Surprise: Voluntary IT Turnover Remains High

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2002-05-16 Print this article Print

IT workers last year voluntarily left jobs at rates up to 20 percent in some sectors, suggesting morale and other problems in the IT workplace.

Rather than hunkering down during the recession, IT workers last year actually left jobs voluntarily at rates as high as 20 percent in some sectors, according to Meta Groups recently released 2002 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide. The report said the results suggest widespread morale and other problems in the IT workplace. The report--which scrutinized 170 IT positions and their salaries and surveyed compensation and IT specialists at more than 600 medium-sized to large U.S. companies—found that the average voluntary turnover rate was 10 percent. That figure was down by only one percentage point over 2001. According to the report, a turnover rate of 9 percent is considered healthy, while rates greater than 10 percent generally indicate fundamental problems with productivity and morale. The highest turnover rate, 20 percent, was found in the transportation and distribution industry. Media/publishing wasnt far behind, with a voluntary turnover rate of 18 percent. Healthcare clocked in at 17 percent.
More than half the reports respondents indicate retention of IT professionals is a "very serious" or "fairly serious" issue. Maybe thats one reason why retention bonuses to IT workers increased: The report found that theyre being handed out at a rate that increased 32 percent over the past year, from 12 percent to 44 percent.
Among the IT skills considered the most difficult to retain were e-commerce/Internet skills (24 percent) and application development skills (20 percent). Other findings of the report included:
  • Involuntary departure rates were high: 45 percent of survey respondents said they have fewer IT staff than last year.
  • Despite the downturn, 34 percent of IT organizations have increased their total number of IT staff.
  • The federal work force is facing retirement of more than 50 percent of its work force during the next five to seven years.
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    Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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