Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology


The retention of qualified Information Technology (IT) employees is at an all time low within higher education institutions. IT personnel are essential for higher education institutions to effectively integrate technology into their educational programs. These IT employees contribute to their institution's teaching/learning mission, while simultaneously supporting complex and highly visible administrative operations. Yet, all previous research regarding IT employee retention issues had only been conducted within corporate settings.

To examine factors related to IT employees' retention within public higher education, an internet-based study was sent to IT employees in all four-year public universities throughout Michigan. The survey included questions within five overall areas (a) reasons to stay in their current position, (b) reasons to leave their current position, (c) information about former positions, (d) improvement recommendations, and (e) demographic information.

Responses from 183 IT employees revealed such individuals stay in their current position because of flexibility and a combination of variables that include respect, supervisor's skills, department communication, training, and the potential to increase their salary. Key reasons IT employees consider leaving their current employment include increased stress, and a combination of variables involving a less relaxed work environment, concerns over health care, sick leave, vacation leave benefits, and limited job security. Key reasons IT employees cited for leaving their former positions were to acquire an advanced degree, job promotion, improved health care, vacation and sick leave benefits, positive co-worker relations, and a more relaxed or flexible work environment.

Consistent with research findings within corporate settings, competitive benefits packages are an essential component for the retention of IT employees withinhigher education. Higher education IT leadership may be able to reduce employee turnover, and increase employee satisfaction and productivity, while reducing retraining expenses by incorporating strategies deemed important via this research.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access