Survey reveals job satisfaction in IT industry

A survey conducted by Victoria University of Wellington as part of a global project shows high levels of job satisfaction amongst New Zealand’s information technology (IT) employees.

The World IT Project is an in-depth study of IT professionals and spans 37 countries. It focuses on the organisational, technological, and individual issues of IT employees around the world.

An IT employee was defined as a person who works with IT for 50 percent or more of their time. Data was restricted to employees from organisations with 10 or more IT employees.

The New Zealand survey, led by Dr Jocelyn Cranefield from the University’s School of Information Management, had more than 500 responses.

Dr Cranefield worked with a project team to carry out the survey, including Dr Mary Ellen Gordon who is leading the data analysis.

The results showed respondents were generally happy and satisfied with their job. Satisfaction was higher for people working in educational institutions, and lower for those working in government or public sector organisations.

Female respondents recorded greater job satisfaction than males. A similar pattern held for senior managers, compared to junior staff.

Employees in “high IT maturity” organisations were happier, says Dr Cranefield, and were more likely to stay at their organisation for years to come.

“A mature IT organisation is one that has good systems, follows consistent practices and is productive in its delivery of outcomes. So this isn’t surprising, but it is a case for why organisations should invest in IT maturity—to attract and retain staff.”

Among those surveyed, 58 percent of those working in financial institutions rated their organisations as having high or very high IT maturity, compared to 50 percent working in educational organisations and 35 percent working in government organisations.

45 percent of survey responses were from people born outside of New Zealand. Respondents who were born in New Zealand and the United Kingdom indicated they were least concerned about their jobs being eliminated or outsourced.

“On average, respondents reported feeling moderate work pressure. Those born in South Africa agreed that they felt busy or pressured, whereas those born in India or the Philippines stated that they didn’t feel drained or tired from work,” says Dr Gordon.

“Those from India, in particular, appear to be bringing with them a greater sense of urgency, perhaps developed through exposure to India’s much larger, more competitive, IT industry. They are also disproportionately young and well-educated: suggesting that their influence will only grow as more of them are promoted into managerial positions.”

Dr Cranefield says the survey results differ from some other reports.

“There are accounts of increasing levels of stress in the IT industry. However, our survey shows that New Zealand IT workers appear to be fairly well satisfied with their roles overall, and feel a sense of accomplishment without excessive concern about work pressure, workload, work life balance, or losing their jobs.”

The World IT Project global team is now cross-analysing the information gathered from all 37 countries involved.