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Training is key to soothing IT workers' three-year itch

IT professionals typically change jobs every three years, but whereas boredom pushes technical staff to move on, stress is a key factor for IT directors, ­two studies have revealed.

A poll of 50 CIOs by research firm Populus for IT services supplier EDS found that most stay in position for just over three years, despite overseeing projects that take much longer to deliver results. And a survey of more than 500 IT professionals by recruitment firm CV Screen revealed that most move on within three years.

Veronique Dargue, former CIO at Centrica, Novar and Prudential Retail, said IT directors usually take on too much.

"The CIO tries to make their mark quickly, and will tend to embark on a big, visible transformation programme. They will not quietly continue implementing previous strategies, or make small incremental changes - if they did more of this, they would take less risk, be under less stress and might last a bit longer," she said.

"The mindset is that once the CIO has done their time, they will have to change companies because there is nothing left for them at the current firm."

But for technical staff, it can be boredom driving them on.

Dave Evans, IT technical director at clothing firm Moss Bros, said people tend to get bored with routine. "They want to have a change, look at new technologies and get involved with new projects. I have found that most IT people who are training and developing are happy to stay in their jobs."

Training plans are key, said Don Taylor, director at employee management software firm Infobasis. "People who work in the technology industry want new things to learn - it is an important part of what they are doing. If they are stretched, the staff turnover decreases."

Tina Holt, operations director at IT recruitment company NESco, said candidates often cite training and development opportunities as reasons for changing jobs. "Companies who offer training as incentives are able to win over conscientious workers," she said.

The high demand for staff is enabling experienced IT professionals to switch jobs to further their careers, said Matthew Iveson, director at CV Screen. "There is so much demand that they have a lot of opportunities to move, and many move on for higher salaries and career progression," he said.

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