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Tech workers, with 'pent-up animosity,' plan to bolt

By Patrick Thibodeau
August 23, 2010 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld - Many technology professionals -- stressed-out over pay freezes and heavy workloads -- are thinking about jumping to other companies as the economy improves, according to the latest IT Employee Confidence Index.

Polling firm Harris Interactive surveyed 4,367 employed tech workers, including 241 in IT operations, in the second quarter of 2010 and found that 38% believe the economy is getting stronger, compared to 32% in the first quarter. Technisource Inc., a national staffing and recruiting firm, commissioned the survey.

Breakout data from the survey indicates that many IT workers are already preparing to look for new jobs over the next year.

Harris reported that 61% of IT workers earning $35,000 to $50,000 a year said they are "likely" to start looking for a new job over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 27% of IT workers now making $50,000 to $75,000 annually, and 36% of those whose salaries exceed $75,000, are "likely" to begin a job search.

"In some areas, salaries were cut or salary increases were suspended," said Sean Ebner, a regional vice president at Technisource. "As cuts were made in IT, the remaining staff was asked to do significantly more without additional compensation. It really did create some pent-up animosity."

Ebner said the survey found more interest in seeking new jobs than ever before.

The willingness to look for a new job doesn't yet mean that a job will be there. For instance, only 27% of IT workers earning $35,000 to $50,000 indicated that they expect more jobs will be available to them.

The state of the IT job market is a mixed bag. National IT hiring indexes have shown month-to-month improvement recently, but employers are still cutting. Last month, for example, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. confirmed plans to eliminate 340 IT jobs, on top of 140 positions cut earlier this year, as part of a broader corporate restructuring.

This story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an earlier version that first appeared on Computerworld.com.

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