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IT professionals are impulsive risk-takers, finds survey

Jenny Williams

Most IT professionals are adventurous, impulsive and like to take risks, according to an exclusive poll of Computer Weekly readers.

Computer Weekly teamed up with the Psychological Consultancy to research IT professionals' attitude to risk. The online personality test, completed by 264 Computer Weekly readers, reveals 21% of IT professionals have a high propensity towards risk-taking.

Geoff Trickey, managing director at the Psychological Consultancy, says the results show the majority of IT professionals have the right temperament to deal with rapid changes in the industry.

"Technology is changing continuously. IT people are often involved in project-based work, which doesn't guarantee tenure. The adventurous personality has the emotional resilience to deal with this change," said Geoff Trickey.

Rob Grimsey, group marketing director at Harvey Nash, says the recruitment firm has seen a shift in employers' attitudes towards risk-taking, especially when hiring for senior IT roles.

"Our clients are driven by improving efficiencies and driving down costs. Innovation is the thing that's making the difference. With innovation comes taking risks. Clients are now hiring people who are expected to take risks," said Rob Grimsey.

A total of 21% of those with adventurous personalities were IT managers and consultants. IT administrators were more likely to be composed, confident and optimistic, while 29% of IT analysts were carefree and reckless.

Robin Jones, executive director for professionalism and education at the Institution of Analysts and Programmers (IAP), said he was surprised at the findings, which contradicted his experience of analytical people as risk-adverse.

"'Careless and reckless' doesn't sound like our members. As a general picture, they're not mavericks. They're competent professionals who take their job seriously," added Mike Ryan, director emeritus at the IAP.

Trickey says IT managers can use the test to create a balance between employee personalities within teams.

"Every business needs risk-takers. This test is not about trying to eliminate risk but to ensure a balance within teams," he said.

Click here to take the 10-minute personality test for free.

What is your attitude to risk?

Spontaneous

Uninhibited and excitable, they enjoy the spontaneity of unplanned decisions. They are attracted to risk like moths to a flame, but are distraught when things go wrong. Their passion and imprudence make them exciting but unpredictable.

Intense

Highly strung, pessimistic and nervous. In extreme examples, personal relationships and decision-making become an emotional minefield. Passionate and self-critical by nature, they take it personally when things go wrong.

Wary

Self-disciplined, cautious and pessimistic, they are organised but unadventurous. They will be drawn to the idea of securing their future but anxious that however well something worked for others, in their case it is bound to go wrong.

Prudent

Very self-controlled and detailed in their planning, this type is organised and systematic. Conforming and conventional, they are most comfortable with continuity and familiarity. They like to stick to what they know.

Deliberate

Systematic and compliant, this type tend to be unusually calm, optimistic and self-confident. They experience little anxiety and tackle risk and uncertainty in a purposeful and business-like way. They never walk into anything unprepared.

Composed

The composed type is cool headed, confident and optimistic. At the extreme they seem almost oblivious to risk and unaware of its effect on others. They take everything in their stride, seem imperturbable and manage stress well.

Adventurous

The adventurous type is both impulsive and fearless. At the extreme, they combine a deeply constitutional calmness with high impulsivity and a willingness to challenge tradition and convention. They seem imperturbable, fearless and intrepid.

Carefree

Spontaneous and unconventional, they are daring, seek excitement and are sometimes reckless. Not good at detail or careful preparation, their impatience and imprudence can lead to hasty and unwise decisions.


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