Not everyone is living large in ICT land

Welcome to the good life. The bright and bullish ICT job market.

In this issue Computerworld publishes its very first reader salary survey and the results are good.

What a magnificent turnaround from 2003 when these pages were dominated by sorry tales of job losses and budget cuts.

Industry morale was at an all-time low, which is in stark contrast to the IT market readers are working in today.

But, of course, not everyone is living large. The good life has a preference for the blokes with a tendency to snub women or those born before the year 1950.

If you thought age and sex discrimination was so last century, think again.

The survey found a huge disparity between male and female salaries, but at least women are working.

Age discrimination isn't so kind with those over the age of 55 at the centre of ugly pockets of ICT unemployment.

The average salary for a male IT professional is $98,684 compared to $81,906 for a female. But to qualify that disparity I should add that male readers made up 94 percent of survey respondents proving that women are still under-represented in the IT industry.

It's hard to believe equal pay still doesn't exist in the year 2006 but sadly, 'tis true.

This disparity isn't restricted to Computerworld readers.

A survey of 660 IT executives by McNair Ingenuity Research earlier this year found the mean income for men is $134,000 compared to $92,000 for women.

It also found the highest paying companies are not the biggest.

On average, organizations with 1000 to 4999 staff paid executives $150K compared to $139K for organizations with more than 5000 staff.

But I will stop throwing numbers at you and allow readers to take a look at the results on page 10 and 11. Next week, Computerworld will drill down on your working life with survey respondents rating stress levels, job satisfaction and major challenges so stay tuned.

In other major news, the US government's probe into HP's spying scandal continues to widen with the September 28 hearing boasting a long list of high profile witnesses.

The controversy escalated when a news report revealed that HP CEO Mark Hurd may have been more involved in the scandal than previously believed. The report claimed he was aware of a disinformation campaign designed to find the source of leaks from boardroom discussions.

The campaign involved a phony HP insider whose brief was to gain the trust of a reporter, feed them false information, and in the process place a software tracer on their e-mail using an attachment. However, the cloak-and dagger-drama isn't impacting business. HP has won a US Army deal that could be worth $US5 billion over the next 10 years.

And finally, a Unisys contractor, 21-year-old Khalil Abdulla-Raheem, has been charged with stealing a desktop computer with billing information on 38,000 US veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs has admitted data on the PC was unencrypted and despite the arrest doesn't believe Abdulla-Raheem was specifically after the data.

I don't know which is more unbelievable - the fact that the data was unencrypted or that the department believes the contractor wasn't interested in the data. Are we to believe he just wanted a new PC? Unisys has offered a $US50,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the PC.

So far, nobody has come forward to claim the money.

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