Myths about retaining tech employees in the Era of The Great Resignation
Updated: Feb 14
In a recent study, experts found an interesting key trend which involves the tech workforce as fully 72% of U.S. tech workers are considering quitting In 2022. It will create more churn than we have had in the past and companies need to start planning for it.
Although, this is not so much a prediction, but rather a confirmation as we are already living that churn and the consequences of it.
Companies are offering unheard salaries to anyone who might be able to write 2 lines of code at the moment.
People with little to no knowledge have economic expectations beyond anyone's imagination, and the worst part is that they do get it - just because there's so much demand and companies don't want to fall behind.
Which is ironic, as by hiring the wrong candidates and spending a ton of money on them, they will make them fall behind in terms of quality, missed deadlines, missed forecasts, etc.
The way I see it, the churn you are talking about is going to repeat a trend from about a decade ago.
The US started outsourcing to India at first, but due to the huge time difference, people were made to work late at night for them, which made them tired and led to a similar churn. This inevitably led to the issues I mentioned above.
So US started doing 2 things:
Outsource to Mexico
Bring Indian and Mexican talent on-site with a work Visa
Now that things are remote, there's the tendency of US companies offering US salaries to Mexican candidates to work from home.
But candidates don't last long because they are uncertain of their future, so some keep looking for other opportunities while working on a project. And if such an opportunity comes, they have no problem to drop the project half way and move to the next one; or start work on both - which is another problem on its own.
And there's another interesting trend. Older engineers with more than 10 years of experience tend to be more loyal. They prefer to stay at their current jobs because of stability, familiarity, and some other factors. But they are unhappy that recent graduates with no experience are earning a lot more than they are. So this is definitely a factor influencing that 72% statistic.
On the other hand, the younger generations of engineers are much more likely to jump from job to job with no commitment or remorse for not making it a full year at a single company. They have the philosophy of "We need to take advantage now before we miss out".
But the situation is unsustainable in the long run.
The survey performed by Talent LMS says the second reason for people quitting their jobs is Learning and Development of skills.
From the engineer's standpoint, you start a new job and everything is exciting and you are doing great work, and you are learning new things every day and the world is full of unicorns and rainbows.
But as you advance, you become more specialized in your field and there are less things to learn - you become an expert in the field.
From the company's stand point - they have a project that needs to be delivered. But like all things in tech, it's not a one time deliverable - it's an ongoing improvement process. So they invest in their team to learn and get better so the product can improve. And what better people to improve it than the ones who worked on it in the first place.
So the company wants to keep the people who have become experts working on the same projects, but those people have reached the maximum point at that position.
So there are only 2 things to do:
Same company moves the talent to another - very different project where they can learn new skills;
The talent jumps ship and goes to another company in search of new skills.
In both cases, there are more losers than winners.
The project is losing an expert who can tackle complex cases and conditions.
If there are external stakeholders involved, they rarely like it when there's personnel rotation. Even more so when it's a periodic phenomenon.
Management has to train someone new which takes time and effort, but there are commitments that must be met. This leads to high pressure and employee burnout and the so-called "toxic environment" (another reason for leaving).
All of these are patterns observed in employees under 35, people who are dreamers, people who probably haven't settled down yet and are still looking to make that big impact in the world.
Employees over 35 and with families of 3+ members are much more likely to specialize more in their current project and stay where they are because they know almost all there is to know. Their work is easier, they have more personal time, better work-life balance. And they are much more likely to advance to a management or director's position.
However, younger employees complain there are no opportunities for growth, which is not always true. Career advancement usually requires becoming an expert, you can hardly become an expert at something if you keep jumping from one thing to another.
Another factor is that young people want results immediately (quote Queen - "I want it all... and I want it now").
So the bottom line in all of this is that we, as professionals, need to educate younger generations so they can improve their expectations and generate a level of consciousness that doesn't exist currently.
People need to understand both sides and converse so their interests and goals remain aligned. When those two are in agreement, then the relationship can grow strong.
When those two get misaligned, then it's time to change. But try to exhaust all possibilities at your current position first.
Companies looking for IT talent might find one of our other posts insightful as we speak about the current Shortage of Software Developers and possible solutions to the risks that lie ahead.
Time for self-promotion…
If you are in the market for software developers or IT consultants but are facing the challenges of the current state of affairs, contact us at hristovdevelopment.com. We understand the difficulties you are going through and we would be happy to help.