IT workers stressed, but happy

Even though IT jobs are stressful, IT workers are happier now than they were a year ago. According to the March 2005 Hudson Employment Index, compiled by independent research firm Rasmussen Reports, 77 per cent of IT workers say they are happy with their jobs. In May 2004, only 66 per cent of IT workers said they were happy at work.

Kevin Knaul, executive vice-president of IT and telecommunications practice for Hudson North America, says increasing optimism about hiring and the related prospect of a return to normal workloads has contributed to the increased job satisfaction scores. More than one-third of IT workers surveyed said their companies were hiring. “There’s a return to normalcy,” says Knaul. “IT workers aren’t just happy to have a job anymore.”…the data shows that IT workers may be the happiest of all workers. Text In fact, the data shows that IT workers may be the happiest of all workers. Compared with employees in other industries surveyed by Hudson (a division of the staffing and executive search company Hudson Highland Group), IT workers generated the highest positive response rate to the job satisfaction question. Health-care workers were a close second at 76 per cent.

Knaul cautions, however, that CIOs should continue to monitor staff morale because, now that the job market is picking up, some workers could be tempted to leave. “Turnover kills the productivity of an IT department,” Knaul notes.

A recent survey by CIO shows that IT executives are indeed concerned about morale. Among the top staffing challenges for this group surveyed by CIO in January: preventing burnout (83 per cent) and low morale (60 per cent). The survey also cited stress as a major contributor to low morale. A whopping 76 per cent of IT executives said stress among IT staff was high or very high.

Best practices

1. Monitor morale. Use 360-degree management surveys and employee satisfaction surveys to formally gauge morale. Informally, managers who spend time working next to employees will have a better read on morale than those who don’t.

2. Provide training. IT workers want to keep their skills in step with current technology trends. If it’s not possible to give time off for training, try lunchtime or after-hours training sessions to satisfy their needs.

3. Compete on salary. Even though IT workers aren’t likely to be wooed away by a few extra dollars if they’re well-trained and happy, Knaul says companies must be in the ballpark in order to keep their best and brightest.

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