WHAT is an entry/mid/senior level tech writer?

Subject: WHAT is an entry/mid/senior level tech writer?
From: "Steven J. Owens" <puff -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 4 Apr 1995 17:28:25 -0700

Hey folks,

I was just skimming through the summary of the STC salary survey.
They give different values for entry-level, mid-level, and
senior-level salaries, plus another adjustment for supervisory duties.

This set me to wondering. I know there aren't any standards for
these terms, but are there any defacto standards for what makes you a
mid-level or senior-level writer? Or perhaps we can devote some of
that boundless energy to hammering out some passable definitions?
Don't think of this as a rank thing, think of it more as a merit badge
sort of thing. i.e., what do you have to do to earn your senior
writer merit badge?


I found the summary a bit hard to digest, so I tried to boil it
down. For anybody who cares, here's my summary of the summary.

U.S. Writers
25% Median 75%
All writers $34,000 $40,000 $46,950
Entry 25,600 29,000 32,700
Mid-level 33,550 38,600 44,000
Mid-, supervisory 38,000 44,000 50,600
Senior-level, 42,000 46,500 53,500
Senior-, supervisory 42,500 51,000 58,750

< Bachelor's Degree 34,100 40,000 46,000
Bachelor's Degree 32,775 39,050 45,250
Master's Degree 36,696 42,000 50,000
Doctorate 41,000 48,000 60,500

Computer Industry 35,000 40,524 48,000
Other Industry 33,213 38,446 44,930

U.S. Medians by Zip Code
0**** N. England $45,000
1**** Northeast 39,200
2**** East Coast 39,375
3**** Southeast 38,000
4**** N. Central 36,700
5**** N. Plains 36,750
6**** C. Plains 36,200
7**** S. Plains 38,400
8**** Southwest 40,150
9**** West Coast 43,900

Canadian Writers
25% Median 75%
All writers $29,250 $32,760 $37,500
Mid-level, 27,000 31,200 35,175
Mid-, supervisory 32,250 34,500 40,950
Senior-level, 33,000 36,000 39,750

< Bachelor's 31,200 34,500 37,500
Bachelor's Degree 28,875 32,250 36,000
Master's Degree 27,713 33,750 41,250

Computer Industry 27,750 33,000 37,500
Other Industry 30,000 32,400 36,000

Canadian Medians by CPC
H $31,500
J 32,760
K 33,750
L 32,625
M 35,625
N 36,563
T 34,500
V 34,425

Additional Compensation
(for both Canadian and U.S. Writers)

Percentage expecting a bonus: 40.0%
Median bonus: $1,200
Mean bonus: $2,424
Percentage expecting a raise: 87.7%
Median raise: 5.0%

Survey Methodology

Number of members questioned: 1,600
Number of respondents: 871
Number of responses discarded: 163 (non-full-time or employed in gov/educ.)
Number of responses tabulated: 708


Typical Writer Composite
39 years old
female
full-time writer/editor
4-year college degree or higher
8 years of tech comm experience
general computer skills
writes in the computer industry
paid $40,000 per year
entered the profession from a non-technical communication position
has belonged to the STC for at least 2 years


I will note, for those who haven't read the summary, that female
writers are doing pretty well, at 98 cents on the dollar compared to
male writers. According to the survey this is above average for the
national standard, and it's apparently been a 16% or so improvement
over the last nine years. I haven't included more info on the gender
gap because I think the principle use of this information (knowing
what you're worth) should go by the overall median; scrutinizing the
gender gap provides an interesting perspective (and I recommend you
get the full summary and do so) but in general use I feel women should
*demand* to be paid by the overall median.

Steven J. Owens
puff -at- netcom -dot- com


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