Should You Stay or Should You Go?

FRAMINGHAM (07/24/2000) - The latter, it seems, is often the answer for IT professionals. Loyalty is on the decline, even though salaries are on the rise, finds the Network World Salary Survey.

While the number of people who say they can't envision changing jobs in the foreseeable future remains at about 11%, the number of people actively looking for a new job has risen from 46% in 1998 to 52% in 1999 to 56% this year. And the percentage of women looking for new jobs has risen from 43% last year to 63% this year.

So what does this year's survey tell us about what's important to you in terms of your work? If you're a manager, what does the survey say about how you can do a better job keeping your top employees?"ob seekers are more interested in tuition reimbursement, increased responsibility, advancement potential, salary, bonuses, professional development and training than loyalists are.

The latter is tough, notes Sherry Callahan, senior network administrator at State Street Corp., a global financial services firm. "A company really goes out on a limb with training. It's nice to help employees beef up their resumes, but it's also a risk that the employees may leave," she says.

Callahan, who has worked in State Street's Kansas City, Mo., location for three years, recently received an outside job offer that guaranteed her a $11,000 signing bonus, two more weeks vacation and virtually complete autonomy. But she refused.

"It doesn't boil down to just money. I like to be on the cutting edge. I don't want to be in a position that will become stale," she says. "State Street allows me to always be working with new technology. It's very committed to the IT field."

At the other end of the spectrum, loyalists differ from seekers in that they are more concerned with the type of industry they're working in, proximity to home, family friendliness, stock options, autonomy and flexible work schedules.

"Because I'm diabetic, I have made a choice not to put in too many hours," says Hal Norman, IT manager of an aerospace subsidiary. "My boss is happy as long as we are getting everything done as it needs to get done." It's that kind of autonomy and trust Norman receives and greatly appreciates.

Loyalists and seekers also have much in common. They agree on the relative importance of overall compensation, access to new technology, recognition, job security, benefits and the opportunity to telecommute.

Finally, when it comes to the factors that employees say are most important about their jobs, the challenge of work comes out on top, at 94% for job seekers and 91% for loyalists. Overall compensation is second at 92% for seekers and 90% for loyalists, and access to new technologies is third at 91% for seekers and 90% for loyalists.

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