Caution: IT Workers Are Not Engaged
Back Published 2011-01-31
Princeton, N.J. — Jan. 31
Only 26 percent of IT employees in North America are fully engaged at work, while 22 percent are actually disengaged, according to a global study by consulting firm BlessingWhite.
Compare these findings to the North American workforce overall, which features 33 percent engaged and 18 percent disengaged.
“IT workers — especially at the help desk and maintenance level — are seen by many organizations as necessary but commodity-like functions that are not critical to the organization’s mission or strategy,” said BlessingWhite CEO Christopher Rice. “As long as the e-mail server is running, little thought is given to keeping this group informed, excited or committed to the organization’s success. And often the development of technical leaders is underfunded. This may explain why engagement levels are lower in IT departments than functions closer to strategic decision making and customers, like sales, HR and marketing.”
The “Employee Engagement Report 2011” explores workplace attitudes among employees on four continents and is based on survey responses of nearly 11,000 individuals. Among the study’s other findings:
• Fewer than half of IT employees (48 percent) trust their organization’s senior leaders. In contrast, more than three-quarters (76 percent) trust their immediate manager.
• Career development and training top the drivers of satisfaction and contribution for this group.
• Retention of technical talent is an ambiguous issue: Despite lower engagement levels, IT employees are no more likely to jump ship than the North American workforce as a whole. More than half (56 percent) indicate that they plan to “definitely” stay with their employer for the next 12 months, which presents employers with a specific challenge of embedded disengagement.
• Of those considering a move, IT employees are most likely to leave to pursue career advancement or more fulfilling work.
“Disengaged employees stay for what they get — a comfortable job, a good salary and decent job conditions,” Rice said. “Engaged employees stay for what they give — they like the work they do to drive your organization’s success. Give IT professionals opportunities to build their skill sets through training and development and the challenging projects that they crave or they’ll settle in, contributing little, until a better opportunity presents itself.”
The survey was conducted between July and October 2010, and results were compared with pre-recession data, gathered in December 2007.