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SolarWinds Survey Reveals UK IT Pros Are Engaged, Friendly and Loyal Employees

Study of UK-Based Systems and Network Administrators Uncovers Overarching Similarities on the Job

CORK, IRELAND -- (Marketwire) -- 01/09/13 -- SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI), a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, today released results of a survey of network administrators, the second part of a comprehensive survey which last month announced findings for systems administrators. The results show a striking similarity between both groups in job satisfaction and optimism, experience and loyalty, as well as how they like to spend their free time and even their favorite video games and geek TV shows. The survey also uncovered some on-the-job differences between the groups.

These results are part of a wide-ranging survey of 400 UK-based systems administrators (sysadmins) and 400 UK-based network administrators (netadmins), conducted in October 2012 to understand the IT professional in both their professional and personal lives. Despite an overwhelming majority of each group agreeing there are now more responsibilities and demands on their time, the overarching results find IT workers to be model employees: experienced, optimistic and confident in their companies, loyal and satisfied in their job roles.

  • High levels of overall job enjoyment: Though both groups enjoy their jobs, netadmins demonstrate slightly higher job satisfaction. More netadmins (72 percent) expressed enjoyment in their jobs compared with sysadmins (67 percent). Both groups felt appreciated by their organization with 55 percent of netadmins and 53 percent of sysadmins. The most enjoyable thing about their jobs? Over 70 percent of netadmins and sysadmins agree it's solving problems -- the top answer for both groups.

  • New Year's projections: System and network admins overall believe their 2013 budgets will likely remain flat. Thirty-nine percent of these IT pros expect no change from 2012. Nonetheless, both groups remain optimistic for the New Year: 69 percent of netadmins and 65 percent of sysadmins agree 2013 will be a better year for their companies.

  • Loyalty towards and confidence in their companies: Both netadmins and sysadmins are loyal to their companies, with 43 percent of sysadmins and 38 percent of netadmins and having worked at their jobs for 10 years or more or never having changed jobs. Seventy-seven percent of netadmins and 71 percent of sysadmins expressed that they have some level of trust in the senior/executive leadership of the company. The numbers were even higher for trust in IT leadership, with 81 percent of netadmins and 74 percent of sysadmins expressing some level of trust.

  • Feeling supported: A key shared viewpoint among both groups is that they feel supported and empowered to do their jobs in various ways. A majority of both groups feel they have adequate tools and software support from the organisation and ongoing training and skills development. Netadmins, however, receive slightly more support, with 67 percent versus 62 percent of sysadmins saying they have adequate tools and software; 61 percent versus 56 percent having adequate organisational support; and 57 versus 50 percent having adequate ongoing skills training and development. However universally, most IT pros -- 70 percent of both groups -- feel their work is not well understood by others in the company.

  • Responsibility and compensation: As may be expected, netadmins have a wider range of responsibilities compared with their sysadmin counterparts. As a result, netadmins also spend more free time working, with 46 percent indicating they spend a "significant" amount of time completing tasks, compared with 44 percent of sysadmins.

  • Similar frustrations: On both sides, sysadmins and netadmins have similar frustrations: too little pay but too much to do and increasing workloads, not having enough budget and a lack of appreciation from the company.

  • Ambitions: In five years, 37 percent of netadmins and 30 percent of sysadmins see themselves as IT department head. However, only five percent of netadmins and four percent of sysadmins think they would make it as CIO. Interestingly, there is some desire between the groups to switch job roles: 19 percent of netadmins say they will cross over to systems management, while 12 percent of sysadmins say they will be netadmins in five years.

"Our survey reveals that IT pros are a remarkable and resilient bunch," said Kevin Thompson, President and CEO, SolarWinds. "They are unsung heroes in many companies, but they are incredibly loyal and motivated despite the scope of work they do and the demand of work on their time both on and off the job. It's essential for companies to understand what drives netadmins and sysadmins to perform and give them the support that helps make their jobs easier in order to retain these valuable employees."

As with their professional lives, network administrators and systems administrators show some remarkable similarities in their personal lives and preferences.

  • Personality traits: More than 50 percent of both groups say they are hardworking, the top personality trait chosen, closely followed by friendly.

  • Gadgets of choice: Respondents have indicated a preference for Android over iPhone for their personal smartphone, with 38 percent for the Google platform compared to 32 percent for Apple. An overwhelming majority of netadmins and sysadmins are PC users with 83 and 81 percent respectively.

  • What they watch: The top sci-fi TV show for both groups was "Star Trek," followed by "The X-Files" and "The Simpsons." But on the big screen, "Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars" both won the top movie franchise spot, closely followed by "The Matrix."

  • What they drink: If they aren't working during their free time, netadmins and sysadmins like to enjoy a brew after work. Thirty percent of IT pros prefer some kind of beer to drink in their off time. Wine is also a favoured off-duty drink for a little under 20 percent of respondents.

  • More similarities: Both groups list Batman as their favorite superhero; rock music as the genre of choice; and compact cars as current vehicles. The top three answers for what they like to do in their free time were the same between the two groups: 1) spending time with family and friends; 2) unwinding at home; and 3) surfing the web.

Demographically, two-thirds of both groups were male. Slightly more netadmins than sysadmins have advanced degrees, with 59 percent of netadmins having at least a bachelor's degree compared with 53 percent of sysadmins. Netadmins were also a bit more experienced, with 63 percent indicating more than 8 years of experience versus 59 percent of sysadmins.

The complete survey results can be found on SlideShare, and an infographic on the data can be found on SolarWinds' Whiteboard blog.

About SolarWinds
SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI) provides powerful and affordable IT management software to customers worldwide from Fortune 500 enterprises to small businesses. In all of our market areas, our approach is consistent. We focus exclusively on IT Pros and strive to eliminate the complexity that they have been forced to accept from traditional enterprise software vendors. SolarWinds delivers on this commitment with unexpected simplicity through products that are easy to find, buy, use and maintain while providing the power to address any IT management problem on any scale. Our solutions are rooted in our deep connection to our user base, which interacts in our online community, thwack, to solve problems, share technology and best practices, and directly participate in our product development process. Learn more today at http://www.solarwinds.com/.

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