Weekly Word on the Street: Better Job Incentives Than Money?

by Jim Staats | Jul 06, 2012
Takeaway of the week is that the IT industry truly offers something for everyone, especially when it comes to today’s job seeker. Whether you’re fresh out of college with a bright future, but a lack of job-seeking acumen; a prospective technician with a hankering for something more challenging than a run-of-the-mill IT role; or a chance to influence your government’s public policy, IT has got it.

Want a Challenge?

If it’s not just a job in the IT industry you want, but one that gives you a true run for your money, one recent survey has done the legwork for you. IT procurement, operations, security and data center manager are a few of the top ten most demanding jobs, according to the international survey conducted by business management firm Emerson Network Power.

The survey of 800 IT pros from the U.S., Asia, Europe and Latin America – discussed in an article in Network World – zeroed in on the number of hours worked along with situational necessity to be working at peak capacity and accuracy. Professionals in a multitude of roles, industries and from firms big and small were queried, the article notes.

The Top Ten Most Demanding IT Jobs

  1. Executive director/administrator
  2. IT procurement
  3. CIO
  4. IT manager/director
  5. IT operations
  6. Data center manager
  7. Engineering
  8. IT security
  9. Applications/software development
  10. Database management

Show Me the Time, Not Money

With many of today’s firms still stuck in "cash-strapped" status, doling out raises to employees remains a pipe dream, but other quality incentives abound, recent research out of Britain indicates.

Incentivizing options for businesses include allowing more autonomy over work decisions, providing active acknowledgement for achievements and allowing flexible working arrangements, according to a new article in The Telegraph.

A recent survey conducted by Amarach Research for Microsoft indicated that the ability to spend more time with family was just as important for employees as a pay raise.

“Far too many companies work on the basis that money motivates,” said Malcolm Higgs, Director of the School of Management at Southampton University in England.

“But, money is not a motivator. If you give people more money you might get a quick lift in productivity, but the effect of that dies off incredibly quickly. By and large, that is not what employees are there for.”

Higgs said workers are primarily motivated by the extent to which they are given freedom over the way they work.

Experts suggest business owners should shift their focus away from money as a solution for employee happiness and toward other solutions for keeping their staffers happy.

Cary Cooper, a professor at Lancaster University in England, said what employees really want is more flexibility in the workplace. And, the best way to find out just what they want? Ask them.

“Ask your employees what you can do to make them feel good about their job,” said Cooper. “Nobody ever does that.”

Techies, Your Government Wants You

Computer technicians would be wise to seek out government jobs, says one high-ranking IT expert already in the fold.

As the keynote speaker at a USENIX conference in Boston recently, Edward Felten, chief technologist for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, said government posts for fellow technicians could allow them to have direct affect on public policy and valuable industry influence, a recent Network World article noted. Felten told his audience, according to the article, that his time in his federal post has been “highly educational,” as he urged others to join him. “Even if you make one iota of difference, you’ve done a lot of good in the aggregate,” Felten said.

He provided a series of guidelines on how techies can begin their government interaction, noting there are various levels of officials wishing to be tech-heavy, but somewhat "clueless" in reality.

Rather than just telling policy makers what the proper decision regarding a technical issue should be, Felten said technical professionals would be wise to take the route of asking his or her audience questions in an effort to steer them away from undesirable options.

He said he knew about this approach before he entered government work himself, “but I didn’t fully appreciate (it) until I spent time working here.”

IT Job Tips for the College Grad

You’ve just graduated college and you’re ready to enter the IT profession, but don’t know how.

Well, you’re in luck.

A tidy capsule of industry-centric tips ranging from the best use of social media to interview preparation and resume makeover doled out from hiring experts was recently published in CIO.com.

A recent hiring survey by technical job site Dice.com suggests demand for technology professionals will remain strong through 2012.

Hot IT fields job-wise include healthcare, financial services, energy, government and mobile technology, according to the Dice survey findings.

Employers for IT roles are looking for “workers who have current technical skills and business acumen that can increase revenue,” according to a separate study by CareerBuilder and CareerRookie. The students this study indicated were most highly sought-after were business majors, followed close on their heels by computer and information science majors and engineers. Those with math, statistics and communication technologies backgrounds were also considered hot ticket items for IT recruiters, the CareerBuilder survey noted.

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