CIO Survey Points to Value of Pairing with a Mentor for Career Success

Apr 30, 2003

MENLO PARK, CA -- Getting ahead in information technology (IT) takes more than just the requisite technical skills; it also pays to have someone pulling for you, according to a new survey. Just over half (51 percent) of chief information officers (CIOs) polled said they benefited from having a mentor at some point in their careers. The majority (72 percent) of those who missed out on having a mentor felt it would have been easier to advance if they had an experienced advisor on their side.

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, "Did you, at any time in your career as an IT professional, have a mentor, either formally or informally?" Fifty-one percent said "yes" and 49 percent responded "no."

Those who responded "yes" were asked, "Which one of the following is the single greatest benefit of having a mentor?" Their responses:

Provides insight into a particular field or industry   37%
Serves as a confidant or advisor   32%
Provides encouragement and/or boosts morale   16%
Provides introductions to key networking contacts   11%
Other   3%
Don't know/no answer       1%

Those who responded "no" were asked, "Do you feel having a mentor would have helped you advance more easily in your career?" Their responses:

Would have helped a great deal   28%
Would have helped somewhat   44%
Would not have helped at all   22%
Don't know/no answer       6%

"The technology field is fast paced and competitive -- new hires, regardless of their experience level, must make immediate contributions in their roles," said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "While it's certainly possible to succeed without guidance from a more tenured colleague, having this support can make it easier to advance professionally.

"Mentors often serve as sounding boards at critical points in one's career development. They can provide insight on corporate protocol, make introductions to key industry contacts, and give up-and-coming managers an insider's perspective on the business," Lee said.

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

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