Tight budgets and the growth of offshoring could mean many UK IT jobs come under threat, and those which do not could become less interesting, according to Margaret Smith, IT director of Legal & General.
As one of the judges of the Best Places to Work in IT awards, she certainly does not perceive the issue as being one way, however. It is not simply a case of harassed IT staff having to permanently stick with what they have got or feeling they have to take what they are offered.
"Turnover is very low currently because of the uncertainty in the market. However, when the cycle turns round, which it will inevitably do, this is likely to lead to a big rise in turnover," said Smith. "I also believe that the younger generation are much more likely to travel the world at a moment's notice and, therefore, the workforce is less stable."
These pressures make it all the more important for organisations to create positions that staff find compelling in a stimulating environment.
Smith lists the criteria for a successful and productive workforce: interesting work; good colleagues; a learning environment; bosses who talk with you; no fear; information to hand which makes it easier for you to do your job; a successful company (or one you can help to turn around); fair pay and reasonable facilities.
The business benefits are clear, said Smith. "It is rather a hackneyed phrase but happy people are productive people. People who have job satisfaction will go the extra mile for the company so results are better."
She also pointed out that a happy working environment means fewer sick days and lower turnover of staff.
The judging panel
The members of the judging panel for Best Place to Work in IT2005 combine the best of business, IT and employment expertise. They include:
- British Computer Society With a growing membership of more than 42,000, the BCS is the leading professional and learned society in the field of computers and IT.
- IT Directors' Network This social, networking club for heads of IT (or equivalent) was formed more than 18 months ago. Co-founders Roger Ellis and Julie Loveday have had a long association with the IT industry.
- UK Oracle User Group An organisation that provides an independent voice for corporations and individuals using Oracle products and technologies in the UK and Ireland.
- E-Skills UK The industry body responsible for articulating and acting on the IT skills needs of UK employers.
- National Computer Centre The independent membership and research organisation whose mission is to promote the more effective use of IT.
- Communications Management Association
- The UK's premier business communications user association represents individuals who have responsibility for or manage communications systems. Members are drawn from the ranks of the top 1,000 UK organisations.