Study Finds Shift in IT Managers' Priorities

Susan Hall

Boy, everybody's doing an IT salary survey. I wrote about one from staffing firm Bluewolf earlier this week and linked to one by Computer Economics. And you can download one from Robert Half Technology here.


Frankly, after reading all those numbers for a while, my eyes tend to glaze over. So it was interesting to read a piece by Art Wittmann, director of InformationWeek Analytics, on trends. InformationWeek's survey results won't be out for about six weeks, but Wittmann looked at the data for the past five years and wrote about IT managers. He says their responses were far different from those of the rank-and-file.


He found that the number who said they were very satisfied with their jobs stood at 26 percent in 2008, 20 percent in 2009 and 18 percent this year. (Last year, Harvey Nash found U.S. CIOs less satisfied than their peers in other parts of the world, with the outlook trending up globally.)


Wittmann also found that in 2007, the most important factors to IT pros were job challenge (65 percent), base pay (51 percent) and ability to work on creating innovative IT solutions (40 percent). This year, job challenge still ranked No. 1, but only by 45 percent of survey respondents. It tied with "my opinion is valued," up from 33 percent in 2007. Base pay came in third at 44 percent. Meanwhile, the ability to work on innovative IT projects dropped to 14th place, with 24 percent citing that as very important. Perhaps, because innovation is becoming a mandate for CIOs, they aren't saying, "Yippee! I get to do this!" anymore.


While the traditional big motivators seemed to be less important, the managers put more stock in things over which they had little control: company stability, job stability, recognition for work well done and knowing that one's opinions are valued.


But Wittmann believes there's more to it than what he calls "just the economic hangover." He writes:

My educated guess is that IT pros are about at the end of their patience with the "do more with less" mentality so prevalent at the highest levels of IT and corporate management. IT workers now value vacation time and working with talented peers more than they do working with the latest cool project designed to eliminate a fraction of their peers.
Smart companies will internalize these trends and discover, again, the importance of their IT teams. If top management thinks IT's attitude stinks, they're simply reaping what they've sown.

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