always, consolidation typically leads to more layoffs -- and more money for upper management -- something Sprint employees have realized recently. It makes for interesting dynamics in terms of hiring, firing, and money matters. (See Sprint Lays Off 800 Customer Service Reps and Sprint Axes More Clearwire Employees.)

Against this backdrop, we've broken down the salary survey into demographics, numbers, changes, and expectations. To find out and learn more, click on the table of contents below.

To revisit Salary Surveys from the past four years, click on the links below (and use "Next Page" at the bottom of each to navigate).

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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lindafaust 8/11/2014 | 1:40:03 PM
Re: Ha! Most Admire Companies list... Hi Liz/Sarah/Jon,

I saw that post from Jon, and wanted to comment.

I'm one of Transmode's 20%.   I've been in technology for 30 years and have found the company to be the most gender neutral environment I've worked in.   I believe the key issue we face for getting more women into Transmode or other technology companies starts when they are in high school.  We lose bright middle schoolers that are interested in math and science during these years.  Of course there are other challenges in the future, but this is the really big one.

I have 2 children finishing their senior year in college.  My son studying computer science, my daughter studying mechanical engineering.  Both tell me that men vastly outnumber women in all of their classes.  My daughter has actually found that being female has brought many advantages to her, as it makes her different.  This has made her more visible when applying for internships/jobs.



Jon B Transmode 8/8/2014 | 2:14:29 PM
Re: Ha! Most Admire Companies list... Hi Sarah - I'll pass that on, although I think most will wait until you do a Stockholm one!

Hi Liz - Sorry that you took my comments that way, that wasn't the intention. We certainly don't have quotas, just aim to get the very best person for each role. Male or female. I would suspect that something like that would be against Swedish employment law anyway.

I'm not involved in day to day recruitment so I don't see the lists of applicants for roles but there is certainly a recruitment-pool factor here. When I did my electronic engineering degree (which was a little while ago now) there were 90-95% males on the course. I hope that has changed and the subject is more appealing to all now.

sarahthomas1011 8/8/2014 | 1:26:06 PM
Re: Ha! Most Admire Companies list... Thanks for the perspective, Jon. Invite the two and 20% to our Women in Telecom breakfast, please! :)
Liz Greenberg 8/8/2014 | 12:31:54 PM
Re: Ha! Most Admire Companies list... Jon,  I think that you state part of the problem unintentionally and I quote "20% might not sound like a lot but we believe it is a good level for a company like ours with a lot of technical staff".  As a female engineer that sounds like a quota to me, why should 20% be considered good? It isn't really unless only 20% of the available pool of talent are women.

I can tell you that knowing that I would not even apply to your company because it tells me that you prefer males.  I realize that this is unintentional on your part or maybe your company's part but it is a bias.  Just food for thought not intended as a flame.
Jon B Transmode 8/8/2014 | 11:11:36 AM
Re: Ha! Most Admire Companies list... Hi Liz/Sarah,

I'm not sure if all companies do this but we report these stats (female employees etc) in our sustainability report each year:


20% of new hires in 2013 were female (see page 14 of the 2013 report) and 2 of our management team are female, inc VP R'n'D. 20% might not sound like a lot but we believe it is a good level for a company like ours with a lot of technical staff.

Hope that's of some interest, apologies if not!


Liz Greenberg 7/25/2014 | 3:04:09 PM
Re: Ha! Most Admire Companies list... Thanks Sarah.  Per your post, the issue is pervasive across the tech sector.  It really is an ingrained attitude which is reflected all the way through the employment process.  From the moment women apply for jobs through the pay they receive for the same work.  Time and again, women get promoted to soft positions in HR, Diversity etc and rarely to anything technical.  It was great to see that HP has a woman leading the charge for their NFV work.  Maybe more companies will follow their example and look to their qualified women to lead highly visible projects. of course, their CEO is also a woman.
sarahthomas1011 7/25/2014 | 2:53:15 PM
Re: Ha! Most Admire Companies list... I'll shoot you an email, Liz! The breakfast is totally free for women in the biz.
Liz Greenberg 7/25/2014 | 2:50:59 PM
Re: Ha! Most Admire Companies list... Sarah, I was thinking of signing up for the conference and the breakfast but I couldn't find a conference price, plus my email domain is NOT a "certified" one. 
sarahthomas1011 7/25/2014 | 2:20:44 PM
Re: Ha! Most Admire Companies list... Good point, Liz. We did ask about age and other demographics, but not male or female. I have a feeling the survey would be heavily skewed towards males. In fact, that's why we are hosting our first Women in Telecom breakfast in September! We're hoping to do our part to help redress the imbalance in the industry. 

More details here: http://www.lightreading.com/NFVDataCenter2014/womenstelecombreakfast.html
sarahthomas1011 7/25/2014 | 2:19:18 PM
Re: Ha! Most Admire Companies list... Ray, I'm so glad you're on board with Chipotle now! It made me quite sad that you hadn't tried it before. Definitely a company I admire, at least for its burrito bowls.
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