Two out of every five IT pros are looking for a new job, our 2012 U.S. IT Salary Survey data shows. Are you counting on high unemployment, or maybe that rickety foosball table in the lunchroom, to keep your best people from leaving?
IT leaders have the advantage here, and not only because of the shaky job market. Most of those IT job seekers are only casually looking, and based on how highly our data shows they value job stability, they'd rather stay where they are. So if IT leaders understand the few, critical job elements that matter to their employees, they have a good shot at retaining them.
So let's look at two data sets from our survey: what matters most to IT pros in their jobs and, for the 39% who say they're actively or casually looking for a job, why they're looking. You can find more details in our slideshow and in the charts below, so I'll just make a few comments on why people leave and what matters most and least to them. Feel free to share your own analysis in the comments section.
1. Why people leave: money, and ...
Higher pay's by far the top reason people are looking for a new job (cited by 70%). No shocker--fall behind the going rate for compensation, and people walk. But half of staffers and 42% of managers are also looking for more interesting work, and slightly more than 40% are looking for more personal fulfillment. About 30% want more responsibility. More than half of all survey respondents said they'd consider a lower-paying job for more job satisfaction.
[ Want more on IT careers? Read 2012 IT Salary Survey: 12 Career Insights. ]
One of the most interesting reasons for looking for a new job, cited by 41% of staffers and managers, is disliking the company's management or culture. That finding is particularly interesting when you consider that culture is way down the list of what's most important to employees (cited by just 19% of staffers) and effectiveness of immediate supervisor is even less important (14%). Perhaps employees don't necessarily seek out a great culture or manager, but when those things go wrong, they can drive them away.
2. What matters most: pay, stability, influence, and ...
For managers, the top priority is having their opinion and knowledge valued--a few points ahead of pay, challenge, and stability. For staffers, the top factors are pay, stability, benefits, flexible work schedule, having their knowledge valued, challenge, and vacation. Look at that list. How many of those things does the CIO have free rein over? Valuing knowledge and challenge, and to a lesser degree the work schedule. Things like pay, benefits, and vacation are all part of larger corporate policies, so CIOs need to cultivate a strong partnership with their HR colleagues to keep their best people.