|Perl Monk, Perl Meditation|
Shortage ? Or Efficient Markets ?by renodino (Curate)
|on Jun 26, 2006 at 00:25 UTC||Need Help??|
A recent journal entry at use.perl.org has piqued my curiousity. The author claims, apparently as a result of conversations with some LA perlmongers, that there's a "drought of decent Perl programmers" and that "wages are sky high".
So I checked some job boards. There are certainly lots of postings requesting Perl skills...but those that list any compensation numbers tend to be pretty low, esp. for
The author's comment also seems contrary to my own
experience. I've posted
several modules on CPAN, some written up in books, some directly related to
specific companies' products/services. I've been active in a few
maillists. Yet, in some 6-7 years of Perl involvement, I've
So I'm curious about other monks' experiences in that regard. Do you get a lot of cold calls for Perl positions ? Has compensation really risen that much ? Or, as I believe, and job boards seem to indicate, is Perl still treated as a "menial" skill requiring only minimal compensation ? Might there be a "reality gap" between those bemoaning a perceived decline of Perl (despite the job posting numbers) and those unable to find "decent" Perl developers (but offering relatively low compensation as evidenced in those job postings) ?
My hunch is that accidental efficient markets are at work.
Most organizations hire HR consultants to find talent. Many such consultants are woefully ignorant of the skills they're tasked to acquire. So compensation recommendations are set by calling a few buddies, trolling about the 'net for similar positions, and the infamous "salary surveys". Hiring managers are then told that Perl skills are cheap, and positions get posted with minimal (sometimes subsistence) compensation limits. Even if the hiring manager knows that the recommended compensation is unrealistic, there is likely little they can do about it, since their management will place more faith in the HR consultant's fabricated numbers than the hiring manager's real-world knowledge.1. There are certainly some I'd like to clean up if I had time!
In contrast, most "decent" Perl developers are probably also "decent" Java/C++/C#/etc. developers... and the going rates for those skillsets are considerably higher than Perl (despite the productivity gap). So, given a choice between a Perl job, and a Java job paying 30-50% more, the candidate will usually take the Java job. Eventually, they don't even bother looking for Perl jobs...
A little advice to any hiring managers listening in: next time you're looking to hire good Perl talent, tell HR you want a "Perl-enabled Java developer". Hopefully, you'll get a compensation number that will attract the candidates that are claimed to be in such short supply.
It appears my tone may have been perceived as a rant rather than a research question. My intent has more to do with trying understand an apparent market anomoly:
FWIW: I usually scan the job boards every 2-3 months, just to keep abreast of the state of the market. Over the past 2-3 years, I've seen a steady increase in Perl search "hits"2, but the posted compensation rates seem stagnant. All of which is very confusing; I don't know whether to be overjoyed that Perl is in such high demand, or depressed that compensation seems stuck at "dot bomb" levels. Why aren't there more Perl postings with the "sky high" wages claimed by the journal author ? Since recruiter's pay is often tied to a candidate's starting compensation, shouldn't there be more aggressive recruitment for those high paying jobs ?