Considering the lousy end products I have to deal with on a daily basis, paying programmers more money won't improve the skillset. You want to be paid more money? Produce a better product.
When the PHBs conspire to make that (producing a better product) impossible, it doesn't matter what engineers you employ or how much you pay them.
The relentless push to cut costs, do "more with less," let the staff numbers dwindle through natural wastage and lack of vision, invent fantasy project schedules (requiring weekend, evening and holiday work) and no resources (what do you mean you need physical hardware to develop and test on? I just sold the test kit to a customer. It was revenue just begging to be had...) catches up with every company eventually.
My current employer is now in this state, and almost everyone (who knows anything) has left and I'm about to as well, however as far as the PHBs and VPs are concerned, everything's fine and dandy. Targets are at 100%, the share price has doubled and we're making a consistent profit.
The fact that tumbleweeds are blowing through Engineering hasn't quite registered...
It's the natural cycle these days. They call it "capitalism" but it's not the capitalism I understand.