[Melbourne-pm] Testing the waters re an anonymous salary survey at next MelbPM meeting

Toby Corkindale toby.corkindale at strategicdata.com.au
Mon May 16 00:33:26 PDT 2011

On 16/05/11 16:52, Ian Macdonald wrote:
> Hi all,
> At Armaguard, we're currently in the process of hiring a Perl developer,
> which will bring us to 3 1/2 full time Perl developers, and I'd be
> surprised if we stopped there. Perl is very much our long-term choice
> for application development for our desktop (via wxWidgets), web
> (Catalyst) and back-end DP applications.
> One problem we're facing, and I would think we're not alone, is the
> issue of getting the budget to attract quality people; I think there's a
> tendency in traditional HR and management circles to see technical staff
> as a commodity-type resource, with little to be gained from extra
> investment. We've recently taken back control of the recruitment process
> from HR and started more in-depth technical evaluation during this
> process, but there's little point to identifying the best applicants if
> we can't afford them.
> With this problem in mind, I'd like to ask the community their thoughts
> on carrying out an anonymous salary survey during the next MelbPM
> meeting. It would be low-tech and simple; hand out preprinted A5 sheets
> at the door and have them dropped into a box at the end. The basic
> questions asked would be term (full time or contract) and salary/rate;
> beyond that, we'd ask for (but not necessarily expect) years of
> experience and area (web/desktop/middleware, etc).
> Our goal is to gather some evidence we can take to management here to
> show them what we need to be offering to attract (and retain)
> experienced Perl developers.
> I hope and believe there's nothing here to cause offense, particularly
> as participation is obviously optional. This is clearly not a
> particularly scientific survey, but hopefully any bias will work in our
> favour... (And if not, we'll just bury the report and pretend it never
> happened, in the best traditions of market research.)
> Thoughts?

Seems fair, my thoughts are:

Out of the mailing list, only a subset turn up to each meeting, 
depending on various factors.
Varies from as low as eight to as many as ~40 (when Damian last 
presented). I'd say typical numbers are more like 10-12.
So I think you may be better off running an online survey as you could 
reach many more people.

Given the small sample size, people might be worried about the 
anonymity. I mean, if you just gave these three answers:
* Number years experience
* sector (govt, education, business)
* area(s) of work (web, middleware, systems management)

Then I reckon it'd be pretty easy to line up submissions with people, 
especially if there are only a dozen responses. And I don't know if the 
number of responses will be statistically useful when broken down into 
such small groups.

How about something that just asks:
* Years of experience with Perl, select from
  - short (less than 2 years)
  - medium (between 2 and 8 years)
  - long (more than 8 years)
* Which of the following describes you?
  - My primary work focus is upon Perl development.
  - I mainly do something else, but either work on Perl outside of work, 
or from time to time at my job.

I also suggest that it'd be worth extending this survey into the other 
Perlmongers groups in Australia, in an attempt to gather a larger sample 


More information about the Melbourne-pm mailing list