IT Pros Make Job-Hopping A Way Of Life

IT pros are always looking for the next job (actively or passively). Why can't anyone sit still?
10 Sweet Job Perks In Tech
10 Sweet Job Perks In Tech
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What is going on in IT? You guys don't seem to want to stay where you are.

A quarter of the 240 IT pros surveyed by CareerBuilder are actively looking for a new job, even though they are already employed. Over 80% of the 1,300 IT pros surveyed by TEKsystems are open to hearing about a new job, even as they say they are happy with their current jobs. On average, according to CareerBuilder, IT pros said they receive 32 job solicitations per week, and a full 77% said they are responding to those solicitations by submitting 10 or more resumes every week.

It is the world's biggest game of musical chairs.

On one level it makes total sense. While unemployment has been low in IT, wages have not risen as much as you'd expect given the tighter job market. It seems practical and sensible that you're looking to regain multiple years' worth of stagnant wages, and possibly lost savings from unemployment, in the wake of the financial crisis.

[ How do your IT skills stack up against the ones with the greatest market demand? Read 15 Hot Skill Sets For IT Pros In 2015. ]

Money alone isn't the cause of the endless job-searching. The reasons change depending on whether or not a person is actively dissatisfied with his or her job. According to the CareerBuilder survey, 18% of respondents said they were dissatisfied with their jobs. Of this group, 58% said they were actively looking for a job. For two thirds of these "dissatisfied" respondents (66%), salary was cited as a main reason for leaving; 65% also said they were looking for a new position because they didn't feel valued by their current employer.

Among the CareerBuilder survey respondents who were not dissatisfied with their jobs, the reasons for hunting are different. Here are the top three factors that respondents who don't hate their jobs listed as reasons for seeking new IT employment (multiple responses allowed):

  • job stability (69%)
  • location (64%)
  • good culture (60%)

The survey results lead me to conclude that a salary never looks worth it when you are unhappy at work. The results also show that the things that make us happy in a job aren't actually money related. Salary is fourth on the list of reasons that happy people choose to stay in their jobs, after factors such as liking co-workers, work/life balance, and benefits.

So why are so many happy IT people job-hopping?

I'm starting to wonder if the reason isn't "because that's what we do" or "because we can." Or maybe it is that "the grass is always greener." Those stats about being bombarded by solicitations (though I'm inclined to think people are exaggerating a bit for the survey) show a lifestyle of constant demand. The IT talent gap means that the best of you (and some of the worst of you) are constantly being peppered with an opportunity to change.

The stigma of job-hopping is starting to recede, too. A survey of 324 workers conducted by Accountemps shows that views about job-hopping vary by age. When asked the question, "Is job hopping losing its stigma?" 57% of survey respondents aged 18 to 35 said yes, 38% of 35- to 54-year-olds agreed, and only 22% of Baby Boomers said yes. Basically, employee loyalty seems to be age-related.

Could it be we're sometimes leaving a good thing to see what the next thing has in store for us, because we know we can always try something else if it doesn't work out? Or is it that there is so much temptation out there that we're all like a bunch of dieters walking through a bakery?

Job satisfaction keeps dropping. According to the CareerBuilder survey, 65% of IT workers responding said they were satisfied with their jobs in 2014; that's down from 72% who said they were satisfied in 2013. It seems we're less happy with the next chair we jump into than we were with the one before it. If we're not careful, we're going to find we're stuck in the most uncomfortable chair at the party.

What do you think? Are you actively looking for a job this year? If so, why? Is job-hopping regularly OK? Are you inundated with solicitations and potential other jobs? How many of them are you applying to? What makes you happy with a job and could you find one to make you happy enough to stop looking at alternatives? Comment below.

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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing