Payroll Busters

FRAMINGHAM (03/06/2000) - Lainie Gilby-Anderson, a recruiter at Professional Consulting Network Inc. (PCN) in San Francisco, was shocked when a candidate for a project manager's position turned down a job offer at a management consulting company.

The offer included a base salary of $120,000, a 20 percent annual bonus, 2,000 shares of stock and a $10,000 sign-on bonus.

"He was only making $80,000 at his current job, but he insisted he wouldn't make a move for less than $150,000," says Gilby-Anderson. "Go figure."

These are high times for high rollers, recruiters say. At the time Computerworld's Midyear 1999 Salary Survey was conducted, a CIO with more than four years' experience commanded a salary of $200,300 in San Francisco; on Wall Street, salaries can approach the half-million mark. These figures don't include perks such as stock options, which could result in additional millions.

What other payroll-busting jobs are out there? We asked veteran technical recruiters for their takes on information technology professionals who really break the bank. According to these experts, almost any technologist with e-commerce and project management skills can ask for - and get - huge salaries and benefits. These jobs include the following:

-- Chief technology officer

Base salary range: $100,000 to $250,000-plus; varies by locationBonus range: Up to 30 percent of salaryEquity range: Variable, but can be as high as 3 percent of the company's equityIf you're second-in-command to the CIO or chief technology officer and you have years of applications development experience, your next move should be into the chief technology officer's spot, says Phil Schneidermeyer, an executive recruiter at Korn/Ferry International in Los Angeles.

At early-stage companies, the chief technology officer is one of the first hires, and therefore can receive huge stock options that could make him a millionaire. To land this job, you'll need to be a passionate problem-solver with a demonstrated record of reducing cycle time. "You have to talk in terms of ‘Damn the torpedoes, let's get this straight into production,'" Schneidermeyer says.

-- E-commerce architect

Base salary range: $120,000 to $200,000-plus; varies by locationBonus range: Up to 20 percent of salaryEquity range: VariableIf you know Java, Perl, C++ and Corba and have experience in systems architecture, you can practically name your price. Deep-pocketed companies are dying to have you work on their e-commerce sites.

"Architects who can design the Internet solution from concept through implementation are probably the hottest thing going," says Heinz Bartesch, a recruiter at PCN. "I've got a few B-to-B consulting firms that tell me, ‘If you have the candidate and they're good, we'll pay what we have to.'"-- Technical team leader/project leaderBase salary range: $100,000 to $200,000-plus; varies by locationBonus range: Up to 20 percent of salaryEquity range: VariableSenior technical team leaders with good communication, project management and leadership skills, as well as knowledge of Web languages and databases, are now worth their weight in gold.

"A dot-com division of a major Wall Street firm offered $150,000 with a $100,000 bonus, equity and relocation compensation to a candidate in Chicago who had been making $110,000," says Steve Markham, a recruiter at Pencom Systems Inc. in New York. "In the New York marketplace, the numbers are pretty crazy."

-- Practice manager

Base salary range: $80,000 to $200,000-plus; varies by locationBonus range: Up to 20 percent of salaryEquity range: VariableIf you've got a background in IT assessment and a pedigree in business development (MBA preferred), you can land a job as a point person for big projects. You'll need skills in IT operations and software assessment, as well as in marketing, staffing, budgeting and building customer relationships. A big plus: the ability to sleep well on planes.

-- Technical sales

Base salary range: $100,000 or more, plus commissions on salesBonus range: Up to 20 percent of salaryEquity range: VariableIf you have a background selling technology systems and can hook up with a company that has a hot technology product, you can do extremely well.

"One of my friends - he's 29, with about eight years' experience, from Australia - is considering a technical lead presales position for a package of $250,000 to $300,000, plus commission, plus stock," says PCN's Gilby-Anderson.

"He says, ‘If I'm going to be here in the U.S., away from home, I want to make as much money as I can to take back and live happily ever after!'" Fryer is a freelance writer in Santa Cruz, Calif.

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