According to a new survey of more than 2,000 British workers, 38% of them insisted they were 'content' with their career progression. When it comes to the tech sector, 39% were happy with their career ladder climbing which, according to Randstad Technologies which carried out the research, makes them happier than most. The truth is that while tech professionals are happier than average with their career progression, they are not as happy as you might expect given that 'IT and Telecommunications' (bolstered by demand from a 4G licensing boom) is the sector that has expanded the most during the last three years.
Could this be courtesy of the proliferation of short and medium term contracts within the world of IT I wonder? Certainly this makes any career progression much less defined than it would be otherwise, with workers jumping sideways' from project to project and from sector to sector rather than rising to the top in a structured and linear fashion. Better pay no longer the most important aspect of career progression – doing work that lets me learn new things and meet new people are now the top priority it seems. Still, it could be worse, you could work in media or wholesale where respondents were the least happy with their career progression on 12% and 13% respectively. That said, the 39% satisfaction rating is hardly a clarion call for the sector when compared to insurance workers (the happiest on 73%) or those in property (59%), law (55%) or financial services (46%).
According to Randstad Managing Director Mike Beresford “We expected to find a relationship at some level between career progression in a sector and job growth. But the figures don’t bear this out. The IT and Telecoms sector has expanded since 2009, bolstered by the 4G licensing boom, with many companies experiencing huge levels of growth and in some cases doubling the number of staff they require. But tech staff are still only slightly happier with their career prospects than the UK average. We believe this is because tech careers are becoming less defined – with so many short- and medium-term contract positions, workers are jumping from project to project and from sector to sector, making it harder to map out a long-term career strategy. Employees are redefining the meaning of career progression. When it comes to career progression, not only are the values people hold changing, the whole concept of a career as an upward progression through a sequence of roles in one firm has changed. Flexibility in the workforce means that for many a career doesn’t involve progression: it may be a series of moves that go sideways, or even backwards, and cross occupational and organisational boundaries, while for others it is simply increasing their skill sets. This is particularly true of the technology sector. Due to the nature of many IT projects, there is a huge demand for short- and medium-term project managers to oversee the completion of specific projects across a variety of sectors. As a result, a progression of sideways moves is becoming the new normal for successful technology professionals."