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1998-06-08 19:03:50


Senior Programmers Get $7,500/Day, Plus Flights Home



So, y2k isn't much of a problem. So say those in full-scale denial.

Well, if it's no big problem, why would any U.S. firm pay $7,500 a day to hire a senior programmer away from a British firm? And why would the U.S. firm give him weekend tickets on the Concorde to fly home?

Because U.S. firms are great sports, says the defender of "no big problem."

I say it's panic time in some corporate headquarters.

If the U.S. could be saved by Britain's programmers, this would destroy Britain. That would in turn destroy the world economy. That would ruin the U.S.

Of course, none of this raiding by the U.S. solves Asia's y2k problem, Latin America's, or Europe's.

Y2K is a systemic problem. It can't be fixed.

This appeared in the London SUNDAY TIMES (May 24). (Note to y2k skeptics: the TIMES is not the equivalent of the NATIONAL ENQUIRER.)

* * * * * * * * *

BRITAIN's leading millennium-bug-busters are being lured to America by leading companies with offers of free flights on Concorde every weekend and lucrative salary.

A survey commissioned by The Sunday Times and compiled by Software Research, an information-technology research house, reveals that America is short of as many as 340,000 millennium programmers while Britain is between 20,000 and 30,000 short. But American companies are reducing their staff shortages at a far greater rate than their British counterparts, by raiding them for staff, offering programmers up to 5,000 a day, and ensuring they can take Concorde flights home every weekend to see their families.

Edward Yardeni, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell's New York economist, said: "America is probably going to be the top dog with all the money drawing in all the resources and leaving others to suffer. But even this is bad for the US because the problem is a global one, not one of individual countries." . . .

Richard Coppel, chief executive of Prove It 2000, returned from America last week and was horrified by what he discovered. "While America appears to be behind the UK in making people aware of the problem they are beginning to use their financial muscle to catch up and poach our best programmers," he said. "We are on the verge of another brain-drain of Britain's greatest minds."

Mark Taylor, Microsoft's director of consulting, said: "The days of using sticks to make programmers work are over. Firms have to use carrots and offer the sort of terms and conditions that are seeing dramatic increases in salaries, bonuses and share options."


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