Survey: gov’t jobs seen as desirable for IT workers

Call it a sign of the times.

It was hardly surprising when Microsoft Corp. and IBM Corp. snared the top spots in a recent survey of 6,792 IT professionals who identified the most desirable IT employers in the U.S. But until recently, who would’ve expected federal and state/local government agencies to nab two of the other top five positions?

The results, published late last month by, are based on survey responses from IT professionals ranging from computer operators to CIOs. Of the respondents, 63 per cent work for technology companies, while 37 per cent work for companies such as insurance firms and auto manufacturers.

Federal and military agencies and state/local governments ranked third and fifth, respectively, among the organizations cited (Cisco Systems Inc. was No. 4.). When asked to provide the reasons behind their choices, many respondents pointed to job stability and solid benefits, said Nick Doty, editorial director at, a technical career development Web site based in Minneapolis.

Other organizations named to the list include AOL Time Warner Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc., Dell Computer Corp., The Walt Disney Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Apple Computer Inc.

Survey responses suggest that the West is the best geographic area for IT professionals. Fourteen of the top 50 most desired employers are headquartered west of the Rocky Mountains, with the bulk of those employers in the San Francisco Bay area.

Most survey respondents ranked stability as the top factor in wanting to work for an ideal employer. Interesting/challenging work and admiration for a company’s products and services were other top vote-getters in this category. Microsoft and Cisco both ranked high for offering interesting and/or challenging work as well as for their use of cutting-edge technologies. Dell and Disney were cited as attractive places to work thanks to the strength of their core business models.

Although WorldCom Inc. and Enron Corp. weren’t among the top 100 most desirable companies to work for, the two companies “were mentioned by a lot of people,” Doty said. Despite their respective financial collapses last year, both organizations “are still very highly respected in the tech community.”