IT Pros Are Engaged, Upbeat and Loyal Employees: SolarWinds

Ninety percent of network and system admins say there are more responsibilities and demands on their time, but the overarching results find IT workers to be model employees.

Network administrators, or netadmins, and system administrators (sysadmins) feel high levels of job enjoyment and loyalty toward and confidence in their companies, according to a survey of 401 U.S.-based sysadmins and 400 netadmins released by IT management software specialist SolarWinds.

The survey also uncovered several key on-the-job differences between the groups, related to their job functions and responsibilities, views towards the organizations they work for and compensation levels. Despite 90 percent of each group agreeing there are now more responsibilities and demands on their time, the overarching results find IT workers to be model employees: experienced, optimistic and confident in their companies, loyal and satisfied in their job roles.

“Our survey reveals that IT pros are a remarkable and resilient bunch,” SolarWinds President and CEO, Kevin Thompson, said in a prepared statement. “They are unsung heroes in many companies, but they are incredibly loyal and motivated despite the scope of work they do and the demand of work on their time both on and off the job. It’s essential for companies to understand what drives netadmins and sysadmins to perform and give them the support that helps make their jobs easier in order to retain these valuable employees.”

Though both groups enjoy their jobs, netadmins demonstrate slightly higher job satisfaction. More netadmins (79 percent) expressed enjoyment in their jobs compared with sysadmins (68 percent). Similarly, more netadmins (66 percent) felt appreciated by the organization, higher than their sysadmin counterparts (56 percent). Two-thirds of netadmins and sysadmins agree solving problems is the best part of their jobs—the top answer for both groups.

A key shared viewpoint between the groups is that they feel supported and empowered to do their jobs in various ways. A majority of both groups feel they have adequate tools and software, support from the organization and ongoing training and skills development. However, most IT pros (70 percent of both groups) feel their work is not well understood by others in the company.

The survey also shed light on the ambitions of employees in the two groups: In five years, 43 percent of netadmins see themselves as IT department head and 17 percent see themselves as chief information officer (CIO). Similarly, 39 percent of sysadmins see themselves as IT department head, but a much smaller group (only 5 percent) said they see themselves as CIO.

Interestingly, there is some desire between the groups to switch job roles, with 19 percent of netadmins saying they will cross over to systems management and nearly a quarter (23 percent) of sysadmins predicting they will be netadmins in five years.

On a more personal note, the survey also touched on the social and consumer technology preferences of the two groups, finding netadmins were split in their preference over Google Android devices and the Apple iPhone, with 37 percent of respondents expressing preference for each platform. This compares with a slight majority of sysadmins using Android phones over iPhones. As with sysadmins, an overwhelming majority of netadmins, 82 percent, are PC users.

Demographically, two-thirds of both groups were male, and slightly more netadmins than sysadmins have advanced degrees, with 77 percent of netadmins having at least a bachelor’s degree compared with 65 percent of sysadmins. Netadmins were also a bit more experienced, with 68 percent indicating more than eight years of experience versus 62 percent of sysadmins, according to the survey.