IT Careers 2014

Why few want to be the CIO anymore

More than half of the respondents to our survey say they don't aspire to be a CIO. Here's why politics, pay and a lack of prestige can sink CIO aspirations.

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Stephanie Jurenka started out in IT as a systems administrator more than 10 years ago. Today, she's an IT manager with absolutely zero interest in a CIO role.

"Being a CIO doesn't offer the opportunity to do the cool stuff that IT people like so much to do. It's about meetings and budgets and politics," says Jurenka, who works at Westway Group, a bulk liquid storage company in New Orleans.

Dan Allen, an IT manager at Delta Children's Products in New York, feels the same way. With close to 20 years in the profession, he has no desire to be a CIO either.

"The IT management positions I pursue are almost all hands-on positions," Allen says. "Yes, you have to take advantage of the opportunities given to you, but I continue to work on my [technical] certifications because I want to be in an engineering position. The CIO role doesn't appeal to me. I discovered over the years that I prefer to be hands-on."

Jurenka and Allen aren't alone. In a Computerworld survey of 489 IT professionals conducted in August and September, 55% of the respondents said they don't aspire to a CIO post. In fact, only 32% of them said that they have set their caps for IT's top job. Politics, relatively low pay and a lack of prestige all register as deterrents.

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