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One of the top priorities considered by female IT professionals before they take a job is what projects they will be working on, according to research.
A study by Evolution Recruitment Solutions found that 29% of female IT professionals consider the types of project they will be working on in a role as a top priority – and many say women are often more interested in roles or projects where they can see a human benefit.
Flexible working is also very important for IT professionals when considering a role, with 14% of male IT professionals factoring this in as a reason to take a job, and a quarter of female IT professionals doing the same.
Gareth Morris, managing director of Evolution Recruitment Solutions, said many companies still focus on traditional offers to attract IT recruits, when there are other important factors besides salaries and bonuses.
“We found that things such as flexible working, whether it’s being able to choose their own start and finish times or being able to work from home, was very high on the agenda for our survey respondents,” he said. “Similarly, traditional benefits such as a certain number of holidays or a pension were not vital to IT experts – they would much prefer an exciting range of projects to work on, or the latest tech stack and frameworks to use.”
The culture of the technology team has been slowly shifting over the years towards a more inclusive environment, and 8% of women said this was one reason they would take a job, whereas men are more interested in factors such as the location of a role and how long their commute will be.
Salary is becoming less important for most IT professionals, with 75% of those in tech roles saying salary is not the main reason they would take a job.
But this varies depending on the level of the organisation the professional is in – salary becomes more important for mid- to senior-level tech specialists, whereas entry level employees and managers or directors are more interested in what types of project they will be working on.
The UK suffers from a shortage of both technically skilled workers and basic digital skills, and there are concerns that without increasing the number of people joining the tech industry, employers looking to fill roles will be fishing in the same small talent pool.
Evolution’s survey found that 73% of IT professionals had applied for a new job over the past month, and more than 80% had applied for a new job in the past six months.
Without offering opportunities for continuous learning alongside a good culture, it can be hard to retain tech professionals, especially where those in the minority are concerned, and Morris pointed out that firms need to offer more non-traditional things that IT professionals consider when looking for jobs if they want to attract and retain talented staff.
The battle for tech talent is predicted to be an even bigger problem when the UK leaves the European Union, with many claiming that the UK will need to focus on growing its own technology talent to fill roles because many workers from overseas say they plan to leave the country after Brexit.
The government attempted to resolve this issue by introducing the computing curriculum in 2014, developing technically focused qualifications equivalent to A-levels and producing a survey designed to find out what skills are required by the technology industry now and what will be needed in the future.
But firms complain that many students leave higher education without the skills required to fill tech roles, often because of a lack of collaboration between education providers, the tech industry and the government.