Salary Survey Extra: Common employment concerns

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Salary Survey Extra is a series of occasional dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

How much do IT employees worry about common workplace concerns?Some workplace problems are universal, and IT professionals have a lot of the same employment concerns that most workers do. If the economy is bouncing back, then how come there aren’t more job openings? When am I going to get a raise? What about this plan I keep hearing about at the office to cut jobs? And so forth.

There are other causes for concern that are more unique to tech jobs in general, and IT certification in particular. Should I recertify, or let my credential lapse? What about that cert I got six years ago that’s now retired? Does that make me less employable? Does my employer even appreciate the fact that I have four current certs and am working on a fifth?

Each year with our annual Salary Survey, we try to put a finger in the wind and test which currents of anxiety are strongest. A couple of the figures drawn from this research have already been published, but since we ask about employment concerns in the same individual section of the survey, we’re going to recap all of the responses from that section here.

Here’s how it works: In each case, we state an employment consideration that often causes varying degrees of stress among workers. Then we ask survey respondents to rate the level of their concern about that element of their IT employment on a five-point scale. Are you Very Concerned, Concerned, Somewhat Concerned, Mildly Concerned, or Not At All Concerned?

We evaluated seven core elements of IT employment this way. If you’re a manager who wonders what tends to weigh heaviest on the minds of your IT employees, or just a guy in the trenches who’d like to know whether anyone else has these same problems, then this information may prove illuminating.

Availability of Jobs: Whether you call it the Skills Gap, or the Hiring Gap, there’s frequently talk about all of the IT jobs that have no one to fill them. There are quite a few IT workers, it would seem, would like to know where all of those jobs can be found. A shade more than 61 percent of those we surveyed are either Very Concerned (26 percent) or Concerned (35.1 percent) about the availability of jobs in IT. The full breakdown:

Very Concerned — 26 percent
Concerned — 35.1 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 19.3 percent
Mildly Concerned — 9.4 percent
Not At All Concerned — 10.2 percent

Job Security: Tech employment frequently witnesses large-scale layoffs, so it’s natural to ask whether workers feel like they’re on solid footing with their current employers. There is a core of stability in IT employment, with nearly 23 percent of respondents either Not At All Concerned (10.8 percent) or only Mildly Concerned (12.1 percent) about  keeping their jobs. On the flip side, however, that leaves quite a lot of people experiencing a notable degree of anxiety. The full breakdown:

Very Concerned — 24.7 percent
Concerned — 32 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 20.4 percent
Mildly Concerned — 12.1 percent
Not At All Concerned — 10.8 percent

Compensation and Benefits: When was the last time that you got a raise? Cost-of-living problems are a concern for most workers even when regional economies are flourishing. And annual benefits meetings, particularly those related to health care coverage, are also apt to result in dissatisfaction. More than one-fourth of survey respondents (26 percent) are Very Concerned about their Compensation and Benefits, and when you factor in those with strong, if not overwhelming concern (34.9 percent), then the picture is even more dire. The full breakdown:

Very Concerned — 26 percent
Concerned — 34.9 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 21.4 percent
Mildly Concerned — 9.9 percent
Not At All Concerned — 7.8 percent

Certification Concerns: There are four issues involved here. We asked survey respondents to express their level of agitation about Decertification, or the retirement of previously valid credentials; Recertification, or the ongoing need to keep credentials current; Cheating, or the effect on all certification of people gaming the system to pass exams; and Employer Support, or the extent to which employers encourage and validate certification efforts.

How much do IT employees worry about common workplace concerns?By far, the area of least concern is Decertification. By the time that a prior certification or certification program fades from sight, it would seem, most of the people formerly invested in the success or validity of that credential or program have moved on. Technology changes quickly and most IT pros are probably accustomed to changing with it. There’s also a notable amount of indifference to cheating, which could indicate that survey respondents don’t believe it happens that much, or perhaps that they don’t believe someone else’s cheating is, in the long run, having a material effect on them.

What does weigh on the minds of IT pros, it would seem, is the ongoing need to recertify, which can be both expensive and time-consuming, and the perception that employers either don’t support certification, or don’t reward it. Perhaps both.

Here’s the full breakdown:

Very Concerned — 10.6 percent
Concerned — 24.2 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 26.9 percent
Mildly Concerned — 13.6 percent
Not At All Concerned — 24.7 percent

Cheating, Ethics and Exam Security
Very Concerned — 16.5 percent
Concerned — 27 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 21.2 percent
Mildly Concerned — 12.1 percent
Not At All Concerned — 23.2 percent

Recertification and Maintaining Skills
Very Concerned — 17.4 percent
Concerned — 35.3 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 24.7 percent
Mildly Concerned — 11.3 percent
Not At All Concerned — 11.3 percent

Employer Support for Certification
Very Concerned — 21.7 percent
Concerned — 33.8 percent
Somewhat Concerned — 21.4 percent
Mildly Concerned — 9.5 percent
Not At All Concerned — 13.6 percent

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CertMag Staff


Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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