The State Worker

Thousands of California IT workers getting raises, after all

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California’s web site for applying for state jobs – jobs.ca.gov – has been redesigned to guide applicants through the hiring process.
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California’s web site for applying for state jobs – jobs.ca.gov – has been redesigned to guide applicants through the hiring process.

Several thousand state government information technology workers should be noticing a bump in their paychecks as a result of a broad reorganization of their job classifications California carried out earlier this year.

The raises are different for each worker, and many of the state’s 10,000 IT employees will not see a pay increase at all. A January letter from the state human resources department shows that new IT salary ranges could adjust pay for IT workers from 0 percent to 9 percent.

Up to 4,000 of them could receive a wage increase depending on how their previous job descriptions translate to the new job categories, according to their union.

The union, Service Employees International Union Local 1000, is urging the state to undertake a reassessment of IT pay. It released a study in August showing quickening turnover among IT workers and a rising vacancy rate.

The new salary ranges “are still inadequate. They’re still underpaid,” said SEIU Vice President Margarita Maldonado.

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The state human resources department has not published a report describing the overall cost of the reorganization, but said the cost should be minimal for most departments.

"This brings California civil service into the 21st century as far as IT goes, wiping out some classifications written before PCs even existed, and replacing a confusing array of 36 classifications with nine that make sense and integrate into vertical career development," Cal HR spokesman Andrew LaMar said.

Two departments with large IT staffs, the Franchise Tax Board and the Employment Development Department, submitted new budget requests asking the Legislature for more money to adjust salaries.

The FTB asked for $1.8 million; EDD asked for $1.9 million and warned it might have to “reduce staffing levels” if the Legislature does not allocate the funding.

The average wage increase and benefits at EDD totals almost $7,700, according to its budget request.

That average masks wide variation among workers. Data processing managers will get another $1 a month; a group of 67 newly reclassified IT specialists should see an extra $720 a month.

Both departments expressed enthusiasm for the project in their budget requests, viewing the reorganization as helpful in clarifying promotion opportunities and in recruiting candidates for hard-to-fill jobs.

“The IT classification plan allows the state to attract and retain the most qualified IT candidates,” the FTB request says.

"This will improve civil service lT positions – both for the people in the jobs and for the State of California, which will be better able to attract, and keep, employees with vital technical skills," the EDD request says.

The IT reorganization was the most complex accomplishment in Gov. Jerry Brown’s so-called civil service improvement program, which aims to modernize state government’s personnel policies. The effort has redesigned a state job website, eliminated hundreds of obsolete job titles from state records and simplified exams that are required for state job applications.

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