Workplace reality vs. fantasy for IT professionals

Workplace reality vs. fantasy for IT professionals

Survey suggests that young IT workers might not be able to distinguish reality from fantasy.

Most people have an image in their minds of the ideal work environment, tailored to meet their financial, intellectual and social needs, but a majority of people probably don't leave their homes every day expecting to work in that fantasy realm. Yet recent survey results suggest that young IT workers might not be able to distinguish reality from fantasy when they enter the workplace. Recently a staffing firm revealed that a majority of IT managers cited employees between the ages of 18 and 31 as the biggest challenge in terms of retention. The topic raised the question: Is IT behind the times in its expectations of young talent? Or as the survey suggests: Are workers just entering the workforce disillusioned about the reality of today's IT-related employment options?

The survey conducted by Boston-based staffing firm Atlantic Associates polled 100 executives in Massachusetts companies about staffing challenges. Millennials, workers aged 18 to 31, are the greatest challenge according to more than 50 per cent of respondents because of what many of those managers polled said were unrealistic expectations of pay or work environment. For instance, younger workers may expect more compensation or benefits such as an office than perhaps their entry-level position warrants.

Yet the subject of keeping experienced staff on board hits home with many IT managers who put retaining IT talent at the top of their 2008 wish lists. Take Klara Jelinkova, director of computing systems at Duke University in Durham, N.C., she says that one of the worries that keeps her up at night is staff retention because finding the right candidate for a position in the IT organization is critical to its success.

"Having an IT structure in which you have teams of people with various areas of expertise that is loose enough to be able to take on new technologies is critical. Cross-functional teams are becoming more and more important and IT has to be able to contribute outside of the box of a traditional organizational chart," she says. "IT management really needs to take a new approach to keeping staff happy, allowing them to explore new things because this new knowledge is essential to IT being able to work truly in support of the business."

While it seems IT managers realize the need to attract key talent and maintain their job satisfaction, perhaps corporate budgets aren’t yet up to speed to adequately compensate incoming IT staff. The topic is generating a bit of conversation among Network World's community members, many of which argue that IT staff should be better compensated for their talent and any talk of disillusioned workers is nonsense.

Network World

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Tags skills shortagecareerworkplacegen Ygeneration ysalaries

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