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February 1999
State of employment looks solid for 3000’s ’99
By Diane Amos

1998 was a good year for those of us who love and respect the HP 3000. Statistically speaking, 70 percent of all HP job openings that Amos & Associates handled were for HP 3000/MPE professionals. Of those openings, 85 percent were for applications people, either direct-hire or contract; and 15 percent were for systems people. Job opportunities were plentiful for direct-hire as well as for contract people.

Most of the contract positions were for Y2K assignments; the direct-hire openings were for responsibilities not related to Y2K. Many of the permanent direct-hire positions were involved in handling new development, interfacing to new technologies, or maintaining legacy systems.

For programmers, the heaviest demand continued to be for COBOL skills, with Powerhouse running second. MANMAN experience remained in demand in 1998, as many companies continue to use the CA-MANMAN package. With the growth of healthcare companies using the Amisys healthcare package, programmers with this experience were also in demand. A strong increase was noted in the demand for experienced MPE/iX system managers to manage and upgrade the many HP 3000 systems in existence.

As employees are deserting the MPE marketplace for the perceived “hot” areas of NT, Unix and client-server technologies, those employers still using HP 3000 are backfilling those openings. Along with new companies moving to HP 3000, this backfilling has helped to create a strong MPE marketplace.

The dilemma for employers looking to hire HP 3000 talent is that they usually need only light- or medium-weight experience, the proverbial 3-5 years of experience. The available talent pool for HP 3000/MPE consists of those very experienced professionals who have been so loyal to the HP 3000 that their experience outstrips that 3-5 year salary budget.

Speaking of salary budgets, the news for HP 3000/MPE professionals is that their salaries increased nicely from 1997. Applications positions such as programmers, systems analysts and software developers increased 10 percent. Systems positions such as system managers, system engineers and technical support increased much less, only by 2 percent.

As I see more demand for these experienced systems people, I expect these salaries to increase. For employees with 15 years of experience, the average salary was the same for both application positions and for systems — around $57,400. The hourly rate for contract programmers ranged dramatically from $40/hour to $75/hour.

What’s in the future for those HP professionals who work on the 3000 and MPE? We all wish we could predict; however, from what I’ve been seeing, I believe the future is quite bright! Many of the companies who operate on the HP 3000 are sticking with their investment, thereby providing those employees who love the 3000 a future with that technology. From HP, we hear that new HP 3000s are being sold every day. For the near term, this market still appears to be solid and secure.

Diane Amos is President of Amos & Associates an IT search firm specializing in the Hewlett Packard marketplace. She can be reached at

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