Move Over, Mick. IT Workers Want Satisfaction, Too

The IT job market is more stable than it's been in a long while. Stability engenders navel-gazing, and IT workers are noticing how they're being treated, how interesting their work is, and whether their salaries are fair

Naomi Grossman, Contributor

September 16, 2007

3 Min Read

I have a bunch of friends who work in the IT departments of various small and midsize companies. A few love their jobs and a few are just OK with what they do. Does it matter? In a good market we all know which ones are likely to go through the time-consuming task of finding a new job.

What makes an IT worker happy? The fundamental role played by an IT manager's staff in ensuring a smoothly run department (and, by extension, company) makes the question more than just an indulgent or even philosophical one when IT workers no longer only have to worry about job security.

It's been almost seven years since the dot-com bust and IT workers are starting to feel slightly confident about their job prospects. The Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report indicates that "the Help Wanted sign for information technology professionals will be out through the end of the year and the skills expected to be most in demand include Windows and network administration and database management," writes Baseline.

According to the report, 14% of CIOs polled expect to add IT staff in the fourth quarter of 2007, and just 2% anticipate cutbacks.

Among other key findings: Business growth continues to drive the need for more IT staff; networking is the hottest job category within IT departments; and firms in the finance, insurance, and real estate industry are most optimistic about employment gains.

Seems like good news, right? But are IT workers happy?

The monthly Employment Index seems to say, no, not really.

Writes InformationWeek about Hudson's latest findings: "Compared to a base score of 100, job optimism among the 400-plus IT and telecom workers surveyed by Hudson fell 7.6 points to 105.1 in August." The article emphasizes IT workers' worries about personal finances as the major reason for the lack of job confidence among tech workers in August.

Tim Bosse, executive VP of Hudson IT & Telecommunications, expressed surprise at the findings. "I am perplexed to see confidence sliding when there are so many job opportunities out there. Unemployment among certain skills is really low for IT workers," he told eWEEK.

Bosse also blames the current economic situation, but Hudson's report also notes that job satisfaction took "a dip in August, as only 69% of workers said they are happy with their job, compared with 72% who expressed that sentiment in July."

Granted the housing market isn't doing well and the economy isn't booming, but for the IT worker, the job market is more stable than it's been in a long while. They now have the comparative luxury of noticing how they're being treated, how interesting the work they're being given is, and whether their salaries are fair.

IT managers, take note.

Naomi Grossman is assistant editor of bMighty.

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