Flat chat with no support

I know some IT managers are flat chat when 30-minute meetings with interlopers such as myself have to be scheduled at least four weeks out or when the time can’t even be spared at all.

What’s hard to get a handle is on whether such time-pressured existence is seen across the whole profession, or is particularly expressed at organisations where IT is either perennially under-resourced and poorly supported from top levels.

Anecdotally, it seems matters such as the current lull in hiring (or non-replacement policies) would add work pressure on IT teams. However, with modest (or no) IT investment growth being noted by some industry pundits and the supporting comments from CIOs interviewed in our IT leadership feature (from page 20), it looks like we’re operating within a climate of slightly reduced activity.

Last time I looked in more detail at the working hours issue was almost two years ago in July 2001. At that time statistics from the Australian Computer Society remuneration survey of its membership found extreme hours reported by only about 2 per cent of survey respondents. Some 13 per cent reported a very hard slog working 55 hours to less than 61 hours. However, in 2001 the median working week reported by IT pros in the private and education sectors was 45 hours, compared with 43 in the public sector.

According to Simon Kwan, marketing manager, ACS, it’s messy to get a clear picture on working hours, because there are various complicating factors. With a focus on unemployment, skill sets and sources of training, the latest ACS remuneration survey does include a section in ‘under and over employment’. It doesn’t chop the numbers up in quite the same way as the 2001 survey, thus allowing for no direct comparison. However, 47 per cent of those responding to the latest survey’s working hours question nominated an ideal working week that was shorter than the one they were currently maintaining. The preferred working week for most respondents was 30 to 39 hours. Some 22 per cent wanted to be able to work longer hours.

Are your hours longer than they were two years ago? Or has the pressure dropped? E-mail me at avid_Beynon@idg.com.au

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