After pay cuts, IT workers may seek payback in new job

Salary cuts and freezes, more work and 'pent-up' animosity may prompt IT workers to bolt, survey finds

It may be matter of debate whether the IT job market is improving.

Certainly, for Eli Lilly and Co.'s IT workers who are facing a layoff, the state of the job market is clear. The pharmaceutical company last week said it plans to cut 340 IT jobs on top of 140 positions positions cut earlier this year.

Eli Lilly employs some 1,250 IT workers in the U.S. and said the IT cuts are part of an overall restructuring of more than 5,000 workers nationwide, a company spokesman said, confirming a report in the Indianapolis Star , hometown newspaper in the city where Eli Lilly is based.

Despite the woes in the Eli Lilly IT operation, national IT hiring indexes have been showing fluttering month-to-month increases , and a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that confidence among tech workers in the economy is on the rise.

Harris surveyed 4,367 employed tech workers, including 241 in IT operations, in the second quarter of 2010 and found that 38% of the IT workers believe the economy is getting stronger, compared to 32% in the first quarter.

The survey, dubbed the IT Employee Confidence Index, was conducted by Harris on behalf of Technisource Inc., a national staffing and recruiting firm.

The breakout data from the survey could portent trouble for IT managers and companies now relying on fewer IT employees.

For example, the survey results provides evidence that many IT workers may already be preparing to look for new jobs over the next year.

Harris said that 61% of IT workers earning between $35,000 and $50,000 a year are "likely" to start looking for a new job over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 27% of IT workers now making between $50,000 and $75,000 annually and 36% of those whose salaries exceed $75,000 are "likely" to begin a job search.

"In some areas, salaries were cut or certainly salary increases were suspended," said Sean Ebner, a regional vice president at Technisource. And, he added, "as cuts were made in IT, the remaining staff was asked to do significantly more without additional compensation. It really did create some pent-up animosity."

Ebner said the survey found more interest in seeking new jobs than ever before.

The willingness to look for new jobs doesn't yet mean the job will be there. For instance, only 27% of IT workers earning between $35,000 and $50,000 indicated that they expect more jobs will be available to them.

The Harris survey results were released just a few months after The Corporate Executive Board, a Washington-based advisory firm that surveys 150,000 worker each quarter including 10,000 in IT, found that the willingness of critical employees , those who typically put in extra effort and to engage themselves in a company, had fallen to its lowest level ever.

At the time, the CEB warned that once the hiring picture improves, dissatisfied employees may start looking to leave their current employers.

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Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld (US)
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