Wednesday, 12 February 2014 15:35

Job satisfaction, not the money, the biggest lure for IT professionals

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There has been a big leap in job dissatisfaction amongst Australia’s IT professionals, with nearly one in 10 of them prepared to change employers for less money.

According to a survey by ICT recruitment firm Candle IT 8.6% of IT professionals  - or one in 10 - would look for job satisfaction elsewhere, even if the job comes with a lower salary.  This compared with 4.7% - or one in 20 – who said a year ago they would move jobs for a lesser salary.

Candle surveyed 1,260 IT professionals via MySalaryPortal, asking them how much money it would take to get them to move to a new job with similar conditions.

Candle CEO, Kym Quick, said job cuts and a stagnant IT project market had taken its toll on professionals and warned the industry could “lose its vibrancy due to increased worker dissatisfaction.”

“The IT sector has been hit hard as companies and governments focus on survival and efficiencies rather than growth and this is having a direct impact on professionals who are performing roles that no longer challenge or appeal to them.

“Given the importance of the IT sector for Australia’s competitive growth, we need to ensure we don’t squander the vitality and innovation of our local industry and make IT a less attractive career option.”

The research also showed that male IT professionals would move jobs for slightly less of a pay increase than a year ago - $19,617 versus $20,055 (a 2% drop).

Quick said female IT professionals, however, still see their market worth and would need more money to move - $21,209 compared to $17,002 (a 25% increase).

Candle reveals that among the disciplines, the expectations of IT trainers had “skyrocketed” by 173%, and it would now take a $29,120 pay increase on their current job to get them to move, as opposed to $10,633 a year ago.

Quick said downsizing in the IT function had increased demand for multi-skilling and training and development expertise to ensure staff could undertake their increased responsibilities.

“Additionally, companies have seen training and development as a good investment and retention tool post GFC,” she said.

The survey found that IT security salary expectations had also spiked to $26,317 - a 65% increase on the previous year, but testing and QA professionals said they would take a drop of 10% from $17,382 to $16,123.

 “The automation of processes, systems and infrastructure has led to vulnerability of cyber attacks and businesses are investing heavily to ensure their own interests, and that of their clients, are protected,” Quick said.

“The slower IT project implementation cycle has meant fewer QA professionals are being engaged.

According to Quick, “businesses must find a balance and have a continued eye on Testing and QA standards so they’re not exposed to glitches which will harm productivity in the long run.”

She said that while professionals need to be fairly remunerated for their skills and experience, “money should not be the sole focus when pursuing a new opportunity. A raft of factors should come into play including workplace culture and longer term opportunity.”

“Flexible working arrangements and opportunities to develop new skills are also factors which will boost productivity and job satisfaction.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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