Estimated reading time: 3 mins
The average tenure of an IT professional in an organization is still around two years on average, but there are exceptions where workers stay around what seems forever. Why?
I know of several dedicated, experienced IT professionals in the US, UK and South Africa that are in a ‘trap’ – i.e. they feel stuck in a rut. It’s amazing how many people find themselves in this situation. I wanted to know more about why this happens, so I have been looking at job mobility in IT people, and surveyed 50 IT professionals across a wide number of industries. I selected these people had all been in the same job or department for five years or more in the same organization, were dissatisfied with their current role, but didn’t feel they could move on.
I asked them for their primary reason why they felt this way. Here are the results:
|Felt their skills and experience weren’t transferable to other organizations|
|Were worried that they hadn’t enough experience in practices to secure roles in other organizations|
|Believed they were being overpaid for their current work and that they couldn’t secure equivalent pay in other organizations|
|Lacked confidence in their value or personal brand to seek alternative employment|
The results are interesting I think. (What do you think – post your comment.)
What’s more, of the 38% that felt their skills and experience wasn’t transferable, over half were in organization that hadn’t adopted ITIL yet, or any other industry standard . And of the 24% that felt they hadn’t acquired enough experience yet, once again over half hadn’t adopted ITIL, or any other industry standard. I see a theme emerging.
My interpretation of these results is this. Workers who don’t operate within environments of industry standard are building up knowledge and experience specific to their current organization. This knowledge, it seems, is of little value outside.
The implications of this are that employees in this category will become less and less productive and motivated over time whilst they feel more and more trapped. Over time, this will be costly for their employers. What’s more, it is unlikely their employers will attract new professionals into their organization, reducing their agility and ability to flex up and scale.
This situation maybe due to the way some organizations look at their IT capability. Some, I have experienced, see it as simple as a cost on their bottom line and the cost is sunk. This is a very operational view.
Ultimately, investment in IT and its workforce is both an operational cost (keeping the wheels on) and it is an enabler for the future. But there is a big, fat, grey line between those two outcomes. Giving people the skills to do their job more efficiently gives them the easier choice to leave, but that choice is a reminder why they remain with their employer and, I argue, will maintain motivation and productivity. Having the organizational framework that accommodates and requires these skills also opens up the door for new blood and a flexible workforce which should give business managers the assurance that their capability is always there, on tap.
Is the Industrialization of IT message getting through?