RE: STC Salary data collection

Subject: RE: STC Salary data collection
From: "Svi Ben-Elya" <svi -at- svi -dot- co -dot- il>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 14:26:10 +0200

I am especially interested in this discussion because I take a salary survey
of technical and marcom writers in Israel every 3 months. Participation in
the survey is confidential, but not anonymous which means that I see the raw
data and can contact the people to clarify and to confirm what they report.

Anonymous reporting is not allowed to ensure accuracy, but it does
discourage some people from responding. It has take nearly 2 years to build
up a stable reporting base of roughly 200 participants, most of whom
participate regularly (there are 3 survey groups: salaried tech/marcom
writers, freelance tech/marcom writers and freelance copy editors). Actually
it took longer because the survey really began 5 years ago with informal
data collection.

It appears to be very accurate based the number of technical/marcom writers
who have used it successfully in salary negotiations. HR at many hi-tech
companies subscribe to private salary surveys that they participate in
(apparently these are the Israeli equivalents of the Radford survey
mentioned as part of this thread), so they are not likely to respond to
survey results that conflict with the information that they paid for. One
writer actually dropped out of the freelance rate survey because he
complained that clients were asking how his rates matched up with the
"elephant survey".

Although there are some writers willing to share their salary information
for the good of the community, the only way to ensure regular participation
has been to limit access to detailed results (4-5 pages, including
breakdowns) to those who participate 4 consecutive quarters and to take away
that access once they stop reporting. I also allow writers to purchase
access, but the number of people who pay for the results rather than
participate is minimal. Everyone else can view only very basic information
nd%20Rates.html .

The issue of confidentiality is a very serious issue and I'm not sure that
an organization like the STC, where the people are who will see the raw data
in order to validate it can change, can succeed in gaining the confidence of
enough writers. On the other hand, this may only be an issue in a small
country like Israel.

I am looking for ways to increase participation and would be very happy to
work with the STC (Israel chapter or internationally) as long as I don't
have to share or divulge the raw data (the loss of confidentiality would
destroy the survey entirely) and as long as participants retain their
information advantage.

If any of you have any ideas that I can use, please contact me offline (or
CC me because I don't always have time to keep up with Techwr-l).

- Svi Ben-Elya -
svi -at- ieee -dot- org


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