back to article Three quarters of software engineers face retaliation for whistleblowing

Three quarters of software engineers reporting wrongdoing in their workplace have faced some kind of retaliation, according to a study. The report by market research firm Survation found slightly more than half (53 percent) of the 280 software engineers questioned suspected wrongdoing at work, while 75 percent of these …

  1. pig

    Sorry, I don't believe this

    In my experience there is no way the figure is as low as 75%.

    I don't think I have ever seen a whistleblower treated fairly.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: Sorry, I don't believe this

      "I don't think I have ever seen a whistleblower treated fairly."

      Well, I hear Ed Snowden got fair treatment from the US Gover— Oh, right. Never mind.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Not just software engineers

    This happens everywhere, all industries and organisations. Just as an example whistleblower problems in the NHS .

    Managers almost always shoot the messenger. It makes me wonder what motivates management and where is their morality ?

    1. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: Not just software engineers

      The answer is the same: in their wallet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not just software engineers

      I'm sure this doesn't happen "everywhere".

      I don't imagine it would happen in Big Pharma, Big Oil, Climate Science, The Church, Tobacco or Finance.

      Apart from those truthtellers though, I guess it might be pretty widespread.

  3. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Interesting but ...

    The report is quite interesting but doesn't do full justice to the data set (appendices A and B). But even in this, although the mind set of the respondents is captured in considerable detail, the definition of 'wrongdoing' is much too broad to be really informative. I'd be particularly interested in the reaction to whistle blowing specifically about poor development practice, as that's really the only thing that supposedly distinguishes this study from one relating to the general workforce.

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    IR35 / Agency

    Unintended (?) consequence of IR35 is that deemed employees don't have any whistleblower protections.

    Same goes for deemed employees working for IR35 exempt big consultancies. They cannot report anything dodgy going on at the clients without fear of being removed from the project.

    1. Steve Button Silver badge

      Re: IR35 / Agency

      I'm pretty sure that real contractors have just as little protection as "deemed employees". We can't complain about anything much or we'll be out the door. Unless they really need us. Which they usually do.

  5. HereAndGone

    Dangerous Questions

    Of the many things I learned over the years, the simplest and in retrospect the most obvious (I was/am a bit in the autistic spectrum and slow on social uptake), was don't ever attend a high level meeting and ask:

    "Is this legal?"

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Dangerous Questions

      Big corporations may 'lay you off' for asking that because your words may latter appear as evidence in a lawsuit.

      You're supposed to say that you'd like share the plans with the legal team, or something like that. That leaves for a defense that workflows were followed and nobody noticed anything illegal.

  6. James O'Shea


    Over two, nearly three, decades ago I had a project in a 3rd-world country (Trinidad) in large part do to my having done similar projects in other 3rd-world countries (Jamaica and Barbados). The project was supposed to take 15-18 months. When I arrived I had a close look at things, and decided that there was no way on God's green Earth that the project would take under 24 months, probably 30, possibly 36. I said so. Loudly. The MD of the concern in question was... not happy. Apparently I had a poor attitude and was not team-oriented. I was gone within 3 months.

    The project was canceled 48 months in, incomplete. The MD had departed for Canada (good luck with him, Canucks, you'll need it.). Prior to the project being canceled the MD's replacement had contacted me re getting back on board and fixing things. I said no way, not unless they paid me a rate equivalent to 5x my normal rate, plus expenses including housing, vehicles (note the plural) and transport to and from Florida. For some reason they never got back to me. Such a pity.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Execs always surround themselves with staff that have become highly dependent on their current level of wealth. Kids, big house payment, boat payment, an addiction to an upscale lifestyle, and the promise of an easy retirement. None of them dares take action that makes the boss unhappy or puts the short-term share price at risk.

    Good luck reporting something improper going on.

  8. LybsterRoy Silver badge

    -- Three quarters of software engineers reporting wrongdoing in their workplace have faced some kind of retaliation, according to a study. --

    I know I'm going to get lots of downvotes but what else do you expect? No one like to be told they're in the wrong and if you're reported to TPTB then that's double plus ungood.

    This study strikes me as yet another "bear's shit in the woods"

    NB: I'm not saying the one's reported didn't deserve it just WTF did you expect?

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge

      I don't think the study authors were surprised, but it's always interesting to quantify the problem, it isn't a feeling anymore but a value from a defined metric.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Why do research if we can just assume, eh?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paula Vennells

    The CEO ultimately responsible for the Horizon scandal kept her CBE, kept her millions, and is still ordained in the CofE. The establishment always takes care of its own and the message to us lowly plebs is clear.

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