Australia, NZ IT staff among most likely to leave, says Gartner

IT staff across the globe are more likely to leave their employer than non-IT staff, a survey has found.

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A new survey from Gartner has found that IT employees in Australia and New Zealand have lower “intent to stay” with their current employer than in most other regions. Globally, IT workers are more inclined to quit their jobs, with a 10.2% lower intent to stay than non-IT employees—the lowest out of all corporate functions.

The survey, which was carried out in Q4 2021, found that only 29.1% of IT workers have high intent to stay with their current employer, but the number is much lower in Asia (19.6%), Australia and New Zealand (23.6%), and Latin America (26.9%). Meanwhile in Europe, the best-performing region, only 38.8% of IT workers say they have high intent to stay.

Graham Waller, an analyst at Gartner, told CIO New Zealand that the impact of losing staff would be felt keenly by CIOs. “We know that the great talent competition or new talent landscape is a real concern for all leaders, but CIOs are at the epicentre. A lot of CIOs are really struggling to execute their strategy because they just can’t get access to the talent they need and particularly the high, in demand digital skills whether that be cybersecurity or agile product teams or cloud specialists.”

Traditionally compensation was the highest attractor for IT employees in the Australia and New Zealand, but in Q4 2021 that flipped with ‘work-life balance’ cited as the No. 1 attractor, Waller said. “Work-life balance can mean a lot of different things, but for a lot of people a big component is ‘How often I’m being asked to go to an office and therefore how can I balance my family life and my work life? … A lot of people are looking not to commute into a big city all the time and would rather live near the beach and surf [for example]. Certainly, progressive organisations are offering within their employee base options to work anywhere.”

Globally, Waller said their research also found if hybrid working was implemented well it could improve ‘intent to stay’ by 44% and improve performance by 28%. “Most organisations are telling us that when the dust settles [they will be operating] in some form of hybrid work. The key finding from our research is that there’s a huge difference between implementing hybrid well versus poorly.”

When it comes to which age group are more likely to leave roles, those under 30 came up top. Globally, only 19.9% of IT workers who are 18 to 29 have a high likelihood to stay with their current company, compared to 48.1% of those aged 50 to 70 years.

Waller says one the key reasons the under-30s cited as a consideration for quitting was not feeling valued by their organisation. “One of the attraction and attrition drivers we track is respect, basically it is ‘Does my organisation respect me as a person?’. And for younger people that’s way, way higher in their importance,” he said. Working for an organisation with social purpose, feeling valued and diversity came up as strong drivers for this demographic.

Another key factor that could make the difference between an IT employee staying in their role or intending to leave was the quality of their manager, according to Gartner’s research. “It’s the No. 2 attrition driver [globally], and it’s very actionable [for CIOs]. ... In the chaotic times that we’re living in, your frontline manager is more important than ever to employees. … We are seeing organisations focusing on supporting those managers because they are in a difficult position and being asked to do a lot more and navigate tough times.”

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