The Role of Job Satisfaction in Turnover and Turn-away Intention of IT Staff in South Africa

Brenda M Scholtz, Jean-Paul Van Belle, Kennedy Njenga, Alexander Serenko, Prashant Palvia
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 14  •  2019  •  pp. 077-097

This study forms part of the World IT Project, which aims to gain a deeper understanding of individual, personal and organisational factors influencing IT staff in a modern, work environment. The project also aims to provide a global view that complements the traditional American/Western view. The purpose of this study is to investigate and report on some of these factors, in particular, the role that job satisfaction has in turnover intention (i.e., changing jobs within the IT industry) and turn-away intention (i.e., moving to another industry other than IT) in South Africa.

Several studies have reported on the importance of an employee’s job satisfaction to organisation success, and the various factors that influence it. Most studies on job satisfaction adopted a Westernised and not a global view. Very few empirical studies have been conducted on job satisfaction of IT workers in South Africa. This paper reports on the individual, personal and organisational factors that influence the job satisfaction of IT staff in South Africa.

The study uses statistical analysis of survey data acquired through the World IT Project. Both online and paper based questionnaires were used. A sample size of 301 respondents was obtained from the survey, which was conducted over a period of 6 months during 2017. The factors that influence IT job satisfaction were analysed using correlation analysis, multiple regression analysis and discriminant analysis. The factors investigated were employee and organisational demographics, aspects of occupational culture, and various job-related individual issues.

This paper presents the only study focused specifically on turnover and turn-away intention amongst IT staff in South Africa. The final proposed model, grounded in the empirical dataset, clearly shows job satisfaction as a strong mediating construct explaining most of the variance in the IT professional’s intention to leave the organisation (i.e. their turnover intention) and the industry (i.e. their turn-away intention).

The findings revealed that there was a significant correlation between job satisfaction and turnover intention as well as between job satisfaction and turn-away intention of IT staff. Perceived professional self-efficacy, strain and experience were also highly correlated with turnover intention. Professional self-efficacy was also significantly correlated with turn-away intention. Based on the analyses that were conducted, a research model is presented that shows the relationships between the various antecedents of turnover and turn-away intention.

Managers in organisations dealing with the shortage of IT skills can use the model to plan interventions to reduce IT staff turnover rates by focussing on addressing the identified individual issues such as strain, job (in)security and work load as well as the personal value and IT occupational culture issues.

Researchers in the field of IT staff recruitment and management can find value for their research in the proposed refined model of IT job satisfaction and turnover intention. Future research could possibly replicate the study in other countries or could focus on different factors.

IT skills play a crucial role in society today and are therefore in high demand. However, this demand is not being satisfied by the current rate of supply. Research into what factors influence IT staff to leave the organisation or the industry can assist managers with improving their employee relations and job conditions so as to reduce this turnover and increase organisations’ and society’s competitiveness and economic growth.

It would be interesting to determine if the findings are similar for a sample of smaller organisations and/or younger IT employees since this study focussed on larger organisations and more experienced staff. Future research could also compare the findings of South African organisations with those in other countries.

turnover intention, job satisfaction in IT staff, IS personnel, workforce, burn-out, exhaustion
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