META Group, Inc., a global leader in IT research and consulting services, announced Chicago-specific findings extracted from its annual IT Staffing and Compensation Guide, which this year focuses on the issue of IT employee morale.

According to the research, surveyed companies in the Chicago area indicated training as the preferred response to low IT employee morale. To address the issue, 52 percent of respondents are creating more management training and technical skill development programs.

"We believe the increase in training programs is due in part to the overwhelming majority of companies already having training program budgets in place, unlike other options such as cash incentives or salary raises, which in many cases would require wholesale change or extensive executive sponsorship," said Maria Schafer, program director of META Group's Human Capital Management Service and author of the annual IT Staffing and Compensation Guide. "Indeed, salary increases are widely perceived as a beneficial response to low morale, though few companies are in a position to offer them."

In the Chicago area, 19 percent of companies surveyed are raising IT employee salaries, making it the city's second-most preferred means of boosting morale. Respondents in other cities are less likely to use this option, making Chicago the likeliest city to offer raises to IT employees this year. Another 6 percent of Chicago-area respondents have agreed to at least review salaries more often.

The findings also show that 71 percent of all surveyed Chicago-area companies are spending up to 50 percent of their entire 2003 IT budget on compensation and 6 percent of those surveyed have spent over 75 percent.

Perhaps the least conventional response to low IT employee morale is relocating the entire company. Of the Chicago-area respondents, 6 percent have actually uprooted entire organizations in favor of more commuting-friendly locales.

In addition to Chicago, IT employee compensation, staffing, budget and morale data is available for Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

For more information about META Group's 2003 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide, please visit metagroup.com, or call 800-945-META [6382].

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