Job slump hits IT workers' morale

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Job slump hits IT workers' morale

Nathalie Towner
More than half of IT professionals say their trust in management has fallen during the past year.

Morale has also taken a battering, with the same proportion of IT professionals, 57%, stating that their motivation is lower than this time last year.

The report - Motivating People at Work: What is to be done - follows research by recruitment group Reed. It surveyed 2,600 employees in various roles across a range of industries.

Not surprisingly, given the downturn in technology spending and recent job cuts, IT staff were among those which showed the greatest fall in worker morale.

"Where I work there has been a drop in trust due to increased insecurity," said a technical consultant from the retail sector. "My motivation is down due to a lack of a visible career path. Immediate management has no clout, with all important decisions coming from the centre."

According to Mike Emmott, adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the key is to have managers at all levels giving a unified message.

"Employees tend to have a high level of trust for their line managers but the opposite for senior management.

"They all need to give believable messages that do not contradict one another so that they can manage people's expectations realistically," he said.

"Communication is fundamental. The organisation needs to tell people honestly where it is going."

According to the report the worst employer response to decreased levels of motivation is to do nothing.

Lack of communication, closed-door meetings and no contact were perceived to have the greatest demotivating effect on staff.

However, organisations under the greatest economic pressure, such as those in IT and manufacturing, were also those which lagged behind when it came to introducing morale-building initiatives.

Despite the battered morale among technology professionals only half of all IT organisations have taken new action in the past 12 months specifically to improve morale.

Training was top of the list of morale-boosting moves that employers have introduced in the past year, closely followed by giving more attention to internal communications.

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