by Al Sacco

Loyal Techies (and What Makes Them That Way)

Feb 01, 20062 mins
IT Leadership

IT employees are more loyal to their companies than they were three years ago, according to a study by Walker Information, and the dedication of workers in corporate IS departments has increased significantly as well.

Walker’s biennial Report on Loyalty in the Workplace surveyed more than 2,500 IT workers from a variety of industries about their experiences in and attitudes toward their jobs. The study defines “truly loyal” staffers as those who said they were committed to their companies and planned on staying for at least two years. The number of truly loyal employees within corporate IS departments jumped nearly 30 percent since 2003, when Walker published its previous survey. Meanwhile, the number of truly loyal workers in the IT industry as a whole jumped 17 percent (the collective total for all industries rose by a meager 4 percent).

At the same time, the number of corporate IS workers who feel trapped in their jobs has fallen by one-third. Only 21 percent said they’re not particularly committed to their companies but feel they have no option but staying, compared to 33 percent three years ago.

Chris Woolard, a Walker consultant, attributes the change in attitudes to several factors, including the stabilization of the industry after the dotcom bust and an increase in offshoring and outsourcing. He observes that jobs that were prone to turnover are now being handled by contractors, while those workers who have managed to retain their jobs are glad they haven’t been outsourced.

The top drivers of employee loyalty, the study found, haven’t changed since the earlier study. They include how much care and concern employers show toward their employees, not only in their career development, but also in helping them balance their work and family lives. Fair workplace policies, day-to-day satisfaction and reinforcement from managers, along with compensation also play a big role. The most loyal employees also have a positive view of their company’s products and reputation. Woolard concludes that IT departments have simply become better places to work.