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IT pros willing to take a 10% pay cut if allowed to telecommute

Many companies don’t let tech pros work from home, though

By , Network World
June 18, 2008 12:06 AM ET

Network World - Four-dollar gas prices have a way of influencing people's priorities. A sizable number of tech professionals now want to work at home - and they're even willing to give up salary in exchange for not driving to work.

Dice, a job search site for tech pros, recently polled more than 1,500 of them and found that 37% are willing to accept a pay cut of up to 10% in exchange for being allowed to telecommute. That’s actually more than the number who would refuse such a deal - 36% of the surveyed tech professionals said they wouldn’t accept a pay cut even if they received the option of working at home. (Another 7% already telecommute and 19% were unemployed).

That’s a pretty startling number of people who really want to work from home. Since the average tech pro makes $74,570 a year, according to Dice’s annual salary survey, a 10% pay cut is $7,500 out of your pocket.

“Whether the math works in their favor or not isn’t really the point,” senior vice president of marketing and customer support Tom Silver writes in Dice’s monthly report. “We think what’s worth noting is how many tech pros are willing to work remotely, forgoing face-time with the boss and informal workplace discussions amongst peers.”

Gas prices certainly aren’t the only factor that would make someone long for a home office. And Americans are lucky not to pay the high prices seen across the pond, where drivers in several European countries have to pay more than twice as much as Americans do. But one might still expect U.S. companies to offer better telecommuting options after seeing gas prices rise dramatically in the past several months.

That may not be the case, though. Dice said many of the available telecommuting jobs listed on its Web site are at consulting firms “where telecommuting is a necessary part of serving clients.”

“Since gas prices have been climbing, we haven’t heard of any company opening up the telecommuting doors to tech professionals specifically,” Dice notes, “although companies and state and local governments are offering a variety of initiatives to help reduce gas consumption, from four-day work weeks to increased use of videoconferencing to replace travel.”

Some companies do not think it’s a good idea for IT pros to work from home One survey found that 51% of CIOs don’t let their IT staff telecommute.

Both Dice and the advocacy group Telework Exchange urge corporations to offer more telecommuting options, though. Telework Exchange recently surveyed workers and found that nearly every one was interested in telecommuting. More than nine out of 10 felt they could do their jobs at home, but fewer than four out of 10 are given that option.

“Even with people in much of the United States paying $4 a gallon or more for gas, telecommuting seems to be facing an uphill battle,” our colleagues at the IDG News Service reported. “Telework Exchange has pushed for more telework options for U.S. government workers, but a survey released in March by CDW-G found only 17% of federal employees telecommuting.”

What do you think? Are gas prices a big factor in deciding whether to telecommute? Feel free to discuss in the comment form below.

Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

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