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jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

I have some difficulties with the math. 😯

I guess everyone of the pro's here has before or later whined a bit about the long hours of work.

365-2*52-(say) 40=221 (which is sound as at least here in Italy we conventionally calculate days of actual work per year in 220 days/year).
220*8=1760 hours/year
Since the issue is "long hours", I would say that 220*10=2200 hours/year could be reasonable, but let's go "midway", at 2000 hors/year.

Are you telling me that most of the experienced guys here do actually have a (gross) income of around US$ 250*2000=500,000 or more?

jaclaz

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Posted : 06/10/2012 7:31 pm
jhup
 jhup
(@jhup)
Community Legend

The rates i quoted are not full time employment, contract rates.

It is a trade off. Make larger hourly rates, but may not be full time employed versus full time employed but get lower rates. One has huge upside chance but just as much downside. The other offers less downside, but limited to no upside.

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Posted : 07/10/2012 10:18 am
armresl
(@armresl)
Community Legend

Someone might get a case in the private sector if they are solo and work 10 hours on the case for a $4k draw. If they are working for a big firm, they work the same hours, might be getting billed very close to the same rate, except the examiner is working for 60-80k at the firm with guaranteed weekly check.

I have some difficulties with the math. 😯

I guess everyone of the pro's here has before or later whined a bit about the long hours of work.

365-2*52-(say) 40=221 (which is sound as at least here in Italy we conventionally calculate days of actual work per year in 220 days/year).
220*8=1760 hours/year
Since the issue is "long hours", I would say that 220*10=2200 hours/year could be reasonable, but let's go "midway", at 2000 hors/year.

Are you telling me that most of the experienced guys here do actually have a (gross) income of around US$ 250*2000=500,000 or more?

jaclaz

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Posted : 07/10/2012 10:49 am
trewmte
(@trewmte)
Community Legend

the examiner is working for 60-80k at the firm with guaranteed weekly check.

Well at the lower $60,000 p.a. that still equates to over £37,000.00 (UK) which is considerably higher (and reveals a large disparity) in comparison to the average UK counterparts.

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Posted : 07/10/2012 2:23 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

Well, what I tried to introduce as they were not evident - at least to me - till now are the concepts of

  1. billable hours
  2. full vs. partial occupation
  3. work procurement
  4. total hours of payed work per year (which translates to gross income)
  5. [/listo]

    Since I don't believe that anyone here (or maybe a very few, elected, exceptionally capable and possibly also a bit lucky, ones) in the private/consulting sectors actually makes half a million bucks a year, it makes little sense to provide "partial" data (i.e. reasonable hourly fee without specifying how much work one can normally expect to get AND how much do you actually have as expenses - still yearly).

    Till now it seemed that if you got a job in a company you could expect anything from US$ 40,000 to US$ 80,000 and maybe, if you are one of the few elected one US$ 100,000÷120,000.
    Which puts the "top" at the most at three times the "base" wage.
    Conversely, the "base" income for a "private/consultant" should be 1/3 of the "top" US$ 500,000, i.e. around US$ 160.000.

    It seems to me like these latter numbers are very far from reality.

    Without having people disclosing personal data, maybe we could put up FIVE polls (which are in themselves "anonymous") similar to these
    #1 reserved to "employed" forensic experts "voting" how many hours per year they actually work
    #2 still reserved to the above "voting" in which range is their gross income
    #3 reserved to "freelance/solo" forensic experts "voting" how many hours per year they actually work/how many of them are "billable"
    #4 still reserved to the above "voting" in which range is their gross income
    #5 still reserved to the above "voting" in which range is their expenses

    This way we could have some valid data, otherwise, more than comparing apples with oranges, which BTW is allright, see wink
    http//improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume1/v1i3/air-1-3-apples.html
    we are comparing peas with watermelons 😯 .

    jaclaz

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Posted : 07/10/2012 6:51 pm
trewmte
(@trewmte)
Community Legend

Well, what I tried to introduce as they were not evident - at least to me - till now are the concepts of

  1. billable hours
  2. full vs. partial occupation
  3. work procurement
  4. total hours of payed work per year (which translates to gross income)
  5. [/listo]

And you did. Are these separate headings or subsets to main headings?

Without having people disclosing personal data, maybe we could put up FIVE polls (which are in themselves "anonymous") similar to these
#1 reserved to "employed" forensic experts "voting" how many hours per year they actually work
#2 still reserved to the above "voting" in which range is their gross income
#3 reserved to "freelance/solo" forensic experts "voting" how many hours per year they actually work/how many of them are "billable"
#4 still reserved to the above "voting" in which range is their gross income
#5 still reserved to the above "voting" in which range is their expenses

What is your modus operandi for this? Are you endeavouring to (a) understand the worth/value of a person's service (employed/self-employed) to understand whether s/he is under-paid/charging incorrectly/value met or are you (b) wanting to find out what work actually exists out there? The two (a/b) are not naturally or mutually connected because for the latter one firm may not have as much work as another or one country maybe in recession where as another country maybe in an economic upturn. Moreover, one set of employees may not be subjected to the exposure of loads of casework but may only do several cases but have greater time to deliberate in the work. Alternatively, I know of groups who ran "battery-farm" mobile phone examinations thus produced a high number of cases and paid these people a minimum wage; the result was quantity out-put (but not necessarily quality) based upon push-button forensic (apparently) examination.

Within the above conditions how would apples and oranges be applicable to this discussion when it is more likely what is being referred to is different apples types e.g. pippin, golden delicious, russet, braeburn etc and then which apples are found to be rotten in the proverbial barrel?

Surely this philosophical investigation seeks to understand working "worth" of the individual to establish working "chargeable value" as opposed to introducing psychological subjective fears e.g. no one is ever going to pay me that or there is no work to achieve those results and so on.

I do fully respect there is an argument that can be raised, that of "worth" to "value" can be subjective.

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Posted : 07/10/2012 8:27 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

What is your modus operandi for this? Are you endeavouring to …

I am not much "endeavouring" 😯
I am only trying to make things as plain and as understandable as possible.

The initial post was about "LEGAL SERVICES COMMISSION, ENGLAND AND WALES", from which we know that H.M. Courts are willing to pay (and thus value) in London these professions at the same level
Architects, Forensic Scientist, Cell telephone analyst, Computer Expert, Firearms Expert, Handwriting Expert, etc. (as well as Gynecologists, Dermatologists and Dentists, more medical specialists inter alia), whilst a number of other professions, such as Consultant Engineer, Disability and Employment consultants or Accident reconstruction/Fire investigations are valued roughly 2/3 of that and that Fingerprint Experts and Lip readers/Signers about 1/2 and a "common" Interpreter is at almost 1/4 of that.
This gives a clear representation of what these services are valued in England (nothing more, nothing less).

Being a Consultant Engineer myself, I personally find dethpicable

that I am valued 2/3 of an Architect 😯 , but this is completely irrelevant wink .

But on the blog there is a "philosophical" question relating not-so-losely to the dilemma between "going independent" or "look for a job as an employee"

With the above rates of pay presenting a guideline, are you being paid as the expert etc £90.00 per hour or £8.50 per hour?

As I see it, that question is partially deceiving if we do not take into consideration the number of hours effectively worked in a year, the number of hours actually payed for/billable.

The proposal of a poll (cannot say if actually doable or if people will actually participate to it, and participate to it "honestly") was just an idea to find out "real life" data, instead of only one single factor of the equation.

And it is (very loosely) connected to the surprise/horror/bewilderment/shock/whatever shown by some members on this thread
http//www.forensicfocus.com/Forums/viewtopic/t=9703/

So, the questions as I see it are

  1. What is a "reasonable" yearly income for a Digital Forensic Expert (free-lance independent)?
  2. What is a "reasonable" yearly income for a Digital Forensic Expert (employee/working for a firm)?
  3. [/listo]
    Of course both of them will have a range between "newbie" (but still expert enough to be able to go independent/open his/her own office) and "guru", and as well there will be differences between countries, but (IMHO) at least the answers to those question may provide some more "practical" guidelines to those looking for a career in the field, or only to answer the original philosophical question about the £90.00 vs. £8.50, which without taking into account these other factors of the equation would resolve to "a suffusion of yellow"….

    jaclaz

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Posted : 07/10/2012 10:53 pm
trewmte
(@trewmte)
Community Legend

I can't do anything about the England issue, but then again it doesn't stop or prevent anyone else from posting similar data from their respective countries.

So, the questions as I see it are

  1. What is a "reasonable" yearly income for a Digital Forensic Expert (free-lance independent)?
  2. What is a "reasonable" yearly income for a Digital Forensic Expert (employee/working for a firm)?
  3. [/listo]
    jaclaz

OK, but how do you achieve your goal of "reasonable" and "yearly" if you do not have/know a monetary value per hour to start with?

p.s. Oh yes, and thank you for the duck.

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Posted : 07/10/2012 11:17 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

OK, but how do you achieve your goal of "reasonable" and "yearly" if you do not have/know a monetary value per hour to start with?

As I see it, since we know that
PL=Pay per hour= (Payed by Courts in London) £90.00 to a consultant (max)
AP=Average pay per hour of a Forensic Expert employed by a firm
BEW=Hours of effective work (billable) per year <-this is a value only "independents" can know
PWH=Hours of "presence" at work (hours actually at the office) <- this is a value only "employees" can know)
E=Expenses (yearly) <-this is a value only "independent" can know
FI=Gross yearly income "independent" (before taxes but net of expenses)
FE=Gross yearly income "employee"

And this can be put in two different formulas
PL*BEW-E=FI
and
AP*PWH=FE

It seems to me like PL and AP are NOT comparable, whilst FI and FE are.

The actual method to gather data to be able to give "reasonable" values to all the variables on the left side of the equal sign is yet to be found/invented/agreed upon, but without these data it's hard to produce anything "meaningful".

Example (solving the set of equation with FE=FI)
PL=90.00
BEW=800
E=30,000
PWH=2,000

90.00*800-30,000=42.000
21,00*2,000=42,000

I hope that this example clears what I was trying to say ) in the (fake) example above 21 compares to 90 😯 .

jaclaz

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Posted : 08/10/2012 1:02 am
trewmte
(@trewmte)
Community Legend

Jaclaz, thank you, that is helpful in assisting people formulate a method to understand their worth and value.

In addition to Jaclaz's formula the remuneration for an hourly rate requires also looking into whether the example shown (£90.00) changes in the light of additional influences. Moreover, there is the additional element to be thrown into the melting pot of the private paying client.

Furthermore, a formula would be wise to consider any impact of the economic influence preciding in a country. Things go up, and things go down. Also, a pernicious debilitation of employees pay has emerged over the last decade of expecting employees to use their own resources on behalf of the company. These costs, too, need to be included into the worth and value equation. This has largely altered the natural expenses that would occur in a company which otherwise the company would have to pay, thus fakes the profit/loss balance sheet.

I think there is alot more than could be discussed and further revelation made in this area. Hopefully, the contributions to the discussion will continue and those have contributed have identified information that the reader might previously not have been known. In that case it has been a useful exercise how worth and value could be formulated and understood.

Remember an old philosophy in life. If it is good enough for those at the top of the tree, no matter who they are, then it is good enough for you.

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Posted : 10/10/2012 11:39 am
Adam10541
(@adam10541)
Senior Member

Is that the rates of pay the court will pay experts who are appearing in court giving evidence to assist a matter or have I misunderstood?

This will have no effect on peoples salary because as far as I'm aware you can't legislate the maximum someone can earn in an open free market, only the minimum to ensure basic standards.

Or have I missed the point of the OP?

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Posted : 10/10/2012 11:49 am
jhup
 jhup
(@jhup)
Community Legend

Although in most countries that is true Adam, but setting a fee by any government, makes a very strong implication as to the value of a certain expertise. That action in turn limits the rate of the expertise.

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Posted : 10/10/2012 6:27 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

Or have I missed the point of the OP?

As I see it, yes. 😯
The reference (for me) is the post on the blog
http//trewmte.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/the-rates-of-pay.html

that contains three kind of considerations

  1. information about Court retributions for "experts"
  2. references to works as employee
  3. comparisons between the two "models" of employment ("freelance/consultant" vs. "employee")
  4. [/listo]

    Being tendentially of a more "practical" nature, I tried to expand on the last aspect.
    Of course on the "private" market there is no limit set by Law (afaik for consultants there isn't even a "lower" limit, only for "employees") and everyone is perfectly free to ask whatever (high) sum he/she sees fit or - conversely - accept an appointment/job for as low as he/she sees fit, including working "pro bono".

    But as I see it two "fixed" exigences exist

    1. get enough money for you and your family to live (possibly in a "comfortable" way)
    2. actually get enough work and consequently money to fulfill requirement #1
    3. [/listo]

      So, for all that matters someone may well be able (on the "private" market) to get payed (say) US$ 1,000.00 per hour (or if you prefer be able to get US$ 4,000.00 for an "easy job" that takes him/her no more that 4 hours work), but it seems to me like these are "exceptions" and do not reflect what the "market" is.

      Then, if you manage to get (say) 5 of this jobs each month, you get something like US$ 200,000.00/year, which should be more than enough to allow you and your family a (more than) "comfortable" life, with the big advantage that you are effectively working 1/10th of the "standard" 40 hours/week.

      If you still get 5 of these jobs a month, BUT they actually take 40 hours each, then you still have the means to live (more than) "comfortably", BUT you are being paid US$ 100.00/hour, and you working 5 days a week full-time like most other people.

      If you get 5 of these jobs a year, you work much less hours then other people but while still being payed US$ 1.000,00 an hour, the result is US$ 20,000.00 a year, IMHO not enough to allow you and your family to live (let alone "comfortably").

      In this latter case, you are one of the "elite" that manages to get payed a very high hourly rate but, probably because you are too [email protected] expensive for the market, you get very little work and for any "simple" work other people with more reasonable rates are preferred.

      These are of course "limit" examples, useful to show how you cannot use a per unit price without quantities to calculate a total.

      The amount the UK Courts are at the max willing to pay an expert per hour are thus simply a "reference" that needs to be compared with what the "private" market actually offers, and to the actual amount of work that the market (and/or the Courts) provides, otherwise we are dealing with "meaningless metrics".

      jaclaz

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Posted : 10/10/2012 6:42 pm
DFICSI
(@dficsi)
Active Member

Let's also throw into the mix that the largest income from forensic work in the UK comes from outsourced police work. There is fierce competition to land these "lucrative" contracts. So much so that people go rock bottom with pricing. I know that some companies that won the MET contract, for example, are charging as little as 90GBP per hour PLUS they essentially pay money back to the MET if they make so much in a year.
While I'm all for competitive business this has such a negative effect on the field that I want to scream.
Assuming the metrics above are correct, that means that the very most that a forensic investigator can earn in a year will be 42,000GBP if they work for one of those companies. Who comes into this field thinking "Great! My salary is going to top out in a few years and then I'll be on the same wage for the rest of my life"? Very few people I suspect. What is the impact of this? Less quality in examiners. In order for these companies to break even (never mind make a profit) they have to hire graduates with no real-world experience or hire people that have very low expectations in their profession. Which one of these would you hire given the choice? Personally, I would do with the graduate, but how long can you hope to hold on to such before they jump ship to make more at one of the big four?
I'm a great believer of "you get what you pay for". Yes there are exceptions but if the UK government and police sets the bar low is it any wonder that many forensic companies don't last more than a few years before folding or hitting significant financial struggles?

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Posted : 10/10/2012 9:19 pm
crashed
(@crashed)
New Member

DFICSI,

'as little as 90GBP an hour'

I think realistically you could take a third off of that and probably some more!

crashed

P.S I don't do work for the MET for that exact reason.

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Posted : 10/10/2012 9:37 pm
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