IT Morale: Going Down Fast
Slashed resources and impossible demands have caused IT morale to disintegrate.
Computerworld - Skeptical, stressed, scared, sucked dry. This is how IT professionals feel about work these days.
Other telling words that surfaced repeatedly during more than 30 interviews and in 200 written survey responses include fear, loathing, disgust and dread.
To be blunt, IT worker morale sucks, and it's getting bleaker by the day.
"It's the worst I've ever seen," says a 22-year IT veteran in the banking industry. "Morale is twice as low this week as it was last week."
Research backs up that claim. In June, nearly three-fourths of 650 companies surveyed by Meta Group Inc. reported having morale problems among their IT staffs. The year before, two-thirds of executives cited poor worker morale as an issue.
No wonder spirits are plunging. The U.S. technology sector suffered yet another round of widespread layoffs during the third quarter, according to a recent report by Chicago-based recruiting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. "High-tech job cuts are on the way up as the end of the year approaches," says CEO John A. Challenger.
Job cuts in technology jumped 60% between July and September to 54,701, compared with 34,213 layoffs in the second quarter, the report said. To make matters worse, the growing number of layoffs is not being countered by any move to hire, Challenger says.
And job insecurity is just one part of the problem.
Image Credit: Jonathan Weiner
These factors engender fear, exhaustion, bitterness and resentment, all of which blunt innovation and productivity. They can also cause long-term harm to workers' overall health, according to some experts.
In a 2004 Computerworld survey of 9,854 IT workers, 88% of the respondents said they experienced some kind of stress at work.
"We now know from research that in a work environment where there are a lot of pressure and demands and where people have very little control that substance abuse is two times higher, that heart problems and back pains are three times higher, that there's a greater rate of infections and mental health problems," notes Michael Koscec, president of Toronto-based Entec Corp., which specializes in measuring employee satisfaction and commitment at large companies.
Yet none of these problems is likely to be uncovered by traditional employee surveys, which tend to focus on salary, benefits and training issues. This is why experts advise managers to adopt a multifaceted approach to measuring employee morale and job satisfaction.
- Infographic: What's Stealing Business Performance? Riverbed spoke with IT management and other technology professionals at the Microsoft SharePoint Conference to develop this infographic on the causes of loss...
- What is this "File Sync" Thing and Why Should I Care About It? All of a sudden, getting a file from your work laptop to your iPad became as simple as clicking "Save." So it's no...
- Who does NSS Labs "Recommend" for NGFW? In 2012, NSS Labs found that most available NGFW solutions "fell short in performance and security effectiveness." In 2013 NSS Labs noted "marked...
- The Keys to Securing Data in a Collaborative Workplace Losing data is costly. IT professionals have spent years learning how to protect their organizations from hackers, but how do you ward off...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Why Are Customers Really Deploying an NGFW? It seems every IT Security expert is talking about the NGFW, but what are people really doing? This webcast covers 5 real-world customer... All Management White Papers | Webcasts