Technology, society and morality: the implications for technology leaders

Technology is evolving at a pace and scale that has never been experienced. Society is struggling to keep up with the social and moral implications

Technology is evolving at a pace and scale that has never been experienced before. It is leaving a void where society is struggling to keep up with the social and moral implications they create. For technology professionals this is exciting and worrying in equal measures.

It is also one of the main reasons over a third of your technology team is looking to move on from your organisation in the next twelve months.

The findings from the Computer Weekly and Mortimer Spinks and Technology Survey 2014 have highlighted key themes and issues that affect the behaviours of technology professionals across the UK.

These behaviours have a profound effect on the structure and success of a technology team. As a technology leader, these aren’t things you can avoid.

The survey has grown again this year, by almost 50% in both content and participation. This makes it one of the most comprehensive and authoritative surveys of the UK technology industry. It truly voices the views and challenges facing technology professionals across the industry.

Knowledge gap

The perceived gap in knowledge between the public and technology industry on issues such as online privacy, content and security is staggering, with potentially dangerous implications.

The speed at which technology is advancing and incorporating different aspects of our lives is opening a new paradigm of morality and governance of the internet. 

There is uncertainty among the industry over what this means for the role of technology professionals in society, although some hint it could see an increase in value of the technology professional to the general public.

More on gender IT skills

But this phenomenon does create drawbacks. The big leaps forward created by innovation are what keep your technology teams on the lookout for the “next big thing”. A thirst for being involved in a ground-breaking project keeps all but the most satisfied employees from keeping an eye on the market.

Motivating the workforce

It turns out, that actually it’s not all about the price tag so, as an employer, you need to look beyond fiscal incentives to motivate a workforce. In short, the solution is innovation. Create an environment with interesting projects, strong people, open communications and a culture that promotes innovation and you will dramatically increase your staff retention. Does this sound like the culture of your teams? If not, it’s time to start shaking things up and acting on some of the recommendations of this survey.

Women in IT : saying the right thing

Perhaps the most important issue in IT now is gender balance. Twenty eight per cent of women, twice the industry average (15.3%) participated in this survey. This figure is great for us (as it vindicates the work we have done in establishing a community) but for the industry it is still alarmingly imbalanced. 

The survey suggests that it is not about the level of coverage this topic receives in the media, but instead the content of the coverage. Saying the right thing is much more useful than saying anything.

The trends and themes that have emerged from this year’s survey are a mix of surprising, reassuring and in some cases worrying. No matter what point of view you approach it from, one thing you must do is approach it.

Get your copy of the full survey.

Austin Jepsen is search consultant at Mortimer Spinks

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