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Annual Salary Survey Promotes Pay Equity, Transparency, and an Advocacy Tool for Technology Professionals in Independent Schools

By Kelsea Watson posted 12-08-2022 10:43 AM


Annual Salary Survey Promotes Pay Equity, Transparency, and an Advocacy Tool for Technology Professionals in Independent Schools

The deadline to submit individual responses to anonymous survey has been extended to December 31.


For the seventh consecutive year, the Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS) is partnering with EdTech Recruiting and 12M Recruiting to conduct a salary survey of technology professionals in independent schools. ATLIS will analyze the data gathered from the anonymous and self-reporting survey into the 2023 compensation benchmark report. 


Technology professionals working in independent schools who serve at any career level are asked to contribute in order to paint an accurate picture of the state of technology teams’ compensation practices. The survey also provides insight into key metrics, such as job satisfaction, hurdles for job seekers, and motivations for seeking new employment.


To promote participation and gain a better understanding of the practical applications of the report, Christina Lewellen, ATLIS’s executive director, recently met with Gabriel Lucas of 12M Recruiting, and co-founder of ATLIS, along with a panel of three former and current technology leaders to discuss their experiences with the survey. The panel consisted of Denise Musslewhite, who is a previous technology leader and current tech leadership consultant, and current ATLIS board chair; Barry Kallmeyer, chief information officer at Hathaway Brown School in Ohio; and William Stites, director of technology at Montclair Kimberley Academy in New Jersey. 


“This is a survey for technology professionals by technology professionals,” said Lucas. “I know there are a lot of other data collection sort of surveys out there. But not everybody understands that not all tech directors are equal. Different roles have different oversights. A computer science instructor is not the same thing as a CTO, but sometimes to a head of school or CFO they are.”


Lucas adds the report is stronger when more professionals contribute. “It's community driven,” he explained. “It's not about somebody in the bell tower who knows everything. It's about all of us contributing to it, and then we all benefit from it. And I hope people recognize that and see it as a service more than anything else.”


Musslewhite shared her personal experience of benefiting from the results of the survey. “As a CIO of an independent school, I used the data to advocate for resources for my team with my head of school, and used it as a tool to make sure that my team members were properly compensated based on their use of experience and their titles,” she shared.  “And for me, it was absolutely pivotal. Because as one of the few women in technology leadership, a Latina, no less, I represent a very small minority of people in the space. And that pay gap is real for women like me. And when the survey came on the scene, I didn't hesitate then to enter my information transparently, because I knew that it was going to build a database that was necessary so that I and other women like me could advocate for what we should be paid. And it worked. I’ve used it throughout my career, since it became available to advocate for myself, team members and for clients.”


Both Kallmeyer and Stites have had success using the report to support expanding their tech teams with new hires. 


“We used the report to help us make some decisions around the salary to offer [a new hire],” Kallmeyer explained. “How were we aligning that salary with other independent schools in our region? The report really just opened up a lot of conversations. It did provide transparency around [things like] what are the scales? What are the ranges? You search online for ‘salary for tech person,’ and that data is really hard to ascertain whether it's comparative to independent schools and the needs that we have.”


“Titles matter,” said Stites. “Not only for the salary, but then understanding where those titles in those positions fit from a hierarchical structure within the school. Are they on the leadership team, and where are the differentials there? So when you're having these conversations, with people with schools, and you're talking about where you might fit, [the survey can help] align understanding [where] all of those pieces really come in and play out.”


The resulting compensation report is not only valuable when hiring new team members and advocating for better resources for your tech team, but also for having data-driven information to negotiate individual salaries. 


“It's a very, very powerful tool because it gives you facts, statistics,” said Musselwhite. “It gives you all of the necessary graphs to make that case. And it makes it not personal. Women have difficulty talking about salary and negotiating salary. When you have these facts, they're facts. You're having a conversation about these facts and not necessarily about yourself.” 


Lucas reflected that the salary benchmarking project is “really about serving the community and recognizing that we have unique needs.” 


“[Hiring] for a technology position is not the same thing as any other role,” he said. “Other domains just don't get it. And I think we, technology professionals, control our own fate. This is how we, as aspiring and current leaders, get the information we need. Because we know these jobs, and we know what our what our roles are truly about.”


All members of the community are encouraged to contribute to the survey by December 31. With goals for a record number of responses, ATLIS looks forward to sharing the resulting report in early 2023. “When you contribute to the survey, we all rise together,” said Musslewhite.

Lewellen encouraged anyone curious about the results of past surveys to access last year’s report on the ATLIS website. “This powerful partnership [between ATLIS and EdTech Recruiting] that we've had for the last couple of years has been really lovely because the outcome for our community continues to be stronger and stronger.”

Contribute to the survey by December 31, and pass it along to other technology professionals in schools as well: edtechrecruiting.com/survey


Zoom video meeting screen with five people in the meeting. Play button on top of image.

View, or listen to, the full conversation here. Viewers can enable closed captioning and control the playback speed for their needs by clicking the settings cog in the menu across the bottom of the video.