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RealTime IT News

IT's Morale Dilemma

Having survived the recent industry slump only to grapple with reports of increased offshoring, the morale of IT workers has sunk to an all-time low, according to new research from the Meta Group .

The Stamford, Conn., firm said that in a survey of more than 650 companies, 72 percent of respondents identified low IT employee morale as a serious issue for their enterprise, up from 63 percent last year.

The findings echo results of another recent survey by IT job board Dice, which found that 80 percent of IT workers were dissatisfied.

Meta Group predicts dire consequences, including lower productivity and higher turnover, if the issue is not addressed.

"Working through this prolonged recession, which has seen budget cuts across the enterprise, numerous staff cutbacks, and general sector uncertainty, has definitely taken its toll on IT employee morale," said Maria Schafer, senior program director with Executive Directions at META Group, and author of the annual IT Staffing and Compensation Guide in a statement.

"The combination of these factors creates a difficult situation for the IT organization: productivity is hurt by having fewer people, fewer investment dollars for projects, and a perception that companies do not focus on retention," she added

The study also reported that 81 percent of respondents hired staff this year as compared to 86 percent last year. The difference however is that the number of new positions remains low and overall headcounts remain flat.

"Hiring levels remain relatively stagnant and although new projects are coming on-stream, they continue to be subjected to much more scrutiny than was the case three years ago," Meta Group says in the report. "Driving cost out of the organization continues to be a high priority."

Though offshoring remains a hot media and political issue, Meta Group's report found that 20 percent of respondents currently engage in the practice. In March, Gartner Group released a report that indicated that only 5 percent of US IT jobs were currently offshored with an estimated 25 percent to be offshored by 2010.

For those companies that are hiring, e-commerce/Internet skills continue to top the hot skills list at 25 percent, up form 22 percent last year with Java taking the number two spot at 11 percent, down from 14 percent last year. SAP and Oracle hold third spot at 13 percent each.

Also of particular note is that Meta Group found that 24 percent said that they pay IT workers 20 percent higher wages than non-IT employees, up from only 7 percent last year.

Companies are trying to ascertain worker morale levels, with 68 percent of them conducting employee satisfaction surveys. Forty-five percent of respondents have some form of employee recognition program though only 4 percent offer spot monetary incentives.