Rats leap from Y2K ship

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Not exactly a recent article but still applies..

By Benjamin Woodhead Thursday, June 24, 1999

With December 31 looming large on the horizon and businesses under increasing pressure to batten down the hatches on Y2K, some senior IT execs are jumping ship before the iceberg hits.

Already job movement in senior IT positions is higher than in the last two years, and this is likely to grow as the year 2000 draws closer.

"Looking at the number of ads in the papers, you're seeing a lot of movement lately," one analyst told itnews. "This is not just on one day you look at it, it's on a constant basis. You see these guys thinking, 'It's all too difficult, let's just go to something easier'."

"We've been hearing about it for six months," said Graham Penn, general manager for research at IDC. "I've heard about it in Australia, New Zealand and the US.

"It's a natural thing for someone to do who may feel there are some potential disasters around the corner. If they leave and go somewhere else, where they end up they can always blame their predecessor and say, 'I'm doing my best to fix it but it wasn't my fault'.

"They can also avoid having the finger pointed at them in their previous position."

One of the main reasons behind this manoeuvring, Penn said, is that many IT managers were faced with inadequate Y2K funding when projects were initiated and now are beginning to feel the heat from management over potential disasters.

"To be fair," Penn said, "There are a lot of IT managers out there that have done a sterling job in a very difficult situation with resources that weren't there when they were really needed."

"A lot of organisations said you go and fix it and the budget was $500,000 and, really, they needed ten times that to do the job properly. So people were cutting corners to do the best jobs they could."

Alba Jenning, operations manager at recruiting house Drake, said there appears to be a high level activity in the arena of senior IT jobs.

"The market is buoyant at the moment," said Jennings, "and there's probably a little more activity than last year or the year before that."

Jenning said the reasons for this could be twofold.

"I think part of it is this whole year 2000 thing. People are looking at where they want to be in the year 2000 in terms of what companies are doing and where companies a taking them."

Jenning also said the imminent Y2K deadline could be contributing to the high level of movement.

"It's possible," said Jenning. "But if there are going to be any problems there are likely to be problems where ever people go. The only difference there will be is that they can say, 'It's not my fault'.

Even then, if anything disastrous does happen they'll still be at fault in their previous position."

"If you're in a senior position, at the end of the day you're still responsible if something stuffs up."

And the situation is likely to get worse before it improves. IDC's Penn said over the next six months the pressures on senior IT staff will continue to mount, particularly among those organisations that are not confident they have solved their Y2K problems.

"As time goes by and we get closer to the critical dates, people will feel under a lot more pressure. Those that a fairly confident they've done a good job will be under no pressure to move unless they are hired away by someone who's got a real disaster on their hands

-- y2k dave (xsdaa111@hotmail.com), September 29, 1999

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