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Randstad research outlines how Tech Professionals score well on Career Prospects League

Randstad research outlines how Tech Professionals score well on Career Prospects League

• 39% of those working in IT and Telecoms happy with their career prospects –above the national average of 38%
• 4G licensing boom is bolstering demand for tech contractors, but long-term career progression is becoming less defined as a result
• Better pay no longer the most important aspect of career progression – doing work that lets me learn new things and meet new people now top priority

People working in IT and Telecoms are happier than most in the UK when it comes to their career progression, according to research by specialist recruiter Randstad Technologies.

In a survey of over 2,000 British workers, 38% of British workers said they were content with their career progression. But only marginally more of those working in IT and Telecoms (39%) said they were happy with the way they were scaling the career ladder. Those working in insurance, property, financial services and nursing were also above average.

At the other end of the spectrum, those working in media and wholesale were the least happy with their career progression (12% and 13% respectively).

Career Progression Doesn’t Always Go Hand In Hand with Headcount Growth

There appears to be little relationship between headcount growth and how satisfied people are with their career progression. IT and Telecommunicationswas the sector which expanded most between 2009 and 2012, (in 2012 there were 44% more people working in IT and Telecoms than in 2009 according to the ONS), yet employees were only slightly happier than the rest of the country’s workforce. Insurance – the sector in which the most people were happy with their career progression – didn’t expand between 2009 and 2012.

Mike Beresford, managing director of Randstad Technologies, said: “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.”

What Does Career Progression Mean To People Today?

In further research carried out by Randstad, when asked to think back twelve years and remember what they though the most important elements of career progression were, 64% of respondents said better pay, making it the most important factor. However, when asked what they thought the most important elements of career progression were today, the most popular factor was Doing work that lets me learn new things, meet new people and participate in different projects – an option chosen by 74% of respondents.

Mike Beresford added: “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. But to advance their careers, technology professionals should continue to keep one eye on their long-term career prospects. In order to progress and command higher rates, project managers should look to gradually increase the size of projects they manage – in terms of the number of phases, the number of staff involved, as well as the value of the project. Prince2 and Agile project management methodology are also becoming key differentiators for successful project managers.”


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