Watch a Dice Virtual Career Fair In Action

Network with tech professionals virtually and efficiently

Conduct interviews with talented technology professionals online without the cost, time and effort of travel. Meet experienced tech candidates in a live, virtual environment where you can chat, review resumes, schedule interviews, and do everything else you normally would at a traditional job fair — but in a much more efficient format.

Watch example features of a Dice Virtual Career Fair:.


Premium and Standard Virtual options are available, including:

  • Customizable booth in the Virtual Exhibit Hall that you can build out to match your brand
  • Eight content tabs inside your booth for company overview, brochures/flyers, videos, job postings, FAQs, etc.
  • Post-event reporting of booth visits, chat transcripts, resume submissions, and job applications
  • Your tech openings will be accessible to candidates for 30 days after the event
  • Multiple job postings and recruiters are welcome, with add-on options


Contact us for more info: 1-800-979-DICE (3423) or


How Expedia Increased Tech Hires 150 Percent

Don’t let the sunglasses fool you – Expedia’s Jeremy Langhans (@jer425) means business.

He’s the Program Manager for Global Brand and Talent Attraction at Expedia, and has deep expertise in sourcing, research, and social media to attract talent. Dice asked him about hiring trends and behaviors, and we were delighted to hear about Expedia’s growth in successful tech hires.

Watch to find out:

  • How technology hiring at Expedia has grown
  • What Langhans thinks contributed to that success
  • His advice on making the most of your tech recruiting efforts


In short, Langhans has seen a year-over-year increase in technology hiring on Dice by 150%. That’s actual conversions – meaning job postings on Dice that directly converted to hires for Expedia.

Why the growth? Langhans has three reasons:

  • Dice fits the dynamic of narrowcasting (as opposed to broadcasting) information about your tech jobs to a specialized audience
  • He has seen more availability of candidates on Dice, especially for tech engineering, analytics, and general corporate IT roles
  • Segmentation and the way Expedia handles their job postings has been key

How can you capitalize on tech recruiting opportunities? Langhans recommends:

  • Post ALL your openings so your inventory is out there for tech pros to find
  • If hiring multiple people for the same position, differentiate your postings with small tweaks to opening sentences or title
  • Be authentic and transparent – Don’t say you want a “rock star” if you’re hiring (and budgeting for) an entry-level position.

“Make sure you have all your jobs posted. Don’t just put one or two of your…jobs on Dice.”

The Latest in IT Hiring: Dice’s Q1 Tech Trends Report

From the hottest IT skills to the fastest growing cities in tech, our Q1 2012 Tech Trends Report is a must-read for anyone involved in today’s technology hiring market.

Download Dice’s Q1 2012 Tech Trends Report here.
NOTE: Please allow a few moments for the PDF file to load.

We’ve condensed in-depth industry information into this quick snapshot, so you can quickly and easily discover:

  • A snapshot of tech employment
  • Unemployment rates for specific IT-related job titles
  • Retention and turnover data
  • 10 fastest growing cities in tech
  • 10 hottest IT skills
  • Trends in U.S. tech salaries nationally, along with special supplements for technology hubs – Silicon Valley, New York, Baltimore/Washington, D.C. and Boston

ClearanceJobs Compensation Survey Results for 2012

Earnings are up for security-cleared professionals, but so are career concerns

A comprehensive earnings survey of security-cleared professionals, with 11,436 respondents from November 2011 to January 2012 – provided by

Download a printable PDF of the ClearanceJobs Compensation Survey.

Key Findings

Earnings(1) for professionals with an active federal security clearance increased over two percent since the 2011 ClearanceJobs Compensation Report, with an average total compensation of $90,865. The average base pay for cleared workers is $76,152, with additional compensation in the form of overtime, danger pay and bonuses contributing another 19 percent, or $14,713.

Information security professionals dubbed 2011 the “Year of the Hack.” But even in the face of congressional budget cuts, cybersecurity spending continued to rise across both the government and private sector. Government agencies, including the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security, increased cybersecurity spending in Fiscal Year 2013 budget requests. As demand for certified cybersecurity talent increases, the earnings of security-cleared information technology professionals, engineers, and program managers, in particular, is rising.

Survey respondents trend young, with the highest percentage of respondents between the ages of 25-34 and are highly educated, citing ten or more years of experience.

Teleworking in a classified environment remains a challenge for government agencies and their contractors. However, the 30 percent of respondents in the survey who were able to telework ranked it as their most important benefit – listing it above stock options, 401ks or even health insurance.

Despite high salaries and moderate job satisfaction, career concerns are up among respondents. With the Department of Defense aiming to cut $487 billion in spending over the decade at the request of the White House, and all federal agencies tightening their fiscal belts, loss of contract funding, position elimination and increased workload rank high among concerns of survey respondents.

While security-cleared base pay rose in 2011, compensation over base pay (including bonuses, stock options, overtime and danger pay) decreased. In 2010 respondents reported an average of $16,177 in compensation above base pay; in 2011 the number was $14,713. A variety of factors contributed to the decrease, including fewer bonuses paid due to market uncertainty, and withdrawal of U.S. military troops from Iraq who received danger pay and other incentives.

(1) Earnings or total compensation is inclusive of salaries, bonuses, danger pay, overtime and other forms of monetary compensation.

A New Wave of Cleared Talent

As service members return home from Iraq and Afghanistan and active duty forces shrink, young security-cleared professionals are entering the workforce, just as baby boomers are retiring.

Growing demand for defense industry cybersecurity professionals of any age or career level means an increase in associated certifications. Forty percent of respondents possessed one or more certifications, including Security +, CISSP, and CCNA – all highly coveted by federal agencies and contracting companies.

Survey respondents are flexible, with 73 percent citing a willingness to relocate. Even government employees – a group more widely considered to be “entrenched” in their jobs and communities – 78 percent cited a willingness to relocate.

More than half of respondents have college degrees, including 22 percent who have obtained a master’s degree. As in other job sectors, there is a strong correlation between education level and compensation. A college degree results in an additional $17,000 above base pay over those security-cleared professionals with “some college”, and a graduate degree an additional $15,000 – $33,000 on top of that.

Survey respondents continue to be primarily male, with men outnumbering women four to one. Surveyed men reported average compensation of $93,983 whereas women reported average compensation of $79,098. However, when statistically controlling for years of experience, education levels, and job type there is no significant earnings differential between women and men.

Will Work from Anywhere

It may be surprising to note that 64 percent of respondents listed telework as a workplace benefit. The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to create telework opportunities for employees who are eligible. Federal agencies have ramped up implementation of the Act over the past year, which is demonstrated in the number of respondents eligible to telework.

Perhaps even more interesting than the number of respondents who are eligible to telework is how important it is to them. Among those able to telework, more rank it as their most important benefit than stock options, pensions, or even health insurance.

While half of security-cleared respondents work 40 hours per week, nearly 30 percent work 40-50 hours per week and 13 percent work more than 60 hours per week.

The Cleared Workplace

  • The majority of respondents are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ satisfied with their compensation
  • Respondents working overseas are more satisfied with their jobs than stateside counterparts
  • Government contractors in the survey were more satisfied with their jobs than government employees

Over half (58 percent) of respondents were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ satisfied with their level of compensation, relatively the same figure as from the previous security clearance compensation survey when cleared workers’ earnings took a slight dip. One in four respondents were dissatisfied with their compensation. Satisfaction is naturally highly related to salary levels, but even some top earners were dissatisfied with their compensation. Twelve percent of the highest earners – those with an average base pay of $136,076 – were dissatisfied with their earnings.

When it comes to overall job satisfaction, security-cleared respondents are largely happy in their work, with 22 percent very satisfied and 38 percent somewhat satisfied. Job satisfaction is somewhat related to base pay but perhaps not as much as one might think. Dissatisfaction is just eight percentage points higher, when comparing the lowest income security-cleared professionals (29 percent) with the highest cleared earners (21 percent).

A figure that may seem surprising is the job satisfaction of those working overseas, particularly in the Middle East. Sixty-eight percent of those working in Afghanistan and 73 percent of those working in Iraq were satisfied with their jobs.

Government contractors were slightly more likely to be satisfied with their jobs than their government employee counterparts (62 versus 58 percent). Older workers were also more likely to be satisfied than younger workers, and despite growing cuts in large programs, cleared aerospace engineers were among the most satisfied workers, but were bested by telecom engineers and industrial security professionals.

Ready to Move

  • Highest earners say they are most likely to change jobs in the coming year
  • One-in-five of all respondents say they’re likely to change jobs in the coming year

Twelve percent of respondents considered themselves ‘very likely’ to change jobs in the next year. Another 10 percent said they were ‘likely’ to change jobs in the next year. Almost half (43 percent) said they were ‘not at all likely’ to change jobs. Perhaps surprising, the highest earners listed themselves as the most likely to change jobs.

Of respondents who received a pay increase, 25 percent cited a change in position – either to a new company (17 percent) or within the same company (8 percent). Personal performance was cited by 41 percent.

Career Concerns Up

High levels of career concern were expressed by respondents. ‘Loss of contract funding’ topped the concerns at 43 percent, and ‘increased workload due to staff cuts’ was second at 40 percent. Position elimination and lower salary/billing rates tied for third at 38 percent. These numbers are higher than 2010’s reported figures with ‘increased workload due to staff cuts’ seeing the largest increase.

Earners by Job Category

  • IT professionals are ‘power-earners’ among cleared professionals in the survey, when compared to all other non-IT candidates combined
  • Engineering and IT program managers are the highest paid occupations in the survey

Base pay and total compensation vary greatly based on occupation. Nearly a third of respondents work in IT, more than double the 14 percent who fall under the “Intelligence” occupational category. IT professionals as an occupational category are the biggest earners and saw large pay increases by a significant margin when compared to non-IT professionals. Removing IT professionals from the pool of respondents decreases the percentage change in total compensation for security-cleared professionals to just over 1 percent. IT professionals, in contrast, saw a 9 percent increase in base pay, earning approximately $13,000 more than their non-IT counterparts.

Other occupational categories reported large increases in total compensation as well. Finance professionals reported total compensation increases of just over 10 percent. Additionally, cleared workers in Administrative, Legal, and Graphic Arts professions noted an almost 17 percent increase in total compensation.

Program managers – particularly those in engineering and IT fields – were the highest paid security-cleared professionals in the survey. Program managers for IT earned an average of $121,496 in total compensation and program managers for engineering earned an average of $123,199. These highly compensated positions likely reflect the growth of high-dollar, high-profile IT and engineering projects across the government sector including data center consolidation, cloud migration, and rapid increases in cybersecurity spending. Cleared professionals with experience implementing these critical programs could reap the rewards with higher compensation.

Occupation plays a major role in base pay versus total compensation. Telecom engineering, IT telecom, intelligence, law enforcement and logistics all earned at least 25 percent beyond their base pay in additional compensation.

Contractor, Government Employee or Active-Duty Military

  • Government contractors earned significantly more than government employees, $100,497 versus $85,128
  • Despite federal pay freezes, government employees, as a group, reported a rise in earnings in 2011

The majority of respondents (60 percent) work for a government contractor. One in five are in the military and 11 percent work for the government. Contractors cited earnings increases just one percentage point higher than their counterparts in the federal government, which may seem surprising considering the federal government pay freeze. Government employees who saw pay increases likely experienced within-grade pay increases, periodic increases in a general schedule employee’s base pay, which were not affected by the freeze. While active duty military pay increases are mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act, there was little reported change in both base pay and total compensation by these survey respondents.

The average contractor earnings were significantly higher, at $100,497 versus $85,128 for government employees and $68,315 for military.

For service members, compensation above base pay continues to be a major factor. For all respondents, total compensation is 19 percent higher than base pay. For service members, compensation above base pay ranges from 37 percent for the National Guard to 44 percent for the Army.

A majority (65 percent) of respondents work in support of the Department of Defense and military branches. A very distant second (5 percent) supply the Department of Homeland Security. When it comes to percentage change in base pay, however, those supporting DHS earned a premium over their counterparts, with a nearly 12 percent increase over the past year. Those higher earnings are likely related to the push to hire more cybersecurity professionals within the agency. DHS was approved to hire 1,000 new cybersecurity professionals over three years, and while it was only able to fill several hundred of those positions, largely through insourcing, the salaries needed to continue to fill vacancies will likely trend upward.


Those employed at the CIA also saw a significant change in both base pay and total compensation over last year, with a reported average base salary of $109,768.

Earnings by Geography

  • Overseas cleared workers earn significantly more than their stateside counterparts
  • The District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts and Virginia had the highest earnings

The majority of security-cleared professionals in the survey work in the United States, but over five percent work in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other overseas assignments for security-cleared professionals in the survey include Germany, Kuwait, Japan and South Korea. Those employed outside of the U.S. garner higher earnings, $135,154 versus $85,981 for those working in the U.S.

Not surprisingly, those working in Iraq and Afghanistan earned approximately 70 percent of their overall earnings in the form of compensation above base pay.

Those employed outside the U.S. earned more in both base pay and total compensation and saw higher earnings increases than those in the U.S.

Alabama had the greatest increase in earnings, while New Jersey saw the greatest decrease. Total compensation in New Jersey dropped from just under $100,000 to $88,277. The closing of New Jersey’s Fort Monmouth in September 2011 as a result of BRAC is the likely cause of an 11 percent decrease in earnings reported between the 2011 and 2012 surveys. Responsible for a number of highly-skilled and highly-paid cleared jobs in the fields of engineering, electronics, surveillance, and reconnaissance, the offices and positions formerly at Fort Monmouth were relocated primarily to facilities in Maryland and Ohio.

The Nation’s Capital

  • Virginia and Maryland continue to battle for defense and cyber business
  • Fairfax County boasts the highest compensation at $104,921

Nearly 40 percent of respondents work in the Capital region of District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Working in the seat of the federal government pays – those in the Capital region earn an average of $97,838, approximately $10,000 to $30,000 more than other regions.

Fairfax County had the most respondents in the DC metro area, and salaries were also the highest in the area. The average total compensation for cleared professionals in Fairfax County was reported as $104,921. That’s over $10,000 more than nearby Arlington County, which has an average total compensation of $93,413.

Virginia and Maryland are both working hard to attract and retain cybersecurity and defense industry business. A new marketing campaign launched by Virginia governor Bob McDonnell touts the over 300 cybersecurity companies based in Virginia, and Forbes recently ranked Virginia the second best state to do business. In the past five years defense contractors including Computer Sciences Corporation, BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman have moved their headquarters to Virginia.

BRAC and the standing up of U.S. Cyber Command have brought thousands of new jobs and companies to Maryland in the past several years, as well. An estimated 51 cybersecurity companies have relocated to Maryland, bringing about 5,000 new jobs, according to state representative James Malone.

Clearance Level

  • Most common clearance levels reported were Top Secret/SCI (40% in 2011) followed closely by Secret (34% in 2011)
  • Difference in reported base salaries between Intelligence Agency-issued clearances and Department of Defense Secret clearances is almost $35,000

Once again, an intelligence agency-issued clearance proved to be the most lucrative in terms of earnings. The base pay difference between an intelligence agency clearance and a DoD secret clearance was more than $35,000. Reflecting access to sensitive information and facilities, there is a premium paid to cleared professionals with intelligence agency clearances.

Base salaries and total compensation increased for all clearance types except for DoD secret clearances, which saw flat total compensation from the 2011 to 2012 surveys and only a modest increase in base pay. DoD Top Secret/SCI was the most commonly held clearance held by respondents.

Polygraph Level

  • Full-Scope or Lifestyle Polygraph holders make up only 9% of this year’s respondents

Those surveyed cleared professionals with a lifestyle polygraph enjoyed a particularly high increase in base pay of just under 12 percent. Approximately 23 percent of survey respondents noted having a polygraph. Overall, individuals with a polygraph saw significantly higher increases than those without, with average earnings in the six figures, reflecting an expected increase in wages for a known small talent pool.

A polygraph is used to assist in a person’s screening for trustworthiness, and is a pivotal step in increasing access to sensitive positions and facilities, particularly within the intelligence community. A counterintelligence polygraph is most commonly used, and typically includes questions about espionage or sabotage, contact with a foreign government or disclosure of classified materials. A lifestyle polygraph concerns the person’s personal life and issues, and whether or not he or she would be susceptible to blackmail. A full-scope polygraph is a combination of both polygraphs.


The 2012 Security Clearance Compensation Survey indicates good news for both cleared professionals and defense industry recruiters. Base salaries are on the rise, particularly for in-demand IT professionals and program managers. Those same individuals are also willing to make a move in the next year, particularly if the right opportunity – and a competitive salary – is offered. Organizations looking to attract skilled cleared talent should not have any more difficulty doing so than in previous years. However, they will need to consider flexibility – such as telework options – in conjunction with more traditional incentives such as retirement savings. Employers willing to consider cleared professionals who are ready to relocate will find their selection of candidates increased.

2012 Security Clearance Compensation Survey – Corporate Edition
Only from

Having trouble getting accurate salary and compensation data for security-cleared workers when determining salaries, bonuses, or responding to contract proposals? Finding compensation data on security-cleared professionals has never been easier or more powerful. The new Security Clearance Salary Survey Corporate Edition contains two primary components for you to use:

Compensation Survey Query Tool
— Run your own custom queries on the 2011, 2010 and 2009 data set to produce accurate salary and compensation data in a flash
— Query on all questions from the survey, including any combination of the following fields:

  • Country
  • State
  • Gender
  • Total Annual Compensation Change Last Year
  • Primary Reason for Compensation Increase
  • Security Clearance Level
  • Polygraph Level
  • Employment Type
  • Government Agency worked For/With
  • Years Experience
  • Highest Education Level
  • Salary Satisfaction
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Closest Appropriate Job Category

— Receive average, median, high, and low salaries and compensation for your custom queries
— Ability to filter results by removing extremes in the data

Expanded Compensation Survey Report
Produced by and Cypress Research Group, a business and economics consulting firm, the Expanded Salary Survey Report contains more than 40 pages of rich data and astute analysis. Each question on the original survey is separately handled, page-by-page. Tables of data are combined and cross-referenced with other key data to demonstrate trends. Direct comparisons to data from the last year is made where applicable. The Expanded Salary Survey Report is provided in PDF format for easy printing in an attractive format.

What You Get

  • One (1) license to the Security Clearance Compensation Survey Query Tool with 2011 data installed
  • Direct download of the 2012 Expanded Security Clearance Salary Survey Report
  • Direct download of the public version of the 2012 Security Clearance Salary Survey Whitepaper and original press release
  • Direct download of all previous Security Clearance Salary Surveys 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
  • FREE – For use with the Security Clearance Compensation Survey Query Tool, all 2010 and 2011 data installed!

To Purchase
To purchase or for additional information, please contact

Building a Better Dice Search with Boolean Operators

Advanced TalentMatch Search Types

Dice’s unique Advanced TalentMatch tool searches candidates’ profiles and resume text to pull matching candidates for you. Enter the keywords you need and select one of three options: Match All Words, Match Any Words, or Boolean. Skills listed in the Keywords field will be highlighted in yellow on the candidates’ profile and resume, allowing you to scan quickly for matches.

Match all words – Same as using AND between each of the words.

  • Ex: Java UNIX C++
  • Selecting “Match All Words” will return candidates who have Java AND UNIX AND C++

Match any words – Same as using OR between each of the words.

  • Ex: Java UNIX C++
  • Selecting “Match Any Words” will return candidates who have either Java OR UNIX OR C++ OR any combination of the three skills

Boolean –  A way to be more specific in your search by using Boolean operators such as AND, OR, NOT, and parentheses.

AND: Returns results where all search terms exist. If search terms are listed in a Boolean search without any Operators, AND is the system default.

OR: Returns results where at least one of the search terms exists.

NOT: Excludes results where the search terms after NOT are present.

  • Ex: Java AND Oracle AND SQL – will find candidates who have listed all three keywords.
  • Ex: Java AND Oracle NOT SQL – will find candidates who have listed Java and Oracle, while excluding candidates who have listed SQL.

Parentheses: Allows you to create sub-queries to definitively include certain terms while making others optional.

  • Ex: Java (UNIX OR C++) – will find candidates that have Java and either UNIX or C++
  • Ex: Java (UNIX NOT C++) – will find candidates that have Java and UNIX, but will exclude any candidates that have C++

Helpful Hints

The following search methods apply to all three Advanced TalentMatch search types, and can help you use your search time more effectively.

Quotation Marks: Using quotation marks allows you to group keywords together for an exact match.

  • Ex: “web developer” – will return candidates whose resumes contain that exact phrase, rather than results with the word “web” in one place and “developer” in another.

Words will automatically stem or branch (unless you put them in quotations). For example, if you search for the word Visual, you may also receive matches that include Visuals, Visualize, etc.

  • Ex: devel – will find candidates who have any of the following: Developer, developed, develops, developing

With skills that are commonly abbreviated such as QA be sure to search for the complete word(s) as well as the abbreviation so you don’t miss any candidates.

  • Ex: Use the Boolean search (QA OR “Quality Assurance”) and it will return both sets of terms.

In some cases words will automatically bring up the written version or skills that are related.

  • Ex: VB will also bring up Visual Basic and vba
  • Ex: Java will also bring up ejb and J2ee

The following abbreviations will produce the synonyms below:

  • c# will also bring up csharp
  • vc will also bring up visual c
  • sql will also bring up sequel
  • vb will also bring up visual basic and vba
  • ms will also bring up microsoft
  • ejb will also bring up j2ee and java
  • solaris will also bring up sun
  • AS400 will also bring up AS 400 and AS-400
  • pl sql will also bring up pl-sql
  • udb will also bring up db2

Drill down into your search results by utilizing the “Refine Your Search” section on the left side of the results Summary page.

If you find yourself looking for the same kinds of candidates repeatedly, save time by saving your search as a Search Agent. You can have up to 20 total saved Search Agents, of which 10 can be enabled at a time. New candidate matches will be emailed to you daily from your 10 enabled search agents.

Keywords can be more than just technical skills.Try including other terms that might be relevant, such as a specific industry or past employer.

Dice Tech Salary Survey Results

Released January 24, 2012.

Tech professionals see pay jump.
Bonus popularity on the rise.

Download a printable PDF of the Dice Tech Salary Survey Results.

Technology professionals enjoyed their largest annual salary growth since 2008, according to the latest Dice Tech Salary Survey. After two straight years of wages remaining nearly flat, tech professionals on average garnered salary increases of more than 2%, boosting their average annual wage to $81,327 from $79,384 in 2010.

A more considerable jump was noted in both size of average bonuses, up 8% to $8,769, and the number of technology professionals receiving bonuses: 32% in 2011, compared with 29% in 2010 and 24% in 2009. The industries most likely to pay out bonuses: Telecom, Hardware, Banking, Utilities/Energy and Software.

“Finally! Compensation has mustered some momentum, as more and more top tech markets are notching increases in pay. Silicon Valley’s compensation moved first and wrote the playbook for highly qualified tech professionals to ask for more – whether that be in Seattle, Houston or Raleigh,” said Tom Silver, SVP, North America at Dice. “The increasing popularity of bonuses shows companies are rewarding their top performers. While everyone loves a bonus, anyone who has been through a cycle knows that bonuses both reward and punish. In fast-changing markets, it’s imperative for highly skilled tech professionals to capitalize on their career and compensation options.”

Six-figure Silicon Valley

In Silicon Valley, annual tech salaries topped six figures for the first time since the survey began about a decade ago. The highest in the nation, Silicon Valley’s annual salary of $104,195, increased 5% year/year. In addition, bonuses are both fatter and more frequent in Silicon Valley – with 38% of tech professionals receiving bonuses at an average of $12,450.

While the Valley’s resurgence is well documented, other tech markets did exceptionally well too. In fact, 12 of the top 20 cities for tech jobs had above average wage growth. Austin had a 13% jump in pay to average $89,419. Portland, OR showed an annual wage increase of 12% to $82,055; Houston saw 7% growth ($89,307); and Washington D.C./Baltimore experienced nearly 6% growth ($94,317).

Chicago and Seattle each garnered 5% increases in average tech salaries, Denver and Dallas/Ft. Worth managed 4% growth, while New York, Los Angeles and Raleigh, North Carolina each increased 3%.

“Conventional wisdom says that as Silicon Valley goes, so goes the tech world. That’s true, and Silicon Valley is going well, but it doesn’t tell the entire story when it comes to tech employment,” added Mr. Silver. “Nationally, we’re seeing stiffer competition and higher salaries for tech pros with the right skill sets and the right experience level.”

Difference makers: skills and experience

While salaries are on the rise among technology professionals, entry-level salaries continue to be pushed downward, according to the survey. The professionals who generally saw their wages increase were those with 11 or more years of experience in their field.

The skills that commanded six-figure salaries and had above average year/year growth are:

“This looks like a push towards enterprise java — with WebSphere, JBoss and WebLogic showing outsized gains,” said Alice Hill, Managing Director, “Not to mention, a continuation of the trends we’ve seen toward tech professionals helping their companies gain more insight into their cost structures, customer behavior and emerging trends. If tech professionals spark companies to win by harnessing their data, that’s when the tech department is no longer seen as a cost center, but a strategic partner in meeting companies’ goals.”

Additional valuable salary tables

Dice Salary Survey Methodology

The Dice Salary Survey was administered online with 18,325 employed technology professionals responding between September 19 and November 21, 2011. Respondents were invited to participate in the survey through a notification on the Dice home page, and registered technology professionals were sent an email invitation. A cookie methodology was used to ensure that there was no duplication of responses between or within the various sample groups, and duplicate responses from a single email address were removed.

The Cost of Bad Hiring Decisions Runs High

Five Tips for Hiring the Right Candidate

By Fred Yager

If you ever wonder why companies take so long in deciding which candidate to hire for a particular position, consider this: the cost of selecting the wrong person can run into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, not to mention the potential negative impact to a company’s morale and productivity.

The Harvard Business Review points out that as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions.

There is a wide disparity among what a wrong hire can cost a company because there are so many variables. For example, the Labor Department estimates it can cost on average one-third of a new hire’s annual salary to replace him or her and that those costs increase the higher up in the organization the turnover occurs. In some cases, it can total in the millions of dollars if that person is the CEO.

Others say it could be even higher than that. According to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), it could cost up to five times a bad hire’s annual salary. SHRM also found that the higher the person’s position and the longer they remain in that position, the more it will cost to replace him or her.

Recruiters I spoke with said that if you make a mistake in hiring and you recognize and rectify the mistake within six months, the cost of replacing that employee is still going to cost you two and one-half times the person’s salary. That means a poor hiring decision for a candidate earning $100,000 per year could cost, on average, $250,000, and that expense comes right off the bottom line.

Why Are These Costs So High?

Expenses associated with hiring include interview expenses such as travel, hotel and meals, training and orientation, employment testing, termination costs such as Cobra, unemployment and potential litigation expenses should the candidate decide to sue you for wrongful dismissal, plus relocation costs and outplacement or career transition costs. But mostly it’s because you need to repeat the entire hiring process to replace the wrong hire, which includes time and expenses.

There are also hard-to-quantify costs that could be lethal to your business such as lower employee morale, customer dissatisfaction, lost customers, lost sales, reduced quality of products and low production. “Plus, whenever someone is terminated, there’s a disruption among the other employees who begin to question what caused the termination and does it affect how their performance is evaluated, not to mention the increased work load on all the other employees who have to pick up the work of the employee who was let go,” explained Jean Gamble, a Human Capital Strategist and Recruitment Specialist.

Why Companies Hire the Wrong Person

A recent survey by Robert Half showed that one-third (36%) of 1,400 executives surveyed felt the top factor leading to a failed hire, aside from performance issues, is a poor skills match. The second most common reason (30%) was unclear performance objectives.

“Companies can’t afford hiring mistakes, which are costly and can erode staff morale,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of the Human Resources Kit For Dummies. “Finding the right match requires time and attention, and it’s something even busy managers need to make time for.”

Gamble, who runs the Chicago-based Jean Gamble & Associates, believes “wrong hiring” occurs because hiring managers and human resources people confuse the job description with the job criteria.

“The job definition and the criteria for the job are different,” says Gamble. “And often if you went to the people who actually perform the job, you’ll hear an entirely different description of what it takes to perform the necessary tasks than what’s posted in the job definition. That’s why it’s important to involve those who are actually doing the job in writing the description,” adds Gamble. “That way you avoid any miscommunication about what’s required to do a successful job.

Cultural Misfit

Another reason someone may not work out is due to what’s called the “cultural misfit.” This can occur when a candidate, who seemed perfect on nearly every level, clashes with the organization’s culture, which is why Gamble says “it’s critical that an open definition of the company’s culture exists in some form.” She adds that specific questions be part of the interview process to determine whether the candidate will fit within the firm’s culture.

“Because of corporate culture issues, interviewing methods have become very dynamic over the last 15 years,” says George Mentz, a management consultant, international lawyer and law professor with Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. “It has become much more likely that a job candidate will interview with not only several persons in the department, but even other managers and staffs in several other departments too,” Mentz adds. “This strategy is to try to find a fit for the group and not just the position.”

Many hiring managers make the mistake of choosing someone based on an instinctual “gut feeling” or because they “liked” a particular candidate, only to find out later that the candidate was completely ineffective for the position for which he or she was hired. Time and again, we’ve heard statements like, “She made us laugh so we hired her.”

Sometimes candidates are eliminated for some of the wrong reasons. For example, a perfectly fine candidate may have been part of a corporation downsizing and had to take consulting assignments to survive for a couple of years. Some hiring managers might misinterpret this and think there must be something wrong with that candidate when there really isn’t.

How Companies Can Avoid Hiring the Wrong Person

Working with a recruiter who specializes in a given field can help hiring managers identify job candidates with the appropriate skills. “Most recruiting firms conduct skills testing, which provides added assurance a prospective employee’s skills are a match,” Messmer says.

“An organization needs to look beyond the dates on a resume and focus on the skill sets the candidate brings to the table,” explains Gamble. “Yet, candidates have been eliminated for these reasons, and it is no reflection on their potential or ability to perform or be stable employees.”

The key to a successful hiring process, says Gamble, is to provide a clear definition of responsibilities for the job as well as the personality characteristics required for communication and success. It’s also important to determine in advance, which employees will be involved in interviews, how information is collected and interpreted about the interviews, and ultimately who has the authority to make the hire.

“You can’t just match keywords on a job description and expect a perfect hire,” she notes. “In fact, there are many times when the role is further defined during the interview process and job definitions can evolve by expanding or being modified in some fashion.”

On the other hand, there are some detractors to this premise. A University of Michigan study on predictors of job performance found that the typical interview increased the likelihood of choosing the best candidate by less than 2%.

Five Tips for Better Hires

Here are some suggestions from Robert Half to improve your chances of hiring the right candidate:

1. Know what you want. Don’t recycle past job descriptions because chances are the role has changed. Take a fresh look at your needs and the skills you’d like to add to your team. A detailed job description will help reduce the number of resumes you receive from unqualified applicants.

2. Look for the intangibles. A candidate’s skill set isn’t limited to functional abilities – it also includes how well he or she works in a collaborative environment. Employers that don’t take soft skills such as leadership and communication into account may set themselves up for a bad match.

3. Make a personal connection. Hiring is more than just identifying a strong resume or profile – it involves having conversations with applicants to establish a rapport. Interviews, for example, allow you to delve deeper into an applicant’s qualifications while also assessing whether he or she is a fit for your corporate culture.

4. Use all your resources. Though you may have the final say, hiring should never be a solo effort. Take advantage of the tools available to you at your organization – for example, human resources can help with the job description, and your employees may be able to offer referrals.

5. Woo your top choices. In any economy, people in high-demand may have multiple job offers. You need to show them why they should choose your organization over a competitor. Sell the benefits of working with your firm, and offer a compensation package in line with – or ideally, above – market rates.

Hiring the Right Candidate Takes Time

The most important asset any business or any organization has is its people. That holds true whether you have a small company or manage a department within a business employing hundreds or even thousands. Taking short-cuts to build your team may ease immediate growing pains but create regrets in the long-term.

The key is to understand that hiring the right candidate takes time, so be patient, develop a comprehensive hiring plan and execute it flawlessly. Remember, no hire is better than a bad hire.