For Tech Pros, Changing Employers Can Prove Enticing

Why do tech professionals want to jump jobs? It’s not always the money, according to recent data from Dice.

While 65% of tech pros anticipated changing employers in 2016 in order to lock down a higher salary, some 43% cited a desire for better working conditions, and 30% said they sought more responsibility. Another 19% anticipated losing their current job within the next year, and 16% wanted a shorter commute.

At the tail end of the list, 14% of tech pros said they planned on changing employers due to relocation, and 10% cited “other.” (Because the 16,301 respondents to Dice’s survey could select more than one answer, the totals exceed 100%).

Average technology salaries in the U.S. leapt 7.7% between 2014 and 2015, hitting $96,730. Experienced specialists in hot markets and tech hubs such as Silicon Valley and New York City’s “Silicon Alley” can earn far more, of course, in addition to bonuses, equity, and other incentives. Meanwhile, tech-industry unemployment hit 2.0% in May 2016, unchanged from April—the sort of low rate that encourages bidding wars between companies to secure top talent.

The low unemployment rate, combined with an industry willingness to engage in bidding wars, can encourage tech professionals to consider alternative employment. After all, with such a demand for key skills, how hard can it be to find a new position on better terms?

That’s why some 67% of employers reported using motivators last year to retain talent. Some 17% of tech professionals said that their workplace had provided increased compensation as a way to keep them on-board, while 1% pointed to flexible work location (i.e., telecommuting). Another 12% said their employer relied on more interesting and challenging assignments as a retention method, and 9% said flexible hours.

Relatively few employers relied on promotions or new titles (3%) or training and certification courses (3%) to retain employees. What does all this data mean for tech professionals and employers? For tech professionals—especially those with cloud, data-analytics, and mobile skill-sets—opportunities abound for higher salaries and increased soft perks, whether or not they stick with their current firm. For employers who rely on those professionals, paying out hefty salaries and perks remains a necessity in order to retain talent.

But tech professionals don’t just want cash; keeping them stimulated, and offering benefits such as flexible hours, is also key to securing long-term loyalty, even in a fast-paced environment.