Salaries Not Top Concern for IT Pros

A Computerworld survey found that IT workers are satisfied with their salaries, but want more challenges and more training. Meanwhile, people3 found the average tenure of an IT professional is less than three years.
The average tenure for an IT professional is less than three years, with more than half of IT professionals leaving their employers within that time, according to a study by people3.

People3's 2001 "IT Market Compensation Study" found three factors -- the use of new technologies, offering learning and training initiatives and providing a challenging technical environment -- ranked higher than competitive, market-based salaries as effective retention practices.

"While turnover in IT organizations is generally lower across the board, the workload of the IT function is expected to increase 50 percent by 2005," said Linda Pittenger, president and CEO of people3. "It is absolutely essential for IT and human resource leaders to have the right programs and policies in place to attract and retain IT staff during the next few critical years." Other findings from the people3 study include:

  • Of the 104 IT jobs analyzed, the position that takes the longest average time to fill is network architect (4.2 months), with database administrator coming in second (3.7 months).

  • Of the 25 IT job families analyzed, the largest average base salary increase (7.1 percent) and total cash compensation increase (8.1 percent) was found within the system-programming job family.

  • The median base salary for the IT jobs surveyed was $62,100 (an increase of 1.8 percent over last year), and median total cash compensation was $64,200.

Meanwhile, Computerworld's eighth annual "Job Satisfaction Survey" found that IT professionals are, overall, satisfied with their salaries and job security, but an overwhelming majority still feel that they are not sufficiently challenged and are demanding better support for their professional development.

Two-thirds of the 781 IT workers surveyed by Computerworld reported being "very satisfied" with a career in IT, although three-quarters claimed they are not working to their full potential. The survey also uncovered high levels of dissatisfaction among high-tech workers with the amount of company-sponsoredtraining they receive, as well as opportunities for advancement.

The survey examined workers at non-technology companies, consultants, contractors and high-tech companies. In each category, at least 25 percent of the respondents reported being "very dissatisfied" with the level of company-sponsored training they've received. Thirty percent of the respondents said they are satisfied with opportunities for advancement at their companies. Fifty percent of workers at non-technology companies are dissatisfied with their opportunities to discuss career goals with their managers, and 46 percent of workers at high-tech companies are dissatisfied with those opportunities.

High-tech workers say they have a firm grasp of their companies' high-level strategies and business goals: sixty-five percent of those surveyed said they are satisfied with their understanding of the company's business mission. The numbers are even higher when it comes to an understanding of issues impacting the company. But far fewer -- less than one-third -- feel empowered to influence day-to-day company success. This demonstrates a significant disconnect between knowing what needs to be done and having the chance to do something about it.

This story originally appeared at CyberAtlas, an site.

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