Churn in IT top jobs market to stabilise

Job churn among senior IT professionals will stabilise as the current economic situation depresses, according to research from recruitment consultancy, Harvey Nash.

Its 10th Annual CIO Survey of over 360 UK CIOs and senior technology professionals revealed nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of IT leaders are actively looking for a new job or would entertain a call from a head hunter and nearly two thirds (63 per cent) are expecting to move on from their current job within two years.

Harvey Nash predicts that ‘true extent’ of turnover rate in senior IT leadership over the next year will be less than expected. The survey further revealed that while 35 per cent of respondents ‘expect to be in a new job’ within the next 12 months and only 7 per cent would ‘not currently consider taking up a job elsewhere’, the actual number who will change roles is likely to be a lot lower.

Compared to the equivalent survey in 2007, which exposed a similar number of respondents – 34 per cent – expecting to change jobs within 12 months, this year's survey showed that only 15 per cent are actually in new positions. This is down from the 23 per cent of senior IT leaders who had changed jobs last year.

"Our analysis over the last few years has shown a significant amount of job browsing by senior IT professionals, but decreasing levels of actual movement,” says Matt Smith, director of UK regions at Harvey Nash. In the uncertain economic climate, Smith expects “nervousness” among CIOs and IT leaders that will result in “fewer seeking new positions”, and a subsequent reduction in the number of empty roles. “Less movement in the market means more stability for employers and fewer disruptions from the churn of senior leadership," Smith adds.

Although churn may stabilise in coming months, there are signs that businesses will still need to ensure IT talent is kept motivated. The figures show the number of IT leaders stating they would actively seek a new role correlates to falling job fulfilment and satisfaction. Across all respondents, those that find their role either ‘fulfilling’ or ‘very fulfilling’ has declined steadily from 84 per cent in 2006 to just 74 per cent in 2008. Likewise, those that find their role unfulfilling increased from a relatively low 17 per cent in 2006, to 25 per cent this year.

Conducted in partnership with PA Consulting, the Survey was conducted online by Harvey Nash between February and May 2008 among more than 360 senior-level IT professionals from businesses across the UK.

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