Perks such as flexible working are losing favour among IT workers, as job security and training incentives rise up the list of priorities for job seekers.
Career prospects and salary levels are now the most important concerns for staff, according to a study from IT services, training and recruitment company Parity.
Almost half of employees who responded to the survey put job security as the highest motivator, and 29 per cent put training incentives at the top of their list.
And even though many companies have already jumped aboard the work/life balance bandwagon, only eight per cent of companies interviewed indicated that their staff valued it as a perk.
Four per cent of employers cited private medical insurance, but none of the companies surveyed valued childcare as a motivating factor.
Pat O'Kane, executive recruitment manager at Parity, told vnunet.com that the sluggish IT job market had led many to see work/life balance policies as an bonus, rather than critical to job satisfaction.
"Individuals want job security," he said. "Two years ago some people could have written their own salary cheques, but more recently salaries haven't gone up and in many cases there have been salary freezes.
"At a graduate level many salaries have gone down. It's brought a sense of reality to the industry. Work/life balance is a nice thing to talk about but, in a difficult economy, it's about fighting for survival.
"A job for life is a thing of the past. But the trick for companies is to give existing employees the opportunities to progress their careers within the company."
The study also found that, while companies are doing more recruitment for themselves, they still prefer to use specialist firms for senior appointments.
John Eary, head of the NCC Skills Source Consultancy, said: "Work/life balance sounds like it's employers trying to fit in with the social lives of their staff.
"There's a definite shift from 'work/life balance' to 'flexible working' because it implies some flexibility by staff as well as employers."
Eary suggested that companies which implement flexible working policies stand to gain from productivity benefits and staff effectiveness.
"It's important for employers not to take their eyes off the ball even though the market is tight," he said.
What matters to your staff?
Career prospects 69%
Job security 46%
Work/life balance 8%
Private medical insurance 4%
Source: Parity Group
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