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A majority of IT workers looking to move company are doing so to earn more money, according to research by Computer Weekly.
The annual Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT salary survey asked IT workers the main reasons they were actively looking for new roles or might be open to new work opportunities, to which 58% said earning more money was their top goal.
The 2022/23 average salary for UK tech workers of all levels, as found by the survey, was £81,893 – an increase since last year, where average salary began to recover after a pandemic drop.
In 2021/22, the average salary of IT workers of all levels was £79,330 – a recovery from a drop to an average of £71,880 in 2020/21 after an average of £79,354 pre-pandemic.
The seniority of IT workers has an affect on the salary they make, with general IT staff including analysts and architects making an average of £71,593 a year, while those at director and C-suite level make an average of £115,471.
Age can also play a part, especially as those who are older are more likely to have had more time to progress in the industry, with those between the ages of 18 and 34 making an average of £54,861, those between the ages of 35 and 44 making around £77,450 a year, and those 45 to 54 making an average of £91,928.
For those aged 55 and over, the average drops to £81,900, which could be for a number of reasons including fewer responses, semi-retirement or those of an older age changing roles.
Katie Whitehouse, senior people director of cloud computing firm ServiceNow in EMEA, claimed ServiceNow’s own research had found salary to be a similarly important factor in creating good employee experience.
She said: “The cost-of-living crisis and high inflation are factors that are impacting how employees make decisions, and consequently are areas that employers can’t ignore. Given the economic landscape, it’s not surprising that pay is the primary reason that people change jobs.
“Considering this, businesses can help alleviate some of these financial stresses by offering their employees increased flexibility, such as through the ability to work remotely, which can reduce costs related to travel or childcare.”
When the pandemic forced many to work from home as a result of lockdowns, firms and individuals began to realise productivity could still be achieved outside of the office environment while also offering employees better work-life balance, which has become increasingly important to people.
Last year’s survey found almost 40% of tech workers were working fully flexibly, and 35% of people this year said there has been no change to their working environment.
Almost half of IT workers said their working environment is even more important to them than it was last year, and for some, there have been changes to the working environment since 2022, with 28% saying they now work from home several days a week and 14% saying they now work from home all the time.
The most popular working option seems to be working from home three days a week while attending the office for two days (39%), while 37% work from home four days a week, and 3% work from home all the time.
Flexible working can play a huge role in whether or not people choose to stay in a company, especially as the pandemic made it clear people do not have to be in an office to be productive.
Just under 45% of people are actually planning to stay with their current company for the immediate future, but 37% are open to new opportunities and 15% are actively looking for a role in another company.
Gaining more skills was the second most popular reason IT workers are choosing to look for jobs elsewhere, with 23% of those who answered the survey saying this was their main reason for looking for new opportunities.
There has been a longstanding technology skills gap in the UK, with firms complaining of a lack of workers with the skills needed to perform roles. An emphasis on lifelong learning is one of the many proposed solutions for this problem, and in-house training has become important for employee retention, as well as a way to bypass industry skills.
Whitehouse added: “Sourcing talent has become an uphill battle for many businesses and the effects of the pandemic are still being felt, with high volumes of people lacking in-demand technology skills. It’s crucial that organisations find ways to open learning pathways for people who have been traditionally overlooked by the tech industry.
“Particularly with the rise of AI, it’s important that business leaders focus on upskilling and reskilling their workforce to take on the tech roles of the future. Offering this is key to making employees productive, happy and engaged, providing avenues for them to not only climb up in their career, but also offer them a rich selection of choices when it comes to cross-functional roles or experiences.”
With organisations fishing in the same pool for talent, the power has previously been in the hands of employees to pick and choose roles based on what’s important to them – be that remuneration, benefits, or other things.
But the past year has held whispers of tech sector culling, with reports of thousands of technology workers losing their jobs, in some cases because of uncertainty caused by the current economic climate.
Despite rumours of mass redundancies, only a quarter of those asked said there had been IT layoffs or redundancies in their companies, and 60% actually hired more tech people.
Cyber talent is still in demand, with 24% of those asked saying their firms are looking to fill cyber roles over the next year, and 20% are looking for people in IT infrastructure and cloud.
DevOps, applications talent and software developers are also in need, with 17% saying their firms are looking to fill these roles.
Those who answered this year’s salary survey skewed towards the more experienced, with 70% of those who answered having been in tech for more than 15 years, and 49% are in a managerial position, which may explain some average salaries being higher than the industry average.
A majority of those asked have been working for their current employer for between one and five years, with 10% having been in their current organisation for between 11 and 15 years.
While pay is an important factor for IT staff, retention of employees is more than just money – something Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft, says its own research reflects, with Skillsoft finding more than half of IT workers are considering leaving their role after a decline in job satisfaction.
She said; “Organisations must take proactive steps to shift their cultures, so employees feel fulfilled, engaged and motivated. Investing in the growth and development of IT staff will help organisations combat turnover while driving business growth.
“This is particularly important as organisations struggle to keep pace with new technologies like generative AI transforming the workplace. Employers should produce clear development plans that don’t just suit their business needs but also suit their employees’ career aspirations.”