Independent Authors SIG, spring 2008

Technical communication job vacancies: an analysis

After my review in the previous issue of trends in postings to the IASIG, the Editor suggested that an analysis of the types of job opportunities would be interesting. This analysis covers all job vacancies advertised on the Group between 20 July 2007 and 11 January 2008. It is not rigorous. A few jobs had further information on websites; the information was no longer available when I wrote this article.

Three-quarters of job opportunities came from agencies (Table 1). Personally, I would like to see a higher proportion of roles that are direct with the client. Some agency e-mails contained more than one role (Table 2). Some roles required more than one person.

Table 1: Source advertising the role
Source Postings
Direct from client 14
Agency (technical communication) 38
Agency (general) 17
Sub-contract from member 1
Total 70
Table 2: Number of postings versus roles
Type of role Postings Roles
Contract 35 39
Permanent 35 38
Total 70 77

The term 'technical author' was the most frequently used job title (sometimes, a single role had more than one job title, for example, 'technical author/technical writer'). A breakdown by source of role shows that although the job title varies slightly by the source of the lead, no great disparity exists between the various sources (Figure 1 shows normalised values).

Overall results: Technical author=71.4%; Author=2.6%, Technical writer=3.9%, Writer=2.6%, Other=11.7%, Not specified=7.8%

Figure 1. Job title varies slightly by source of lead

Contract rates varied between £20 an hour and £420 a day. Permanent salaries varied between £16,000 and £38,000 plus 20% bonus plus benefits (the top salary was £40,000, but bonuses and benefits were not mentioned). Overall, only 34 roles had a rate, range of rates, or value (Table 3).

Where duration was specified, the most popular length of contract was between three and six months (Table 4).

Table 3: Methods of specifying rates
Method Postings
Rate (or range) 29
Up to a value 5
Negotiable 4
Competitive/excellent/good 3
Not mentioned 29
Total 70
Table 4: Duration of contracts
Duration (months) Contracts
<3 4
3-6 11
6-12 4
>12 2
Not specified 14
Total 35

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