"Oh Lord - give us another contractors boom - we promise not to p*ss it away this time"

In the late nineties, a very good Domino Consultant could get rates in excess of 100 pounds (170 USD) an hour - usually with expenses. We rivalled SAP consultants in terms of market leaders. This was the hayday of the Domnio consultant. Large, complicated projects. In excess of 4k Sterling a WEEK. Happy days.

(Before you start wondering about that, bear in mind that the large consultancy players used to charge us out at £1.5k/day and STILL charge £1k/ day now.).

Now of course, SIX major revisions on (and at least 30+ point revisions), and life is very different with Lotus Domino. It would take a customer of severely limited abillty to NOT upgrade simple environments themselves, and deploy/construct/develop application infrasructures. Most customers now have at least one or two good internal folks to keep things sane and functional. Its a stable, mature interface.

So the high-value, leading consultants rates have dropped. I'm usually struggling to get anything close to half my old rate (without giving too much away).

(Exchange jobs are usually a lot lower than that. After all, exchange is just cc:mail - not complicated at all in terms of technology. Just complicated making it stable.)

Today, an employment agent (or "Pimp" - which makes your average contractor a member of the worlds oldest profession) called. offering 450/day for a simple Administration job. In Websphere.

Now I'm websphere certified with a limited amount of commercial experience. That rate is very very high for that position. Was the job in deepest City of London (or "The Shitty" to old lags like me) ? The City has to offer more money as they only want the best, and you have to be nuts to put up with the crazy hours and crapola that goes with the job.

No. It was in Lancashire.  They had to offer that rate, as basically there were NO websphere folks available in the UK. Especially ones prepared to live in or near Lancashire.

I hear a very similar story in terms of good Portal folks in the Netherlands.

So it looks as if the Websphere and Portal products - good long-legged stable application platforms -have seen such a rapid expansion in the last six months that they've soaked up all available resource, and supply+demand means that the rates are heading north. This is reflected in my Jobserve tracking database. Due to this and a Taxonomy change 4 weeks ago, I'm now seeing an average of 80 jobs per day for Websphere portal (previously was 3-5)..

The NL Portal news was very surprising, as I do know that IBM had trained *everyone* in portal and Websphere ages ago, anticipating this very moment.

(This makes my conversation with ABN Amro in London this week all the more frustrating. They wanted the best of the best Domino consultant, city experience, etc. No expenses, 370/day. Or the customer in Geneva - the third most expensive city in the world. 350/day, no expenses. I'm sure they'll get *someone* to fill these places - but it doesnt make economic sense for me to do that.)

Time to dust off the Websphere+Portal certifications I guess.