Wake up call: your IT staff is probably unhappy

Hay’s Canada, an IT recruitment consultancy, and its recently released salary survey provides interesting results and insights into the needs and expressed preferences of IT professionals. Unlike traditional salary surveys that exclusively focus on salaries, benefits, and prerequisites, Hay’s Canada expanded this scope by delving into questions that ask in different ways, “How happy are you on your job”, and “if something could be done differently, what would it be?”

The survey outcomes are very interesting, and at the same time, some of the information appears to be somewhat contradictory. For example, the survey details that a whopping “69 per cent would forfeit money for a new job opportunity, that had all other elements in terms of benefits, career progression and company reputation that they expect.” This statement is astounding as it seems to indicate that 69 per cent of IT professionals are not satisfied with their job; why else would they be willing to forfeit money for a new job opportunity?

The unhappiness of respondents in their jobs is further borne out by the statement that “Almost half (49 per cent) are likely to highly likely to leave their current role”.  However there seems to be some contraction to the 69 per cent noted above who are willing to take a pay cut as  “For those considering leaving their current role, almost half (45 per cent) would need a pay increase of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent to make the move.”  This implies that unless a hefty increase is provided, there will not be enough attraction for the person to make the move.  These people obviously do not appear to belong to same pool comprised of the 69% who are prepared to take a pay cut to change employers.  But they may be related to the “More than half (53 per cent) would be willing to take a step down in terms of seniority level for a job opportunity that had better benefits, compensation and company reputation”.

The survey also uncovered that “new challenges” are the most important element for professional development – far more than both company funded education and in-house training”.  This might reflect that some IT professionals are no longer that interested in their work, and are possibly bored by their mastery of job routines.  Once employees no longer feel engaged in their work then the interest in making a job change will follow.  This could then be taken to imply that at least some of the 69 per cent of the people who are willing to take a pay cut to change jobs are part of this dis-engaged group.

Regardless, it appears that there is restlessness within the IT employee camp, so to speak. Whether or not employers think that their employees may be part of the 69 per cent who want a job change, employers should heed the survey outcomes and not be complacent about their employment practices.

It would be wise for employers to consider having an HR Audit to check if they are paying competitively, if they are providing challenging work and growth opportunities, and if they are providing the types of benefits and perquisites those surveyed want.  Retention practices are critical and it is important that employers be diligent and proactive in securing their key IT resources.

Time to listen to the wake up call, employers. More than likely, your IT professionals are among the unsatisfied.

Marylka Empey
Marylka Empey
Marylka Empey is management consultant with more than 20 years successful experience in working closely with organizations to address the “A to Z” of HR related opportunities and challenges. Ms. Empey has significant involvement with the HR Association of Ontario, having served on the Provincial Board, on the Chapter Board as President, and on the Provincial Professional Standards Committee where she contributed to establishing the professional benchmarks for the Certified Human Resources Designation (CHRP). A trusted advisor to management, Marylka collaborates to build effective relationships across the client organization, and acts ethically and with integrity. As a corporate executive, Marylka has experience in both the profit and not-for-profit sector, and was a member of the Executive team reporting to the President / CEO, with full responsibility for setting and executing the HR strategic direction in support of corporate business objectives.

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