IT managers take on more responsibilities with increased job security

A Computer Weekly survey reveals the role of the IT manager expanding to take on more responsibilities, with most feeling more secure in their jobs.

Some IT professionals may be feeling unsatisfied with new responsibilities being added to their job roles this year, but overall most are feeling more secure in their jobs, according to a survey conducted by Computer Weekly/TechTarget.

The CIO/IT Strategy Media Group IT salary and career survey, which questioned 600 UK IT professionals, found that in addition to their usual duties as an IT manager, 42% of respondents now have to factor in coordinating the integration of IT into the business and 35% said they had to take on new information management skills. 

Other new responsibilities included training or developing staff; understanding the economic impact of IT on the business; and managing a shared services environment.

Despite 38% admitting they are satisfied with these changes in their job role, 18% said they are not at all satisfied with how their position evolved throughout 2011.

Some 29% said over the next 3-5 years they are looking to either move to larger company or to a role higher up in their organisation. Only 1% wanted to move out of an IT role into a business one.

Job satisfaction

Phil Roebuck, chief executive of online recruiter, webrecruit said: “I would tend to agree with the majority of the TechTarget results outlined, particularly the increase of IT managers looking to change roles. We’ve seen an increase in IT applications, particularly from management-level and above candidates, who are dissatisfied with their present roles.”

Some 42% of respondents claim to be more satisfied with their job security in 2011 compared the previous year. However, 20% said they are satisfied with their current job and see themselves staying there for the foreseeable future. 44% admitted to being open to new opportunities but said they were not actively seeking a new position.

Roebuck said the main driver of candidates being dissatisfied was salary. He said this is perhaps anecdotal of the rising increase in dissatisfaction with a move from strategic activities.

“Interestingly though, there is another trend we are noticing and that is from job seekers who aren’t actively looking but are more open to hearing about opportunities, should the right role present itself,” Roebuck added.

Job security

The CIO salary survey’s results on job security are in contrast to service provider Star’s recent survey, which found one in five were actively seeking new work, because only 22% of respondents believed their current position to be secure for no more than 12 months. 

Furthermore, only about half of the IT professionals surveyed by Star said they are currently employed full-time by the company they work for.

Adrian Simpson, chief technology officer of SAP UKI, said such a low percentage of respondents being satisfied in their role is a terrible indictment of the pressure IT managers are under. 

Simpson said that, since he had become a CTO, he realised the importance of social media tools in allowing him to do his job more easily.

He explained: “Used properly it will allow me to stay connected with a wide audience as well as get in early with conversations on our customers issues and problems. Bring on the technology that can help!”

 

Business integration

George Ell, general manager EMEA at Yammer, an enterprise social network, said the high percentage of respondents coordinating business integration shows the role of the IT professional is going through a transformational period.

“CIOs, in particular, are increasingly charged with demonstrating bottom-line business value, rather than simply making sure the technology works. CIOs say they have less time to spend on strategic activities, but there is a shift towards strategic thinking that is more focused on the business rather than technology,” said Ell.

According to Ell, the current climate and trends such as BYOD raises the opportunity for IT to be seen less as a necessary evil, and more as a driver for business growth. "These additional responsibilities will be less focused on the ‘nuts and bolts’ and processes of the technology and more about people,” Ell said.

Robert Bowyer, director at Venn Group, commented on the importance of bringing in external skills, instead of overloading staff with too many duties, to cope with globalisation and rapid technological advancements. 

“As a specialist temporary consultancy, we have seen a big upturn in demand for interim IT positions over the last quarter, which is indicative of this trend," Bowyer said.

“The role of the IT manager will continually evolve, and at a time when the economy is performing below par, businesses will always need to rely on external skills to ensure work is carried out on time and by individuals who are highly skilled and can enter an organisation and hit the ground running.”

Oliver Gibbons, director of the technology practice at Twenty Recruitment Group, said the impact of the economy has effected changes in the IT manager’s role and will influence how the role continues to change.

Gibbons said: “Without the UK seeing the level of economic growth that we all hoped for, organisations have had to become more robust with their forward planning. 

"They need to be looking at how they maximise returns from their defined target markets and existing customer base to protect their business, while at the same time executing plans to maintain and further achieve a path of growth."

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