Saturday, October 8, 2011

1 in 4 IT staff plans to quit

In an article published in Straits Times "1 in 4 IT staff wants to quit", a survey done by the Singapore Computer Society (SCS), the numbers are pretty alarming.

The poll shows that younger workers, especially new entrants to the industry have a stronger desire to leave.

Main reasons - low prestige, poor work-life balance.

One of the IT executives mention that IT workers are usually treated as back-end staff because IT is secondary to businessess. Thus, he feels like a "help" walking button and has to pander to people.

There are others whom feel that they need to constantly upgrade (software developers) their skills and knowledge, making it tiring to keep up with the latest technology - matters made worse when they do not feel well remunerated & appreciated.

Low increment rates in the industry may also lead to job hopping. What can be done to resolve the issues?

I have tabluated 3 key recommendations:

1. Personal expectation, company and industry expectation

When a person advances into the field of IT, it's always advisable to list down the top 5-10 things he wants out from the job. Specifically, it's better to state the specialized field - for example, hardware (networks), software (games & animation). This helps to shape the focus and manage satisfaction since IT evolves quickly in general. On the other hand, basic research into the industry is useful - talk to contacts you know who is in their roles to find out the constant challenges faced by IT Professionals. The objective is to find the fit between YOU, the roles in IT and how you can exploit the opportunities.

Because we can't control things cemented within the organization (e.g. work-life balance as some IT jobs need to be on 24/7 standby) - what we can control is to define what we want: the 5-10 things will come in handy. Once opportunities maximized in short to mid-term, probably that person will be able to move on to a new role after gaining experiences.

2. Broad-based strategic mapping of the IT industry

If you are trained in IT, what other areas are you able to transit and move within the same sphere? Do you need further upgrading and certification?

Did you take out a piece of paper and draw out the various career options in IT? For example, moving from an IT Analyst to a IT Business Consultant?

What are the things to consider? How about progression across international waters?

A point to note is your overall marketability such as soft and technical skills. A Project Manager in his 40s said "I was trained in IT, what else can I do?" - there is plenty and probably he will realize after identifying the options available and connect it with his inner strengths, abilities and positive mindset.

3. Recognized associations with strong government & overseas links

We are moving into the Information & Technology Age, with cloud computing as a potential trend in future. Companies should recognize this!

Hopefully, associations such as SCS and many others will come together, pull in resources and form a centralized hub where IT workers will win prestigious local awards, lobby for higher perks & remuneration and have the opportunities to branch out regionally. Exchange programs can be facilitated at PMEBs level. A level of government intervention and encouragement will help spur the movement.

Seminars can be arranged for company bossess that talk about exploitation of technology to reap in higher earnings - IT personnel will form the backbone of producing greater business efficiency. The problem lies in the fact that most IT workers are on contractual basis, freelance or hired by "unscrupulous" agents.

In-house and fully contracted, though add on to the manpower costs, will reap in longer term cost benefits upon offering the ready support as part of the family.

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