Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Five Sources Of IT Worker Anxiety
IT workers are more confident than the average worker in the U.S., but they have not forgotten that they were a target of one of the worst recessions in American history. Consequently, their confidence is guarded. Here are five factors that concern them most:
1) Offshoring and outsourcing - Use of foreign personnel continues. Foreign IT workers are best employed at basic tasks like technical support, hardware maintenance and grunt-level applications development. If you have a "strategic" niche, such as one requiring design skills or business knowledge, you have reason to feel confident. If you don't have such a niche, and you are an American, find one.
2) Effect of H-1B Workers - Foreign techies in America on H-1B visas often beat out Americans for jobs because they are cheaper. Many employers explicitly prefer them. The Programmers Guild has filed 300 complaints against employers who post job notices solicting "H-1B workers only". Employer preference for H-1B workers is destructive to the American economy in the long run because it prevents native workers from getting jobs and honing their skills. The native workers, after all, are the ones who will stay after the H-1B workers have gone home.
3) Jobless tech recovery - The U.S. economy has added 76,000 IT jobs since April 2003, but these make up for less than a quarter of those lost during the recession. Marcus Courtney of WashTech/CWA, the IT workers' union, says that technology job growth is weak in most major markets in the country.
4) Personal fiscal woes - According to the Hudson Employment Index for IT Workers, 34 percent claim that their financial circumstances are worsening, while only 13 percent say their circumstances are "excellent". These figures have persisted for four months straight.
5) Job contentment - Fewer IT workers are happy with their work than before the recession. This may reflect the sobering effects of a new perspective, which forces them to place more emphasis on the stability of their employers and the longevity of their projects, rather than on the technological satisfactions of what they're actually doing.
"5 Dampers On IT Worker Confidence" from The Channel