Overworked and underpaid: The life of an IT professional

Many organisations may be overpaying under-achievers while underpaying high achievers, according to recruitment firm Hudson.

IT professionals are taking on more workloads, but feel they are not being adequately paid, according to recruitment firm Hudson.

In Hudson's latest IT Salary & Employment Insight report, just over 75 percent of IT workers said that they have been made to work harder in the past year, but have not been financially rewarded for their efforts.

Only one fifth of employers are diligently filling IT vacancies, which means that there is more of an onus for remaining workers to take on more responsibilities. Around 80 percent of employers are also saying that they are doing more work with less people.

As a result, 40 percent of workers are feeling more stressed at work compared to one year ago, but conversely, 46 percent feel more positive, while 49 percent feel more engaged with work.

"Remuneration is a tricky thing to get right," Hudson National Practice Manager for Communications and Technology Martin Retschko told ZDNet.

One in 10 employers use IT contractors. A dour economy has forced many companies to tighten their belts on hiring, Hudson said.

More than half of employees surveyed said that they were looking for a new job, and just under 64 percent expect to move within the next six months. A quarter of respondents said that getting paid more is absolutely paramount in their next job, and 44 percent said that they would remain in their current jobs if they received a salary bump.

While 92 percent of employers have given IT staff a pay rise in the past 12 months, many still believe they are worth more. Around 47 per cent of IT professionals said that they need more due to the cost of living. Thirty two percent said they deserve a pay rise because they had taken on greater responsibilities at work.

The good news is that 65 percent of employers intend to give out pay rises of 2 to 3 percent in 2013, mainly for staff-retention reasons. More than half of employers plan to award bonuses, as well.

But a lot of organisations do not have a good system to measure staff performance, according to Retschko.

"Many companies are not able to measure performance well by having loose boundaries around it," he said. "They end up potentially over-rewarding lower-level performers and under-rewarding high-level performers."

"The good organisations are able to clearly distribute their rewards to recognise performance."

Employers also need to think more about what kind of IT jobs are in high demand as their skilled workers might be poached by other organisations, Retschko said.

According to the report, jobs and skills that are most in demand include enterprise architects, cloud-computing experts, mobile app developers, and digital specialists.

"Employers need to think about workers in high-risk positions, and have retention strategy for critical roles to keep employees that are at risk of leaving," Retschko said.