IT pros working for UK tech companies have more to fear from the economic downturn than most.
Close to half (40 percent) of HR directors at technology and media companies are planning to cut IT staff in the coming few months, a new survey has found.
The picture is slightly less bleak across UK industry as a whole — however, more than a quarter (26 percent) of UK organisations polled said they are planning to cut IT staff.
Headcount reductions in the first half of 2009 will be broader and deeper in the UK than those seen last year, according to recruitment company Randstad, which commissioned the survey.
Staff at tech and media companies are set to be worse off at almost every turn as the recession continues to plough its bitter furrow, from fewer perks and frozen pay, to increased workloads and a more miserly attitude to expenses and training, the survey found.
The vast majority of tech and media companies (79 percent) said they are likely to curtail expenses, while almost two-thirds (62 percent) said they will probably cut bonuses.
Meanwhile, 54 percent of tech and media companies are looking to ramp up staff workload before recruiting new workers, above the UK average of 47 percent. More than a third (36 percent) said they are likely to freeze pay, compared to an industry-wide average of just over a fifth (22 percent).
Yet even as tech companies plan to cut staff, freeze pay and pile more work on their remaining staff, the majority (62 percent) of HR directors said their organisations are still suffering skills shortages.
Fred van der Tang, managing director of Randstad UK professional services, said the survey showed market dynamics are affecting managers keenly.
Companies should avoid making the mistake of previous downturns by cutting back on staff too heavily and thus being unable to hit the ground running when the economic tide turns, he added.
The survey was carried out by Ipsos Mori, which interviewed HR directors of 355 UK organisations of more than 100 employees each.