Race to….. the top?

There was a recent(ish) comment on a jobs mailing list that I subscribe to suggesting that there is a ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of renumeration for advertised positions. The following text is an edited version of that on the mailing list.

A quick note to my fellow GIS professionals.  There’s been a proliferation of roles lately offering pretty poor money for what are, in cases, senior contract positions.  It’s endemic amongst a lot of companies trying to get something on the cheap, a race to the bottom as such, trying to squeeze as much as they can out of you.  … I have a fairly good idea of what the market should be paying me … ; do some research, ask your fellow professionals, make sure you get what you’re worth.
… the long and the short of it is put a value on your skills and don’t be sold short on them.

This is an interesting point. More and more there is a requirement for those entering (or within) the GI workforce to have a range of skills, most of which are broader than those that would be obtained in any single degree course. The need to understand aspects of computer science, geography, data analytics, statistics and a host of other skills are regularly being asked for by recruiters.  There are similar changes evident in other industries, such as with the rise in the dev-ops role, but it does seem that there is more of an expectation in the GI industry that a huge number of skills are required but that salaries will still remain at graduate levels.

The GI industry (remote sensing in particular) is in the middle of a huge shift from a more traditional business model to one that is being shaken up by the lower cost of access to data and software and the rise of internet based mapping companies (and associated services). This means that the possibilities in terms of job roles and renumeration (and location for working – basically from anywhere in the world if you work for the correct type of company) are huge and the best candidates will a) be sought by companies looking for global leaders, or b) will target the types of companies that they want to work for. Those companies will be those offering fair remuneration (or better!) with additional perks similar to those seen more traditionally in the IT start-up industry.

Times are changing in our industry and hopefully the job market will rapidly move to reflect that.


The longer original version of the email was posted to the GIS-JOBS list in September as part of a thread about this issue. Archives for that mailing list can be accessed here: http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/gis-jobs