Survey Finds Workloads Rising for Information Technology Professionals

Aug 8, 2003

MENLO PARK, CA -- Don’t be surprised to see your company’s technical support staff carrying industrial-sized coffee mugs. In a recent survey, 55 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) said the number of projects in their information technology (IT) department has increased in the past 12 months. New initiatives are contributing the most to the rising workloads, according to 46 percent of executives.

The national poll includes responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis.

CIOs were asked, "How has the workload of your IT staff changed in the past 12 months?"Their responses:

Increased significantly   20%
Increased somewhat   35%
No change   38%
Decreased   6%
Don’t know/no answer       1%

CIOs citing an increase were asked, "What is the main factor contributing to a growing workload?" Their responses:

New projects   46%
Corporate expansion   36%
Decreased IT staff size   9%
Other   8%
Don’t know/no answer       1%

"Many companies that postponed hardware and software upgrades to save costs are now faced with a business need to move forward with these projects," said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "A number of the systems purchased during the technology boom of the late nineties, for example, are nearing the end of their lifecycle and must be updated or replaced."

Lee noted that despite staff layoffs in recent years, only 9 percent of executives said larger workloads are the result of smaller IT departments.

Lee offered the following tips for keeping staff motivated when workloads peak:

  • Encourage balance. Make sure employees take breaks throughout the day and use their vacation time to avoid burnout.
  • Be realistic. Tasks and deadlines should be achievable. Evaluate whether staff members have the necessary skills for upcoming projects; offer training as needed.
  • Share the vision. When assigning tasks, explain how they support larger business objectives. Employees should organize their activities based on these priorities.
  • Solicit ideas. Ask staff members to brainstorm creative ways to solve everyday challenges. Having a say in the outcome of a project motivates employees to do their best work.
  • Bring in support. When full-time employees are at capacity, consider bringing in professionals on a project basis to augment their efforts.

With more than 100 locations in North America, Europe and Australia, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for IT initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network engineering and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at

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