Real RFID Talent Will Cost You

By Mark Roberti

An RFID Journal survey reveals that salaries are rising as the demand for people with RFID skills and experience increases.

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At least once a day, I get an e-mail from someone who wants to know how to get into the exciting field of radio frequency identification. The missives come from people of all different backgrounds—IT, consulting, supply chain and so on. I do my best to provide some advice, but it’s always a challenge because, aside from taking an extensive training course or getting hired by a company and assigned to an RFID project, there’s no easy way to acquire RFID-related skills.

Looking for a job in the RFID field is a smart idea, because employees with RFID skills are in demand. About 60 percent of the 822 people who have responded to RFID Journal’s online salary survey say there is an RFID skills shortage today. Need proof? Forty-two percent of all respondents have been contacted by a headhunter or company recruiter in the past year. U.S.-based employees (46 percent), corporate managers (55 percent) and workers with more than four years of experience in the RFID field (57 percent) were slightly more likely to have been contacted by a recruiter than others.

Our featured story, “Experience, Location Drive RFID Salaries,” details the results of this extensive salary survey. We will keep this confidential survey going so that we can track salary trends over time. If you would like to take the survey, click here.

What’s clear from the results of the survey is that there is a serious lack of experience in the RFID industry today. Only 17 percent of respondents have more than three years of RFID work experience, while 43 percent have less than one year. The average person surveyed has 1.2 years of experience in RFID. That is consistent across region, job function and company size.

Not surprisingly, people with RFID experience are in demand and their salaries are rising accordingly. Respondents with more than four years of RFID work experience earn an average of $13,000 more than employees with one to four years of RFID work experience, and nearly $30,000 more than those with less than a year of experience.

The RFID industry is evolving rapidly. Professional training companies are stepping up to provide RFID training programs, and CompTIA and the Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility have teamed up to develop a certification program for people who install RFID systems.

That’s good, but training courses are only the first step. Companies need employees with experience, and it takes time for people to gain that experience, make mistakes and learn what works in different industries.

End users looking to launch pilots or deploy systems need to make sure the people they hire have hands-on experience. Ask about implementations that a potential hire (or systems integrator or contractor) has done. Check references. And be prepared to pay top dollar for someone who is the real deal.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below.