CAT | IT Staff Augmentation

IT Job Satisfaction in a Rut

August 17th, 2010

It’s getting tough out there for IT employees facing long workdays, short tempers and limited career options.

Computerworld — The Jet Blue flight attendant’s dramatic de-planing last week says a lot about workplace frustration, a problem that may be increasing in IT.

A few days before flight attendant Steven Slater released a rear chute and exited his career with a couple of cans of beer in hand, an organization of IBM users meeting at the Share conference in Boston held an informal discussion entitled “The Mythical 40-Hour Week.”

It wasn’t a gripe session as much as a chance to share notes about what’s going in IT workplaces since the Great Recession. What emerged was an insider’s view of the frustrations building among tech workers as work days lengthen, pay remains stagnant and career growth appears thwarted.

Those taking part in the discussion asked that their names not be used so they could speak frankly.

“You don’t know how many hours you work – it’s all about getting the job done,” said one IT worker. “There are lots, lots of people in IT who are expected to work far more than a 40-hour week,” said another. Sixty hour weeks are common.

Yet another worker described bosses who expect their employees to work late into the night if need be to fix problems and then be on the job the next day at the usual time. Even vacation time is no longer sacrosanct: one person said he expects to be contacted “more than a half dozen times” during his time off.

Even if companies are getting more unpaid hours from their workers in today’s climate, the companies themselves may be getting hurt in other ways, according to the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) in Washington, D.C. The CEB conducts ongoing behavioral surveys of employee attitudes, and many of its clients are Fortune 500 firms.

The willingness of employees to “exert high levels of discretionary effort” — or put in the extra effort to get a job done — remains at low levels, the CEB found in its most recent survey, completed in the second quarter.

This willingness to put in extra effort fell from about 12% of workers in 2007 to about 4% last year. It was the lowest level in 10 years. The latest CEB survey of nearly 20,000 IT workers said that percentage had changed little and is now at 4.6%.

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IT Job Satisfaction in a Rut


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Hiring for IT jobs continues on the upswing in the U.S. and Canada as recessionary gloom gives way to cautious optimism, according to various recent polls of employers, who cite networking, security, virtualization and database skills as among the most sought-after.

IDG News Service — Hiring for IT jobs continues on the upswing in the U.S. and Canada as recessionary gloom gives way to cautious optimism, according to various recent polls of employers, who cite networking, security, virtualization and database skills as among the most sought-after.

“Overall, employer confidence is improving,” said Tom Silver, senior vice president, North America, at Dice Holdings, which operates Dice.com, a technology and engineering careers website. “We hear that as we speak to our customers every day.”

The most recent edition of The Dice Report, which heard from 600 respondents across the U.S. who hire or recruit technology professionals, found that 71 percent expect to add more employees in the second half of the year than they did in the first. More than half of that 71 percent expect to hire 10 or more new IT staff members. Likewise, CDW’s IT Monitor has had similar findings in its surveys across the U.S. and in some areas of Canada.

The IT Monitor recently found that 37 percent of IT decision makers at large companies expect to hire more IT staff in the rest of the year, which is up 11 percentage points from a year ago — the size of the increase was “a much faster jump than I would have expected to see,” said Matt Troka, CDW vice president of product and partner management and acting CMO.

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If you were looking for some ammo to get your budget increased for the coming fiscal year, Forrester has got your back with arguments why CEOs should stop limiting their IT budget allocations.

The gist of the argument is that putting CIOs under budget pressure forces them to spend on maintaining current operations rather than helping to grow the business. This isn’t a particularly universal argument; there are a lot of shops where IT really doesn’t have any clear or positive ROI avenues to contribute to business growth. The idea that new initiatives can contribute to efficiency and stability, though, can be easily substituted.

But the real problem with the Forrester argument is that they are probably advancing ideas that CEOs are already familiar with, and have rejected. More than once I have come across CEOs that squeeze IT budgets explicitly to prevent growth… growth in IT, at least. That is, after all, what they most frequently get for their invested IT dollars… new systems, more ongoing maintenance costs. There is no faster way to exist the CEO’s office than to come to him presenting as a positive something he has already mentally adjusted to as a negative.

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A Harris Interactive survey found that IT workers see an improving economy — and an opportunity to start looking for a better job.

Cross posted from Computerworld

Computerworld — It may be matter of debate whether the IT job market is improving.

Certainly, for Eli Lilly and Co.’s (LLY) IT workers who are facing a layoff, the state of the job market is clear. The pharmaceutical company last week said it plans to cut 340 IT jobs on top of 140 positions cut earlier this year.

Eli Lilly employs some 1,250 IT workers in the U.S. and said the IT cuts are part of an overall restructuring of more than 5,000 workers nationwide, a company spokesman said, confirming a report in the Indianapolis Star , hometown newspaper in the city where Eli Lilly is based.

Despite the woes in the Eli Lilly IT operation, national IT hiring indexes have been showing fluttering month-to-month increases , and a new survey conducted by Harris (HRS) Interactive found that confidence among tech workers in the economy is on the rise.

Harris surveyed 4,367 employed tech workers, including 241 in IT operations, in the second quarter of 2010 and found that 38% of the IT workers believe the economy is getting stronger, compared to 32% in the first quarter.

The survey, dubbed the IT Employee Confidence Index, was conducted by Harris on behalf of Technisource Inc., a national staffing and recruiting firm.

The breakout data from the survey could portent trouble for IT managers and companies now relying on fewer IT employees.

For example, the survey results provides evidence that many IT workers may already be preparing to look for new jobs over the next year.

Harris said that 61% of IT workers earning between $35,000 and $50,000 a year are "likely" to start looking for a new job over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 27% of IT workers now making between $50,000 and $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 certainly salary increases were suspended," said Sean Ebner, a regional vice president at Technisource. And, he added, "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 new jobs doesn’t yet mean the job will be there. For instance, only 27% of IT workers earning between $35,000 and $50,000 indicated that they expect more jobs will be available to them.

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Here’s a continuation of my previous post about staff augmentation. Another consulting client had a very short term project that required a specific skill set that no one on her staff possessed. The intricacy of the project required that our engineer become part of the IT team and interact regularly with marketing and senior management. Handling that as a fixed priced project would not have worked for us or them. We were able to provide an experienced engineer to become a temporary part of the staff and complete the development in just a few weeks. That engineer had at his disposal our entire team of engineers and project managers to offer advice and guidance as the project progressed. This is another significant advantage to the client. The staff augmenting engineer of a solid integrator has an impressive team on their staff and can access that team at any time. Compare that to a new hire coming into the company. He or she may have contacts from previous jobs, or a network of peers in the industry but it is not the same as having fellow employees who have a strong vested interest in the success of the engagement.

Just as the engineer has an opportunity to bond more closely with the client, a big plus for the integrator, the client gains significant visibility with the integrator. I am a huge fan of tight, loyal, long term relationships between integrators and their clients. It is much better for both businesses in the long term. The very process of staff augmentation goes a long way in strengthening the relationship.

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“We interviewed for six months for this position, and then gave this guy six months to prove himself, but he just hasn’t worked out.” a frustrated client explained to me just last week. “Now the head of that team has given her notice, and will be gone in two weeks! It’s just extremely frustrating” she went on to say.

Unfortunately this type of problem is a regular occurrence for small to medium sized businesses trying to build and/or keep their IT staffs intact, happy, and motivated. This recession, which many IT managers had hoped would provide a much needed reprieve from the incredible challenge of finding the right IT talent, has brought little relief. It is just as difficult to recruit and keep exceptional IT talent as it has ever been. There is a solution however, that I have seen work well for many companies willing to think outside the box a bit. I refer to it as “staff augmentation, basically bringing in outside personnel to augment your current staff from time to time”.

You see, there are many solid IT integration companies that have talented IT engineers with a wealth of knowledge of a variety of networking solutions. These are very expensive people to keep on staff. For integrators, keeping these engineers busy on billable projects is crucial to their profitability. Utilizing this talent in staff augmentation roles on a regular basis has many advantages. The first and most obvious is that such an engagement is usually billed by the hour, making the engineer’s billable hours 100% percentage billable100%. The second is that it can provide a degree of stability for the engineer who can report to the same site, with the same hours, for a specific period of time. That can be a welcome break for an engineer who has been all over the map juggling a variety of projects. It also allows the engineer to form much tighter working relationships with key staff at a valuable client. From the integration company’s perspective it can be a real win.

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Mike Hanes
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The IT jobs market is showing signs of recovery, particularly on the permanent side, according to Reed Specialist Recruitment.

Computerworld UK — The IT jobs market is showing signs of recovery, particularly on the permanent side, according to Reed Specialist Recruitment.

Andrew Gardner, senior divisional director of the technology division of Reed Specialist Recruitment, said that the number of available permanent jobs was picking up again particularly in SMEs, as well as in the financial services sector and in software houses.

“As part of the downturn, our permanent team took a mauling, but over the last five or six months, it has started to pick up again.

“We are now looking to build our permanent teams back up to meet the demand,” said Gardner.

Reed currently has a team of 25 in the permanent jobs division, and Gardner aims to recruit a further 20 in the next few months, which takes the total “slightly higher than we had before”.

Furthermore, Reed said its lead time between interviews and job offers has shortened to that of before the recession.

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Although companies such as HP may be slashing their workforce, a survey finds the majority of HR heads are planning on making IT hires in the next six months.

Although companies such as HP may be slashing their workforce, a survey finds the majority of HR heads are planning on making IT hires in the next six months.

More than three-quarters (78 percent) of human resources managers or recruiters who have responsibility in recruiting technology positions are looking to hire IT workers in the next six months, according to the 2010 IT Hire Intelligence Survey conducted by Monster.com, an online career and recruitment resource on behalf of technology services provider Technisource. In addition, the majority of survey respondents said they are confident that their company’s performance will improve across the same time period.

Among the key findings, 76 percent of respondents have confidence that their company’s performance will improve in the next six months, while 78 percent of respondents plan to hire IT staff in the next six months. When asked what technology-oriented positions IT hiring managers were looking to fill, applications and infrastructure positions took the lead.  

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Tags: IT Jobs, IT Hiring, IT departments, IT Budgets

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Many future chief executive officers (CEOs) will come from the ranks of 21st century business-minded chief information officers, Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns told more than 1,100 attendees at Forrester’s IT Forum, Forrester’s flagship IT event spanning 12 roles across IT and technology marketing professionals.

Burns was among the senior business leaders — including CIOs from JetBlue, Nike, Sony, and Starbucks — that demonstrated how technology can transform the business.

“For too long, the emphasis in information technology has been on the technology — the latest and the greatest — with all too little attention on the information our businesses need to run more efficiently and effectively,” Burns said. “Forrester has taken the notion one huge step forward — putting the emphasis not on information but on business.”

George F. Colony, Forrester’s chairman and CEO, told the audience that the CEO is essential to the success of business technology (BT). For BT to succeed, according to Colony, the CEO must provide a clear high-level direction for the company, be a catalyst for bringing the business and technology together, and keep business and technology focused on strategic initiatives that drive the business forward. For their part, it is essential that CIOs be proactive, bring best practices and develop a point of view on priorities.

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Mike Hanes
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Dallas IT Recruiter Guy

Integrity in Recruiting
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Posted via email from ptg’s posterous

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Although companies such as HP may be slashing their workforce, a survey finds the majority of HR heads are planning on making IT hires in the next six months.

More than three-quarters (78 percent) of human resources managers or recruiters who have responsibility in recruiting technology positions are looking to hire IT workers in the next six months, according to the 2010 IT Hire Intelligence Survey conducted by Monster.com, an online career and recruitment resource on behalf of technology services provider Technisource. In addition, the majority of survey respondents said they are confident that their company’s performance will improve across the same time period.

Among the key findings, 76 percent of respondents have confidence that their company’s performance will improve in the next six months, while 78 percent of respondents plan to hire IT staff in the next six months. When asked what technology-oriented positions IT hiring managers were looking to fill, applications and infrastructure positions took the lead.  

Read more at eWeek

Mike Hanes
ProVisionTech

ProVisionTech Jobs – Dallas IT Jobs – Dallas Technical Jobs

Dallas IT Recruiter Guy

Integrity in Recruiting
972-200-7171
        


    "Save Time, The Best Resources, Guaranteed!"

                

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