Asked what matters most to them about their jobs, managers cite the challenge and responsibility more than any other factor, but the percentage fell to 55%, from 65% last year and 68% two years ago. Staffers had a similar drop--to 45%, from 56% the past two years. Working on new, innovative IT was cited by 37% of managers and 31% of staffers--maintaining last year's newfound emphasis on this, when this factor jumped more than 20 percentage points. In general, staffers put a bit more emphasis on bottom-line factors--base pay and benefits, followed by challenge and stability--than managers, whose top factors are challenge, pay, benefits, and working on innovative projects.
Chad Ostroff, a Web site coordinator for the city of Sugarland, Texas, for about 18 months, is making a trade-off of stability and benefits over the higher pay he sees friends getting for contract Web design and development in the private sector. "I'm building up my experience and hope to springboard into the corporate world some day," says Ostroff, who says typical raises this year will be 3% to 3.5%. "I always have my ear to the ground."
And that appears to be where most IT pros get their training. Just 30% get reimbursed for tuition and 19% for certifications, while 57% of staff and 59% of managers attended some kind of company-paid training in the past year. About 13% paid their own way for training, at a typical cost of $1,000 for staffers and $2,000 for managers. As far as the training most in demand, 69% of staffers want technology-specific training, compared with 46% of IT managers. At the bottom of the list--7% of staffers, 10% of managers--is communication skills. Since over half of IT pros cite "interacting with customers" as critical to their jobs, this one might deserve more attention.
IT pros clearly see their roles as bridging IT and business, though with one glaring omission. Half of IT staffers identify aligning business and technology goals, interacting with customers, and analyzing data as their most critical job skills. For IT managers, business technology alignment is cited by 80%, followed by the ability to communicate and collaborate with internal stakeholders (62%) and customers (57%). About three in five IT pros have held non-IT positions, most commonly in operations/supply chain/manufacturing, or marketing and sales.
The glaring omission: Just 13% of IT staffers and 29% of managers list seeking new business opportunities among their most critical skills. Everyone loves cost cutting and communicating, but for IT to really be a hero around the company, its leaders need to drive ways to boost revenue as well.
-- with Heather Vallis
Photo illustration by Viktor Koen