Weekly Word on the Street: IT Pros Want Fulfillment

by Jim Staats | May 18, 2012

Takeaway of the week is a clear slap-you-in-the-face theme of IT worker as wanderer and employers needing to up the ante if they hope to halt high-tech walkabouts. Mounting evidence in the form of surveys, polls and industry analysis prove that for the talented IT pro, it's not always about the money.

Training a Key Retention Factor

For wandering high-tech workers and antsy employers amid an improving economy, greener pastures aren't always the color of money.

Talented professionals in the tech industry are often seeking venues where their skill set and mindset are built up as much as their bank accounts, a USA Today article notes.

The piece analyzes this trend by highlighting one IT services firm that is seeking to attract and retain talent through a beefed-up training program.

Tony DiBenedetto, head of Tampa-based Tribridge, hopes to add an additional 250 employees this year to its current flock of 450 workers. His firm hopes to accomplish this with its newly launched Tribridge Academy that trains new workers in necessary skills and keeps in-house employees proficient on latest trends.

Amid a rapidly changing industry of cloud computing, social networking skills and mobile reliance, DiBenedetto sees this solution as the best way to compete.

"We're growing so fast we're outpacing the industry," he said. "There's only so much talent out there" that can be lured from competitors.

Cloud-related companies are estimated to account for an additional 472,000 jobs in the coming five years, a recent Sand Hill Group and SAP American Inc. study found.

Dice Poll: Not Enough Tech Bosses as Teachers

IT managers aren't making the grade when it comes to being a good source of personal development for their employees, a recent poll indicated.

The poll, conducted by tech staffing site Dice.com, indicated a majority of respondents placed high value on their relationship with their manager as a key employment retention factor. But those managers are focusing on the wrong things, according to a recent Network World item.

Most IT professionals (61 percent of those polled) viewed their current managers as graders rather than teachers who could help nurture the talents of those who work for them.

"Tech professionals do their best work when it's a safe environment to try new solutions, explore alternatives and fail," said Tom Silver, a senior VP for Dice.

Although turnover rates have been below average for several years in a row, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, tech managers should be wary as things begin to improve in the economy, Silver said.

"Frankly, companies haven't felt the repercussions of sub-par workplaces in the last three years," he said. "But, the gap between the importance of the employee-manager relationship and the way it's developing is unacceptable. Both sides need to remember this is a lasting connection and one worth the effort."

Dice.com listed 84,911 available tech jobs on its site as of May 1.

A Five-Pack of Outsourcing Trends

A need to go smaller and an uptick in security and cloud computing are a few things to keep an eye on in the world of outsourcing, a new CIO.com report suggests.

The article highlights five trends worth watching:

  • The size of IT services contracts continues its decade-long decline. While the mega- and mid-range deals remained steady, the number of contracts worth $100 million or less have tripled.
  • Economic conditions continue to push outsourcing providers toward pricing models such as joint ventures, revenue-sharing arrangements and business outcome-based pricing.
  • Multi-source deals remain the flavor of the moment with IT services providers serving as end-to-end service integrators.
  • Security liability limits have spiked as a major negotiation issue in outsourcing deals.
  • Cloud computing and remote infrastructure management have provided the outsourcing deal pipeline with a healthy boost.

Survey: Happy, But Mindful, IT Workforce

A majority of currently-employed IT workers keep an eye out for something better, despite the fact they're happy where they are, new survey findings suggest.

More than half (53 percent) of the IT professionals surveyed for the Randstad Engagement Index said they were open to new employment opportunities, despite findings that also showed most IT workers remained engaged, loyal and inspired, a CIO.com article on the survey indicated.

The survey, which polled 3,000 IT professionals across the U.S. in February, measures the attitudes and perceptions impacting employee engagement within companies.

Within the IT segment of survey findings, a few key numbers:

  • 63 percent of IT employees enjoy going to work every day
  • 75 percent feel inspired to do their best every day
  • 67 percent indicate they trust their company leadership to make good decisions for the workforce
  • 80 percent feel secure in their jobs and optimistic about future
  • 60 percent report either little or no concern about possible pay cuts

Survey findings indicated that amid all those rosy figures, the readiness to jump ship is palpable. Confidence in the job market picking up in 2012 is a primary reason many feel that way, results showed.

Improvements in IT job hiring tends to be a good sign for overall employment growth, said Bob Dickey, an executive for Randstad Technologies and Technisource, which conducted the survey.

"The economy is picking up as more companies start new project initiatives and make investments in infrastructure and development," he said.

Accordingly, employers would be advised, the article notes, to focus on employee engagement and recognition for their contributions if they wish to stem an impending exodus.

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