Article 43


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

IT Job Satisfaction At All-time Low


Leadership is the wise use of power.
- Warren Bennis

Teamwork is a lot of people doing what the boss says.
- Anonymous

I don’t get no respect.
- Rodney Dangerfield


Although I love my job and the people at work, insensitivity and indifference to IT needs and concerns BY MANAGEMENT is a continued cause of frustration and fear.

I can talk about SERVERS AND SECURITY, and ASK MANAGEMENT FOR SUPPORT to keep the production stuff from failing (like begging for UNINTERRUPTIBLE POWER and ADEQUATE COOLING) until my face turns blue.  The new server room door doesn’t even have a lock. (But our storage closet for potato chips and popcorn does.)

So what’s the latest directive pushed down from the top?

UPPER MANAGEMENT took away the server room’s adjacent control center (my office) and almost put a file cabinet in the room with all the CRITICAL COMPUTERS

What next?  Set up a desk in there, and let guests use an ENTERPRISE DOMAIN CONTROLLER to surf the internet?

It’s sort of uplifiting to read the article below because it’s not another depressing IT OUTSOURCING story, and somewhat comforting to learn I’m not the only unhappy IT guy out there.

But not that comforting.

Cause I love IT work.


Experts say unhappy critical IT workers will likely seek more ‘purposeful’ jobs elsewhere

By Patrick Thibodeau
January 6, 2010

The recession and its accompanying reorganizations, layoffs and CORPORATE TURNS TO OUTSOURCING have been corrosive to IT employee JOB SATISFACTION.

And that job dissatisfaction is increasing concerns among many employment experts that key employees may leave current jobs as soon as they get what they perceive is a BETTER offer.

A mid-2009 job satisfaction survey by the ABOUT THEIR JOBS. About 10,000 of the those surveyed work in IT jobs, board officials said.

The CEB’s latest survey found that the willingness of IT employees to “exert high levels of discretionary effort”—put in extra hours to solve a problem, make suggestions for improving processes, and generally seek to play A KEY ROLE IN AN ORGANIZATION—has plummeted to its lowest levels since the survey was launched 10 years ago.

In 2007, about 12% of the IT employees fit in category of “highly engaged” workers, but that has since fallen to 4%.

“These are literally the most critical employees,” said Jaime Capella, a managing director in CEB’s information technology practice. Moreover, such critical workers are 2.5 times more likely than the average employee to be looking for NEW OPPORTUNITIES.

“They are likely to be the first ones to leave your company as soon as they can,” Capella said.

Similarly, the Conference Board Inc., a non-profit research group, said Tuesday that occupants of 45% of 5,000 U.S. households it surveyed last year were satisfied with their jobs, down from 61% in 1987, the first year the survey was conducted. The Conference Board said that the job issues found in its survey, which cover all occupations, could cause multiple workplace ills, including declines in employee engagement, productivity and retention.

“When the economy starts to head in the right direction, the employees are going to vote with their feet,” said Mike Hagan, a vice president of infrastructure at a health insurance firm he asked not to be identified. He is also a co-author of ACHIEVING IT SERVICE QUALITY: THE OPPOSITE OF LUCK (Synergy Books, Nov. 2009).

Hagan said there is a lot of PENT-UP DISSATISFACTION in the IT workplace, as well as a backlog of people who normally would have moved to a different job in a stable economy. The recession has resulted in “unnaturally low attrition levels,” he said.

To keep key employees, Hagan said that IT managers MUST FIND WAYS to engage employees, and offer them a “line of sight to the corporate vision.” It’s important that IT managers create jobs that have a purpose, he added.

“The folks at Apple Computer, I’m guessing right now, are feeling very purposeful at work,” said Hagen, and thus are unlikly to be looking elsewhere. Employees elsewhere “are going to be shopping for [such] purposefulness,” he said.

And the opportunity getting a new job may be improving. Job board Dice Inc. is beginning to see some early indications of increased IT hiring.

For instance, in the New York area, there are about 6,000 IT jobs posted; a year ago at this point there were 5,600, said Thomas M. Silver, chief marketing officer at Dice. The company has posted about 3,000 jobs in Silicon Valley, up from 2,700 last year, he added.

Overall, Dice had nearly 50,000 jobs listed today, which Silver expects will grow soon to 55,000 based on trends.

A Dice survey of 360 people in August found that over a third were planning to change jobs once the job market improves. Tech workers are under constant pressure to keep up and want to be in jobs where they can learn and grow, he said.

To keep employees, Capella said they are advising to take performance reviews very seriously, work on motivating teams and communicating more consistently and openly, as well as give employees more of a say in the jobs they want. If employees don’t believe that companies aren’t being honest, they are more likely to get disaffected, he said.

If managers are frank with their employees they can “accumulate enough good will” to offset the NEGATIVE IMPACTS, said Capella.

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies; data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld.


Posted by Elvis on 01/06/10 •
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