The strategic influence of chief information officers is on the decline as churn within the sector hits new heights, according to new research from professional recruitment consultancy Harvey Nash.

The annual survey of over 650 UK CIOs and senior technology professionals revealed that one in ten (10%) felt their role was becoming less strategic and over half (58%) expect to have moved jobs in the next two years.

The survey, conducted in partnership with PA Consulting, revealed that roughly half (46%) of CIOs are on the board, and only a third (35%) report direct to the CEO. Belief in the strategic value of IT has dropped year-on-year – only 61% of respondents thought the role of the CIO was becoming more strategic, down 15% on last year.

This drop in confidence is shared by board-level peers, with half of CFOs (47%) viewing IT solely as a support function with no need for board representation. A perceived failure to deliver on innovation is to blame – 65% of businesses have no structured approach to IT innovation and, when they do innovate, the majority (78%) reported only reasonable or limited success.

As a result more and more senior IT professionals are on the move – over a quarter (28%) said they would leave their current role in order to have more hands-on involvement in business strategy and a similar number (29%) are already actively looking.

John Whiting, MD of UK IT Business at Harvey Nash, said: “It is a concern that the strategic influence of CIOs has eroded in recent years, but even more worrying is the restlessness this creates in the sector. This year alone has seen a 15% increase in the number of technology leaders occupying their current role for less than a year.

“The most effective and satisfied CIOs will remain those embraced by main boards, and those in environments which fully comprehend the critical influence of IT upon a company’s success. In return, senior IT professionals clearly have to continue to prove that their contribution is intrinsic to success and growth.”