Fear, loathing and dread depicts state of IT industry

When it comes to workplace satisfaction, the IT industry rates poorly due in part to the high number of contractors.

Despite all the signs of an ecomomic upturn, IT jobs have not rebounded in line with the industry, according to Paul Bassat, CEO of recruitment company Seek.

In fact, the second annual Seek Survey of Employee Satisfaction and Motivation in Australia claims IT staff are less secure about their employment today than they were 12 months ago.

This is in stark contrast to other industry sectors where results were far more positive.

Some 52 percent of respondent IT staff were unhappy in their jobs compared to a 45 percent average across all other professions.

Bassat said the contractual nature of the IT industry plays a critical role in influencing job satisfaction and security.

"This begs the question as to why IT workers' job-related security has not rebounded in line with their industry?" Basset said.

"I suspect it is because about 25 percent of IT positions are contractual, coupled with lingering effects from the dotcom crash."

Moreover, an astounding 71 percent of IT workers disagreed with the statement 'management is open and honest with employees', although the national average across all industries was closer to 60 percent.

"Managers need to take a look at themselves and reassess their skills, especially in the area of building relationships based on trust with their employees," Basset said.

"Furthermore, at this time of year when people are reassessing their jobs and careers, it is important that they take the time to discuss contracts and opportunities with individual workers."

Low morale was also highlighted in Meta Group research which showed that, of 650 companies surveyed, 75 percent reported morale problems with staff.

Fear, loathing and dread were the words respondents used when asked to describe the IT industry.

With the IT industry emerging from a period of cost containment and job shredding, Information Technology Professionals Association executive officer David Sweet said now is the time for CIOs to provide job guarantees.

"Management shouldn't play on the insecurity of IT workers still recovering from the boom/bust period," he said, adding that Australia is a microcosm of the US market where the sector saw a 60 percent jump in job cuts between July and September of this year.

Sweet said job cuts have been continuing locally but there is still an estimated 200,000 IT professionals working in Australia.

"Job insecurity does contribute to low morale; it certainly contributes to motivation, and even if a person gets their morale up high enough to carry out the job, if they think they might lose that job in six months then its going to be hard for them to stay motivated."

However, RSM Bird Cameron IT resources manager Paul Joseph said lack of recognition is a prime contributor to low morale.

"If the job is interesting and challenging then staff are happy, but not being recognized for your contribution to the organization, and low appreciation for your role, definitely creates low morale," he said.

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