Survey Finds Tech Pros' Biggest Gripe: Lack Of Chance For Advancement

MENLO PARK, Calif. — A new survey of information technology professionals finds that to keep the staff happy and productive, give them a clearly visible career path, achieveable goals, and training opportunities.

In the survey from the recruiting and placement firm Robert Half Technology, more than 2,300 IT workers across North America were asked which of three situations caused them the most frustration at work.

The top answer was “few opportunities for advancement,” mentioned by 45 percent. Closely behind was “unmanageable workload,” mentioned by 43 percent. And in third place, a bit farther behind at 39 percent, was “few opportunities to learn new skills.”

Tied at fourth with 37 percent were “don’t feel empowered to make
decisions” and “don’t see eye-to-eye manager.”

Recognition of skills is apparently less of a problem — “no acknowledgement for good work” was mentioned by 33 percent. And the end users aren’t the problem — “unrealistic expectations from end users/customers” was mentioned by 30 percent. Cross-department conflicts brought up the rear of the suggested responses at 23 percent.

In a statement, Robert Half Technology senior executive director John Reed said: “IT workers worry about remaining relevant and marketable, and they look to their employers to help them acquire new skills and advance in their careers. Often, the ability to learn and grow can be as important as a competitive compensation package.”

Robert Half Technology offers five strategies for executives to retain their valued technology employees:
* Tip the pay scales in your favor. Pay always plays a large role in job
satisfaction, and bonuses show appreciation for a job well done. Salary guides — which Robert Half offers — can be a useful resource for tracking pay rates.
* Carve dual paths. Provide well-defined career paths for tech professionals, including alternative paths for those who don’t aspire to management but are strong individual contributors.
* Strike a balance. Perks that promote work-life balance, like telecommuting or flexible schedules, can provide a big boost in job satisfaction.
* Avoid burnout. When you know your IT team is working at capacity, be proactive about finding ways to help them better manage their workloads – hire IT consultants, for example, or put non-essential projects on hold.
* Cut the red tape. Keep a motto of less structure, more innovation. Make it a point to keep bureaucracy to a minimum when it comes to your tech team.

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