I used to work for a company supporting other peoples software. I remember one of my colleagues looking at the original implementation of .NET and viciously asserting that "this will kill off all those cowboy developers".
Similarly I can remember a comment on this site about clustering SQL Server. In SQL6.5 to SQL2000 it went from a "hey wow" skill to "So what"!
Read Daniel Pink's Drive. He talks about human motivation and why carrot and stick is only really useful for dull mundane jobs that should be automated. People are self-motivated and enthusiastic when their creative energy is engaged.
Most DBAs I know spend a considerable amount of time figuring out how to automate stuff so they can concentrate on the interesting stuff.
SQL Server makes a wide range of DB tasks very simple. The problem comes in that people assume that something that is simple in SQL Server means that other niche products are simply bigger, faster versions of SQL Server requiring no particular skill.