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IT professionals happy in their work

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 11 December 2018, 3:27 pm

A survey of over 500 Kiwi IT workers shows that most are happy in their roles, with women respondents recording greater job satisfaction than men.

The New Zealand survey was led by Dr Jocelyn Cranefield from Victoria University's School of Information Management and is part of The World IT project - an in-depth study of IT professionals across 37 countries. An IT employee is defined as someone who works with IT for at least 50% of their time. For the purposes of the survey the respondents also worked for an organisation with 10 or more IT employees.

"There are accounts of increasing levels of stress in the IT industry. However, our survey shows that New Zealand IT workers appear to be fairly well satisfied with their roles overall, and feel a sense of accomplishment without excessive concern about work pressure, workload, work-life balance, or losing their jobs," says Cranefield.

Satisfaction was higher for people working in educational institutions, and lower for those working in government or public sector organisations. In addition, employees in "high IT maturity" organisations were also happier and more likely to stay at their organisation for long periods of time, says Cranefield.

"A mature IT organisation is one that has good systems, follows consistent practices and is productive in its delivery of outcomes. So this isn't surprising, but it is a case for why organisations should invest in IT maturity-to attract and retain staff."

Dr Mary Ellen Gordon, who led the data analysis, says that 45% of survey respondents were born outside of New Zealand. Respondents who were born in New Zealand and the United Kingdom indicated they were least concerned about their jobs being eliminated or outsourced, she says.

"On average, respondents reported feeling moderate work pressure. Those born in South Africa agreed that they felt busy or pressured, whereas those born in India or the Philippines stated that they didn't feel drained or tired from work," says Dr Gordon.

"Those from India, in particular, appear to be bringing with them a greater sense of urgency, perhaps developed through exposure to India's much larger, more competitive, IT industry. They are also disproportionately young and well-educated: suggesting that their influence will only grow as more of them are promoted into managerial positions."

In the introduction on its website, the World IT Project notes that consideration of different cultural, economic, societal and religious beliefs, and political systems is an important aspect of its wide-ranging study into the issues confronting IT employees.

"Much of the research in information systems and information technology (IS/IT) has been dominated by a U.S-centric or a Western-centric view. Research paradigms and models developed for the U.S. and Western Europe are just that; they are applicable primarily to the western context. Unsuspecting researchers have taken the same models and applied them to other nations, e.g., underdeveloped countries, emerging economies, transitional economies, and middle-eastern countries. The results have been mid-guided and spurious in many cases."

The project will conclude in 2019, with data collection for the project completed at the end of 2017. To date the project has more than 11,000 observations from 37 countries which will form the basis of 20 journal papers, more than 40 conference papers and a couple of books. 


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