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Comment Archives: Stories: News + Opinion: News: Last 30 Days

Re: “Coming and Going: Vermont Struggles to Grow Its Workforce

As principal software engineer and UVM grad who lives in Vermont yet commutes to Boston for work, I can say that this article does not fully describe the glaring wage gap between the two areas. When I read that a software engineer with a four year degree was "already" making $50k after nearly two years, I'm sorry, but I had to laugh. The website Glassdoor gives pretty good data as to salaries for various job titles. The national median for plain vanilla (junior level) software engineers is $95.1k. Among competitive companies that actively recruit new grads, the median starting salary is $110k, with the 10/90 range being $94-120k.

Furthermore, Vermont has virtually nothing to offer to the most experienced developers, ie those at the principal, senior principal and director level. Wages in Boston metro area for these positions range from $140k to $180k, not including bonuses and stock options. Yet the demand outpaces supply.

Salary and advancement options alone do not completely describe the problem of being a software developer in Vermont. Labor market liquidity will bite you too. If you are mid-level and are laid off for any reason, you can expect to spend six months or more finding a new job. This is an unacceptably long, career damaging period of time.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Thomas McLeod on 02/16/2017 at 10:01 AM

Re: “Coming and Going: Vermont Struggles to Grow Its Workforce

Vermont has the extra problem of poor connectivity. Cell phone connections and speeds are spotty, and broadband is lame, generally speaking (some high speeds in Burlington, near dialup in some rural areas).
This does not attract young people.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Bryan Alexander on 02/13/2017 at 5:30 PM

Re: “Coming and Going: Vermont Struggles to Grow Its Workforce

We often see studies of why the cost of living is so high in Vermont, but we never hear about why wages are so low, especially with such low unemployment. I would love to see Molly Walsh, Doug Hoffer, or Art Wolfe answer that question.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dave S on 02/13/2017 at 1:41 PM

Re: “F-16 Aviator Must Take Civilian Pilot Exam After Small Plane Crash

I have been an avid Seven Days reader for almost 20 years. I value the fact that it reports news and is creative. That being said, I am extremely disappointed with the timing of this article. Many members of the Vermont Air National Guard are currently deployed. These men and women are doing their jobs and serving our country. In particular, calling out Lt. Col. John Rahill at this moment, while he is deployed, is in very poor taste. He and his family deserve better. I would have expected fellow Vermonters to have greater respect for one of their own. I hope this is a mistake that is learned from in the future.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jeff on 02/11/2017 at 11:28 AM

Re: “Coming and Going: Vermont Struggles to Grow Its Workforce

The affordability issue has two elements: costs and wages. But we rarely hear about wages. Mr. Kelly makes the point in the comment above. It's Econ 101: if you pay them, they will stay or come.

Second, Vermont is tiny compared to the metropolitan areas so for any particular occupational title there might be 50 jobs here (with limited turnover each year), but 800 in Boston or New York. It's just a matter of scale having nothing to do with state policy.

17 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Doug Hoffer on 02/09/2017 at 6:03 AM

Re: “Coming and Going: Vermont Struggles to Grow Its Workforce

I've lived in LA, SF, NYC, HI and of course, VT. What is surprising is how much it costs in rent and home prices here, comparable to those areas, and yet there is no SoCal sun, ocean, Silicon Valley tech center or finance/arts epicenter to command that basic cost. And not much job base to afford it. In 1990 you could rent an apt in the metro for $550 and earn $30,000. Today that apt is $900 but the job base salary is hardly above $30,000.

If the State wants people to stay, give them a compelling reason. Legalize marijuana. It has the potential to put the States at the forefront of emerging trends, just like the craft beer craze. Entrepreneurship would boom along with tax revenues and penalty revenue.

Burlington shouldn't sell Burlington Telecom, but instead wire the whole city with hotspots using fire hydrants and street lights and give free internet service. It will unleash small business and grow the economy in ways we can't yet imagine and again, make a compelling reason to live here.

If we are truly in competition for residents, what do we offer or can we offer that no other State/municipality can?

23 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Matt Kelly on 02/08/2017 at 6:03 PM

Re: “F-16 Aviator Must Take Civilian Pilot Exam After Small Plane Crash

Very good follow-up article, Sasha. That was a lot of work on your part, not only to get all the documents and perform the research, but to reach out and interview the parties involved. And you provide a great deal of detail. Well-done. Investigative journalism at its best.

5 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by VTPolicyAnalyst on 02/02/2017 at 2:43 PM

Re: “F-16 Aviator Must Take Civilian Pilot Exam After Small Plane Crash

This story is worthy of The Onion.

10 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by John Dupee on 02/01/2017 at 4:02 PM

Re: “The Wreck Hunter

Perhaps the heat from the fire caused any on board ammunition to start being discharged. Thus seeming as though one was being shot at.

Posted by Ben Clifford on 01/24/2017 at 9:15 PM

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