Why More IT Pros Say ‘No Thanks’ to Becoming CIO

Want to be a CIO? You’re in the minority. Long hours, lack of prestige and company politics have more IT pros saying they don’t aspire to become CIO, according to a Computerworld survey.

Only 32 percent of the 489 IT professionals polled say they are still gunning for the CIO title, while 55 percent say “no thanks.”

“Being a CIO doesn’t offer the opportunity to do the cool stuff that IT people like so much to do. It’s about meetings and budgets and politics,” says Stephanie Jurenka, an IT manager at Westway Group, a bulk liquid storage company in New Orleans.

Respondents cited a number of reasons their aspirations lie elsewhere:

  • Preference for more of a hands-on role.
  • Title carries a lot of responsibility, but little power or authority.
  • Hours required preclude work/life balance.
  • Relatively low pay.

In healthcare, in particular, CIOs face unforgiving deadlines to meet federal mandates, though compensation has not grown in accordance to the workload, according to a survey from St. Petersburg, Fla.-based healthcare recruiting firm SSi-Search.

In its poll of 178 healthcare CIOs, 44 percent of respondents say that their duties increased between 25 to 50 percent over the past four years, while 23 percent say their workload jumped 50 to 75 percent. At the same time, nearly 40 percent say their compensation has risen by 10 percent or less during the same time period.

Although tech pros prefer hands-on roles, those jobs increasingly are being farmed out to third-party service providers, the Computerworld story notes.

At the same time, however, IT pros are finding themselves working in marketing, logistics and other functions outside of IT as technology becomes more deeply embedded in every aspect of the business.

“Information and technology are lifeblood for companies: No single department owns them,” says Diane Morello, an analyst at Gartner.

These hybrid roles call for a mix of IT and business acumen and by some accounts are growing more rapidly than pure tech roles.

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