IT pros hunt for jobs

Are you looking for a new job? There’s about a 50-per-cent chance that your colleague is, too.

A recent online survey commissioned by IT World Canada revealed that despite 52 per cent of respondents saying they feel secure with their current job, 53 per cent are still searching, either actively or passively, for a new job within their respective companies or in another.

Dubbed A Study of Job Satisfaction, Skills Shortages and More, the survey probed over 3,000 Canadian IT professionals in various industries including banking, education, government, health, manufacturing, wholesale and retail and the computer sector.

The trend around career-hopping seems to be more prevalent among the younger age group. According to the survey, 65 per cent of those who are in the job market are under 25 years old. Those who have been in the IT profession for less than five years also tend to be searching for greener pastures somewhere else, with 45 per cent saying they’re looking for a new job in a different company. Only 15 per cent are looking for new opportunities within their firm.

Forty-four per cent of the respondents have a perception that other companies are offering a better compensation package. “Even one in five (22 per cent) who are satisfied with the package they get now believe other employers are more competitive,” the report said.

Factors that relate to qualify of life, such as flexible working arrangements, telecommuting, location, vacation packages and a stress-free environment, were the most important considerations for those who are job searching, the survey said.

Job satisfaction rating was highest in the banking sector, cited for various reasons including financial stability, company reputation, talented peers, corporate commitment to IT, skills development, bonus opportunities and stock options.

The computer sector, on the other hand, had the lowest job satisfaction rating among IT professionals in terms of financial stability, job security and benefits package. However, flexible working arrangements, working with leading-edge technology and corporate commitment to IT were cited as the computer sector’s strongest merits.

IT professionals in banking also have the highest total compensation (base salary plus bonuses) averaging $98,000 a year, while education has the lowest average in total compensation for IT professionals at $66,000 annually, according to the survey.

The survey also noted some differences between male and female IT workers in terms of drivers for job satisfaction. While male respondents are “more broadly driven by a range of benefits” such as health and pension, profit sharing and company car, “female IT professionals are more driven by job flexibility, dependent care support, time off and/or sabbatical.”

If IT professionals are looking, so are the employers. According to the survey, nearly 60 per cent expect their company to hire more IT staff next year, and 67 per cent believe these new hires will come from other companies. Only 19 per cent will be looking for fresh graduates from universities.

“IT professionals predict a 23-per-cent growth in their IT departments next year, from an average of 280 staff this year to 345 next year,” read the report.

Application development topped the list of skills that are in demand at 56 per cent. This skill is most sought after in mid-sized companies in the wholesale and retail sector, according to the survey.

Twenty-six per cent of survey respondents plan to hire more application developers next year.

Although networking professionals came in second at 45 per cent, networking experts may have a better chance at finding new employment as the survey showed a consistent need for their expertise across all enterprise sizes and sectors.

Project managers, meanwhile, may find that big organizations in the banking and government sectors would find their skills very desirable. Project management came in third on the list of IT skills in demand in Canada, but was second on the list of skills considered as “tough to find,” the report stated. Web services expertise was tied in with project management, both getting a rating of 34 per cent.

While rapid application development and extreme programming topped the list of skills that are difficult to find with 42 per cent response, only two per cent are planning to hire people with this type of qualification. The employers are mostly very large companies with over 10,000 employees, according to the survey.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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