Weekly Roundup: Better Skills, Better Education DO Equal More Money

Evidence of inequities in salaries. An EarthWeb analysis finds that salary levels can vary wildly between staffers with the same job title. IT experts in the top 25 percent command far more robust paychecks than their average (but still highly competent) colleagues. One example: The mean salary for all data warehouse managers in 2011 is $61,452. Compare that to the salary for the data warehouse managers in the top quartile: $90,897. The study finds that in many cases, the higher-paid workers have more aggressively sought higher paying positions by job-hopping on a regular basis. Additionally, these high wage earners typically started their career at a younger age, in a better first job, and had a more prestigious degree to propel them.

Toshiba’s U.S. business was slapped with a $100 million lawsuit for alleged discrimination against female employees over pay and promotion. The issue has also bedeviled the tech giant at home in Japan, where workplace sexism has long been acknowledged as standard operating procedure. This class-action suit, which includes 8,000 women, claims the company regularly fails to pay women equal salaries and bonuses as men who do similar work, segregates women into lower pay-grade positions and favors men for promotion. In 2008, the average wage level for women in Japan was about 68 percent of that for men, according to Japanese stats.

Google, which has been on a hiring tear, is looking for dozens of new hires to support the Android OS and its related apps. The Android market is lagging behind Apple’s enormous App Store and Google wants to turn that around, especially considering that Android was the best-selling smartphone platform during the holiday quarter. Manufacturers shipped 33.2 million Android phones worldwide during the fourth quarter, up more than 600 percent from a year earlier. In fact, Android has left Nokia’s Symbian platform in the dust, a major shift in the smartphone marketplace. (For tips on implementing Android in your IT infrastructure, click here.)

More smartphones means more mobile data consumption, but no one was expecting the breathtaking predictions made by Cisco this week. The networking giant says that worldwide mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015, reaching 6.3 exabytes per month. Cisco says that in 2015, the average mobile user will consume 1.1 gigabytes of traffic per month, compared to 65 megabytes today. The related career hint: machine-to-machine data transfer is an up-and-coming science.

Big, cash-rich tech companies are starting to throw some money around, not just to invent the next big thing but also to stimulate job growth. Intel announced plans this week to invest $100 million directly into U.S. university research over the next five years to drive innovations in computing and communications. The company will open Intel Science and Technology Centers across multiple universities, starting at Stanford. The task for the first center: to improve visual computing experiences for consumers and professionals.

Intel is also working with IBM and HP on a White House initiative to create jobs and promote growth in emerging technology areas, such as cloud computing, healthcare and mobile applications. The investment is part of the White House’s Startup America campaign, a joint effort between the public and private sector to promote new business activities and spark growth in emerging technology sectors. The investment dollars – including $200 million from Intel and $150 million from IBM – will go into the hands of companies seeking funds which, everyone hopes, will lead to the creation of jobs.

Mobile workers will get an important new social collaboration tool next week: Chatter.com from Salesforce.com, which will debut during Super Bowl commercials on Sunday. The Facebook-like tool will be available to anyone, not just SalesForce.com customers. Why does it matter? A new survey of users of Jive social enterprise software says Jive users generated 32 percent more ideas, sent 27 percent less e-mail, and found answers to questions 32 percent faster. Employees spent 42 percent more time communicating with customers, which in turn led to a better rate of customer retention. A Gartner study has found that spending on enterprise social software will grow a little more than 15 percent this year to reach about $770 million.

Upcoming Tech Events

Social Media Week

February 7-11- New York, San Francisco, Rome, Paris, Toronto, São Paulo, London, Hong Kong, Istanbul

Nokia sponsors hundreds of events around the world highlighting the latest trends in social media for fun and business.

Network Security Update: Beyond Firewalls

February 9 – Online

Join this timely eSeminar sponsored by CDW and Cisco. Security expert Sadik Al-Abdulla will share information on the latest in threat management and network access control solutions that work around the clock to protect your data and your users.

Oracle Financial Services Forum

February 9 – New York

This event brings together Oracle executives, partners, and key decision-makers from the financial services industry to share best practices and innovative ideas to meet current and future business challenges. It features a morning of thought leadership keynotes followed by six tracks on specific business issues.

State of Green Business Forum 2011

February 9-10 – Chicago

Sustainability professionals gather to learn about the latest trends, make connections, and bring home new ideas. Partners include The Sustainability Consortium, Cleantech Open, Global Reporting Initiative and the American Sustainable Business Council.

Cloud/Gov 2011

February 17 – Washington, D.C.

This fifth annual conference, formerly called SaaS/Gov, is the most comprehensive event bringing together government IT purchasers and software executives to address the government’s adoption of cloud computing. Government IT purchasers attend for free, but online registration is required.

— Don Willmott