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Pay in data processing services by occupation and urban area.

Top level systems analysts and programmers were usually the highest paid workers in the computer and data processing services industries, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey conducted in October 1982. The survey, limited to 18 metropolitan areas, found these workers frequently averaging more than $700 a week.

The survey included establishment primarily engaged in providing computer and data processing services. Computer services include systems analysis and design, program or system development, programming services, and systems engineering. Data processing firms offer complete processing and preparation of reports from data supplied by the customer, or specialized services, such as key entry or provision of data processing equipment to others on an hourly or time-sharing basis. The survey also included establishments that manage or operate computer facilities for others on a ontinuing basis. Companies primarily providing accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping services, and those repairing or maintaining computer and data processing equipment were excluded.

Eight occupations, accounting for just under one-half of the 86,736 professional, technical, and clerical workers in the survey, were selected to represent the pay structure of office workers in the computer and data processing services industries. Six of the occupations were subdivided by work level based on duties and responsibilities--six levels of computer operators, five of programmer/programmer analysts, four of systems programmers, three each of systems analysts and electronics technicians, and two levels of key entry operators. Two occupations--data libarians and peripheral equipment operators--were limited to one level.

Systems programmers develop and modify programs making up the system software (such as operating systems) which provides basic services for computer installations. Average earnings for level IV systems programmers--the highest level surveyed for this occupation--ranged from $591 per week in Newark to $846 in San Francisco-Oakland. Most commonly, the programmers averaged between $700 and $800 a week for the nine areas providing publishable data.

Level III systems analysts--the highest level surveyed for this occupation--examine complex computer systems with minimal supervision. Their average weekly earnings ranged from $516.50 in Kansas City to $783 in Dallas-Fort Worth. In the other nine areas for which averages for this job could be pulished, earnings were usually in the $700 to $750 range.

Programmer/programmer analysts, the largest occupational group studied with more than 14,000 employees, provide programming services to customers. Weekly pay averages for level I, consisting of trainees whose assignments are designed to develop their skills, were lowest in Chicago ($273) and highest in San Francisco-Oakland ($372.50) and Houston ($373). Level V, typically supervisors, team leaders, or staff specialists performing both analysis and programming, had averages ranging from $593 a week in Kansas City and $595 in Detroit to $735 in Houston. In general, these workers averaged about twice the earnings of level I. Level III workers, the fully experienced and most numerous of the five levels, averaged between $445 and $486 in 12 of the 18 areas.

Average wages for level I key entry operators, the lowest paid occupation in 11 areas, ranged from $182 a week in Boston to $249.50 in Houston. Data librarians and level I computer operators also were at the low end of the pay scale, typically within the $200 to $250 range.

Where comparisons were possible, occupational pay levels were generally highest in Dallas-Fort worth or Los were often found in Boston, Cleveland, Kansas City, Newark, and Philadelphia. Area pay relationships among occupations, however, varied substantially. For example, the Boston averages for both levels of key entry operators were about 75 percent of the corresponding averages in Houston; for the five levels of programmer/programmer analysts, Boston averages were between 94 and 100 percent of those in Houston; and for level III systems analysts, and Boston average was 125 percent of Houston's average.

All of the professional, technical, and clerical workers were in establishments providing paid holidays (typically 9 to 11 days annually) and paid vacations. Vacation payments varied according to length of service; most common were 2 weeks after 1 year of service, 3 weeks after 5 years, and 4 weeks after 15 or 20 years. With relatively few exceptions, office workers were also provided at least part of the cost of life insurance and of hospitalization, surgical, and basic and major medical insurance. Income protection against short-time disabilities (sick leave or sickness and accident insurance, or both) covered three-fourths of the workers or more in each area. Long-term disability insurance was not as prevalent, usually applying to one-half to three-fourths. Retirement pension plans applied to between one-half and four-fifths of the office workers in all but Detroit, Phoenix, and San Jose. In these areas, fewer than half of the workers were covered. Typically, health, insurance, and pension plans were financed entirely by the employer.

The 1,732 computer services and data processing establishments within the scope of the survey employed a total of 114,653 workers in October 1982. Executives and managers were excluded from the 86,736 workers covered by the survey. Employment was highest in Washington (17,703), Dallas-Fort Worth (10,071), and Los Angeles-Long Beach (8,401). Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia also recorded more than 5,000 office employees, while fewer than 1,500 were found in Cleveland and Phoenix. Relatively few of the workers were in establishment operating under labor-management agreements.

The survey provided earnings distributions for the occupations studied and percent distributions of office workers by type of service offered and by the primary source of revenue (type of customer) for the establishment, such as banks, private schools and hospitals, and government. A comprehensive report on the survey findings, Industry Wage Survey: Computer and Data Processing Services, October 1982 (Bulleting 2184), is for sale at $4.50 a copy from the Government Printing Office, or from any of the Bureau's regional offices.
COPYRIGHT 1984 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Sep 1, 1984
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