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What RFID Skills Are Worth

Employees with more than four years’ experience, or who live in the United States, make significantly more than other workers with RFID skills.
By Ari Juels
Jul 29, 2005—Europe is ahead of the United States in the use of radio frequency identification technologies in the supply chain. And Asia has the lead when it comes to RFID-enabled payment systems. But workers with RFID skills in the United States clearly have the advantage when it comes to salaries. The average base salary in U.S. dollars for those working in RFID-related industries was $82,120 in the United States, compared with just $42,820 outside the country. The average for all workers with RFID skills at the beginning of this year was $67,950.

That’s one of the most significant findings of an online survey conducted by rfid journal during the first quarter of the year. Responses were received from people in 58 countries and from a wide variety of backgrounds. Of the 822 people who completed the survey, 32 percent were RFID or auto-ID specialists, 26 percent were in operations management, 22 percent in corporate management and 20 percent in IT management. (For more on who the respondents were, see the charts below.)

Salaries of all those surveyed vary widely by job function, company size and years of RFID work experience. Not surprisingly, those in corporate management earn the highest average salary, $81,250, compared with an average of only $54,810 for RFID/auto-ID specialists. Those at larger companies tend to earn about $5,000 more per year than those at midsize companies, and those at midsize companies earn about $3,500 more than those at small firms.

Base salary rises significantly with years of RFID experience. Eighty-three percent of respondents had three years’ experience or less in RFID. Those with more than four years of RFID work experience had an average salary at the start of this year of $87,500—almost $13,000 more than those with one to four years of RFID work experience and nearly $30,000 more than those with less than a year of experience.

Going Up
And salaries are climbing. A majority of respondents (56 percent) said they received a raise in the past year, while only 4 percent saw their pay cut. Sixty-eight percent of IT managers got a raise, while only 43 percent of corporate managers received a raise. Corporate managers also saw the most pay cuts (8 percent).

Fifty-seven percent of respondents also received a bonus in the past 12 months for personal or company performance. Among those more likely than their counterparts to have received a bonus were those in operations management (61 percent), those at the largest employers (65 percent) or those with the most years of work experience in RFID (63 percent). Employees outside the United States were just as likely to earn a bonus as U.S.-based employees.

Forty-two percent of all survey respondents have been contacted by a headhunter or company recruiter in the past year. And two-thirds of respondents said they would leave their job if they got a better offer in RFID. The full results of the survey will be published on the RFID Journal Web site.
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