Amid fears of a "double-dip" recession, rising unemployment, and continued economic turbulence, a survey of IT professionals conducted by Modis, a provider of IT staffing solutions, paints a brighter picture of the current career outlook for the field. According to the survey, 89 percent of IT professionals are happy at their current jobs and 64 percent intend to stay where they are presently employed. In addition, 44 percent of all IT professionals expect a raise next year, while only 26 percent expect their salaries to remain the same.
This widespread career contentment may be the result of survey respondents feeling that the things they find most critical to their job satisfaction are being fulfilled. These factors include having a boss that does not micromanage (70 percent), having a good salary and benefits (62 percent) and having opportunities to receive training in new technical skills (61 percent).
"These results are consistent with what we are seeing and hearing on a day-to-day basis at Modis," said Jack Cullen, president of Modis. "IT professionals are generally happy in their current roles and are cautiously optimistic about what 2012 may bring."
Modis' survey, conducted by Braun Research, also revealed which areas of IT are expected to see the most growth over the next five years. Cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) are seen as poised for the most growth (29 percent), closely followed by security (21 percent) and mobile solutions (18 percent). "When we talk to CIOs and IT decision makers, they regularly bring up these three key areas as vital within their organization," said Cullen. "Finding technologists with experience and skills in these areas is critical for their IT departments."
IT professionals say the most cited priorities for their organizations today are achieving cost savings (62 percent), followed closely by finding IT solutions for internal demands (61 percent) and taking a more integrated approach to improve communications with the rest of the business (52 percent). While the majority of IT professionals (65 percent) believe their IT team will stay the same size in 2012, 28 percent think their teams will increase head count either marginally or significantly in the year ahead.
If another economic slowdown occurs, 25 percent of IT professionals indicate that they'd be very concerned about losing their jobs and 32 percent would have some concerns. Forty-two percent, however, say they wouldn't be concerned at all about losing their job. More than a third (35 percent) of IT professionals said that networking with other IT people is the most effective way to land an IT job. Interestingly, despite their implied tech-savvy, only 8 percent said that social-media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are most effective for landing an IT job.
"These survey results reveal some key insights that can benefit both IT professionals and their bosses," said Cullen. "Employers can retain top talent through more than just a competitive salary. Workers value autonomy and room to manage their own projects, opportunities to grow as professionals and have a voice in the status of the project, as well as flexible work arrangements.
Cullen cautioned that on the flipside, IT workers need to do their part as well and shouldn't get complacent in their careers. "One of the most critical factors to IT career success is not just gaining new technical skills, but also gaining domain knowledge-a deep understanding of the specific business environment you work in, be it in financial services, health care or energy," he said.