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Pay premiums for ERP skills are on the rise, according to study

Foote Partners quarterly report shows strong pay increases for some vendor-specific ERP skills, including SAP Production Planning and Oracle Enterprise Applications.

Most companies continue to pay healthy premiums for ERP skills, according to a research firm that follows salary trends in 466 certified and noncertified IT skills.

“If you’re going to be paid for ERP skills, it looks like the market is more interested in vendor-specific ERP,” said David Foote, co-founder and CEO of Foote Partners LLC, the Vero Beach, Fla.-based research company that recently released its quarterly survey of human resources departments and executive and IT workers at more than 1,900 North American companies.

Skills that typically don’t require certification -- the vast majority of the ERP-related skills in the survey --have commanded higher salary premiums or bonuses than certified skills since late 2007, after lagging for six years. Skills in databases, application development, “SAP/ERP,” e-commerce, and methodology and process management led the way.

Foote Partners said the numbers also reflect an ongoing trend away from hiring full-time workers with “pure play” technical skills in favor of acquiring specialized skills from consultants, offshore vendors and part-time workers.  

Among the highest paying noncertified skills are those covering a long list of SAP products, along with Oracle Enterprise Applications and generic management, process, and methodology skills for ERP, business intelligence, predictive analytics and project management. Other top-earning, noncertified skills include Web and e-commerce development, application development, network security and database management.

The median SAP skill commands a 9.9% premium, significantly above the industry-wide average, according to Foote. Of those, SAP Production Planning (PP) earns even better (11%), while SAP Advanced Planner and Optimizer (APO) pays slightly below the SAP median among 76 SAP skills rated by Foote Partners.

Companies continue to struggle with how to compensate “hybrid” workers who combine business and technical skills --“walking Swiss Army knives,” according to Foote. Human resources departments use the surveys to set salaries, retain workers and justify pay for new hires.

“A lot of workers do not realize they’re getting paid a bonus for a skill,” Foote said. “Most companies are taking people with operations skills and giving them a bump in pay for a particular technical skill.”

Noncertified SAP, Siebel skills show healthy rise in value

In the last three months of 2010, Siebel led all noncertified skills with a 33.3% jump in the premium added to base salaries, capping an annual increase of 50%.

Healthy three-month gains were also seen in several SAP suites and modules that are often used by manufacturers. SAP Plant Maintenance (PM) gained 14.3% (though that couldn’t make up for an 11.1%  drop for the year) , while Quality Management (QM) and Business One were each up 11.1%, and Financial Supply Chain Management (FSCM) rose 7.7%. However, only FSCM had a strong gain (40%) for the year.

Other noncertified manufacturing-related skills had significant quarterly or annual drops, while some gained year over year despite recent losses, or were flat (see table). “SAP APO really been taking a hit over the last year,” Foote said.

Siebel near top among gainers in certified skills

While the vast majority of the increases for certified skills have been in non-application areas like networking and database administration, demand for one enterprise application -- Siebel again -- was near the top of the list of gainers.

On the flip side of that coin, no certifications for specific enterprise applications joined the networking, security, operating system and programming-related skills in losing ground over the three periods. However, the premium paid for the project management professional (PMP) certification, which is sometimes required for managing ERP implementations, dropped 6.7%.


Changes in pay premiums for non-certified skills



E-procurement          -18.2% N/A
SAP Advanced Planner & Optimizer (APO)               -11.1% -20%
SAP Warehouse Management (WM)                         -11.1% 0%
Six Sigma/Lean Six Sigma -11.1% +14.3%
SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM)   -9.1% +11.1%
SAP Production Planning (PP)                                     -8.3% 0%
ERP (generic skills)                                                     -8.3% -8.3%
NetWeaver BI (SAP BusinessWarehouse)               -7.1% -7.1%
SAP ERP (multi-skills) 0% -14.3%
SAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) 0% -11.1%
SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)      0% 0%
SAP Supply Chain Management 0% +10%


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