The economic meltdown of 2008 and resulting massive layoffs scared a lot of technology workers into clinging to their jobs, despite being less than satisfied with their salaries, responsibilities, opportunities to advance or even the tools they were provided to do those jobs.
But a steady if unspectacular economic recovery during the past eight years, along with a rising demand for new technology skills, has made enterprise technology workers much more willing to leave behind their current jobs for a new full-time gig.
An analysis by online technology jobs website Dice (based on the company’s own data as well as numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) shows a sharp rise in the number of “voluntary quits” over the past year by American workers.
Clearly it’s good for tech employees to have expanded job possibilities that better align with their salary needs, interests and skill levels. However, the upswing in worker mobility is a double-edged sword for enterprises, writes Dice President Bob Melk.
“For employers, that behavior creates more opportunities to land top talent interested in higher salaries and perks — but it also makes it harder to retain top performers,” Melk says. “Rising attrition can deeply affect a tech firm’s bottom line, adding to the costs of hiring and training new team members.”
Accepting some level of turnover while also preventing an exodus by top performers is a tough balancing act. To guard against losing your best tech pros, Melk recommends a “strong retention strategy” keyed around internal surveys and other measures that can determine employee priorities.
Further, he adds, managers must put in place the right mix of incentives to guarantee “that teams remain productive (and profitable).”
The workplace of the future is likely to become increasingly fluid as full-time employees depart to take advantage of attractive opportunities elsewhere, and enterprises scramble to retain and acquire the skill sets necessary to compete in the digital economy.
Enterprises that anticipate, plan for and manage this trend will have opportunities; those that fail to adapt will have problems.