IT workers crave better treatment: survey

Aretha sang about it, Rodney bemoaned his lack of it, and now information technology workers are claiming they too aren’t getting any respect.

PwC Consulting’s fourth annual High Tech Workers Survey Report entitled Attracting and Retaining IT Talent in a Changing Environment recently asked Canadian information technology employees to rank what they felt were the most important factor in achieving job satisfaction. While in past surveys issues around effective management usually came out on top, this year, respect surged ahead.

Yet, the two issues of more effective management and its treatment of employees are linked. “I think management is sometimes an issue (and) people don’t feel respected. They work hard and don’t feel they are treated the way they should be,” said Sharon Clark a principal consultant in human capital solutions for PwC Consulting in Ottawa.

Other pressing issues revealed in the survey include full health benefits, employment security, a high base salary and formal training and opportunities for advancement. Given the global economic challenges, the fact that individuals are putting more stock in job security was to be expected. But for IT, an industry that had been known for rapid shifts in employment prospects, it signifies that even the “move for the money” mentality is changing.

“It’s something people took for granted before. They knew they could get jobs anywhere, they didn’t care,” Clark said.

Part of the poor management issue can be linked to staff who are promoted into senior positions and who never receive the proper training to deal effectively with its employees, she added. Still, the findings left at least one government IT employee a little puzzled.

“The fact that they tend to pay higher salaries in information technology than many others, (I) would have said the opposite. They either respect them or fear them,” said Richard Thompson, IT business partner for the City of Edmonton.

In regards to job security, he said there are several factors that have elevated its importance. Firstly, as the baby boom generation continues to age, their thoughts have shifted to retirement and pension plans, and people entering the information technology industry are seeking a job security package. Also, many are entering the profession as a second career, and consequently have chosen the profession because of the potential job security IT can offer.

Thompson said that the City recognized how necessary training is and budgeted accordingly. One area of the survey that he called misleading was salary expectations. While it ranked 15th in the study, “whenever you do a survey, salary usually sits at about number 11 but when you ask people why they change jobs, salary usually sits at number one,” Thompson said.

The full report can be downloaded from PwC’s Web site.

PwC Consulting in Ottawa can be reached at

The City of Edmonton can be reached at