Hiring in tech has been tough for some time. Combine an ever-evolving industry moving rapidly into the future with the UK’s longstanding tech skills gap, and you’ve got a challenging recruitment market. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit have only shrunk the talent pool as demand for technology skill sets rockets.

That’s why it’s so important to understand exactly what motivates a tech professional to join and stick with a new company. Our new market report, Talent Trends 2023: The Invisible Revolution, presents the eye-opening results of a global survey of over 70,000 white collar workers, including a sizable technology cohort. 

Download Talent Trends 2023: The Invisible Revolution today

The data reveals a seismic shift in the workforce’s professional priorities. Read on for an in-depth discussion of what this research shows about the changes currently hitting the technology hiring space. 

Employers: Prepare for sustained high turnover

Following the pandemic, The Great Resignation saw many technology professionals leave employers for other roles or to become contractors. Our report found this high staff turnover trend will continue. Indeed, 88% of people working in tech reported that they were open to new opportunities. 

The uncertain economic climate looks unlikely to dampen this appetite for change, with 53% of tech professionals saying they are more likely to look for a new job when the economy is performing poorly.

But what is the key to attracting and retaining top technology professionals in a market like this? Our research found that while company loyalty has lost its lustre, professionals are looking for a specific set of criteria from their employers in 2023. 

The Work-Life Equation: Pay + flexibility + career progression

What makes for a desirable role in the post-pandemic era? Our research found three standout factors that influence worker’s decisions to seek new roles, accept offers, or stay put. They are: 

  1. Pay
  2. Flexibility
  3. Career progression. 

Together, these comprise what we call the Work-Life Equation – the value calculation that makes an organisation an employer of choice. Below, we investigate each of the three, and why they are essential in technology.

1. Pay

Typically, at a time of economic uncertainty, salary growth grinds to a halt. Yet despite some of tech’s biggest employers making layoffs, talent in the sector is still in very short supply. As a result, salary growth in the space shows no sign of stopping.

Hiring managers are working in a candidate-driven market. As workers take a more transactional approach to work - and the cost-of-living crisis bites - salary has become more important than ever.

Indeed, our Talent Trends report showed that salary ranks as the top reason to accept a new job. Why? Professionals are increasingly realising their worth and monetising their time more. In many cases, they will sacrifice work perks at their current employer for a bigger salary elsewhere.

Employers are feeling this pinch too, with 63% of those we surveyed saying that matching salary expectations was their biggest recruitment challenge.

Our recommendation: Keep pace with rising technology salaries.

Technology functions typically have a wide range of pay bands, but it is more important than ever that employers ensure their salaries are competitive. After all, remote work opportunities are common in the sector, meaning companies are no longer simply competing with other businesses in their city when it comes to hiring the best of the best.

Getting pay right starts with a benchmarking exercise. What are competitors in your location and your industry paying tech talent in different roles? Michael Page’s 2023 Technology Salary Guide shares this information, as well as what constitutes a low, medium, and high level of pay for each position.  

Next, review current employees’ salaries as soon as possible. When hiring, ensure job adverts clearly display salary information. 

It may also be prudent for employers that are struggling to meet salary expectations to review the additional benefits they offer. According to our research, employees value pay more than added benefits – could the budget be used to boost salaries instead?

2. Flexibility

Flexibility was a top priority for workers across all age groups, across all markets, and among those with and without children.

Work-life balance was found overall to be the most significant influencer of job satisfaction, being selected by 60%, ranking higher than pay (43%), and relationships with co-workers (40%). Moreover, 57% of respondents said they would be willing to reject a promotion if they believed it would have a negative effect on their wellbeing. 

Looking at technology respondents specifically, 89% said they value flexible hours over all other aspects of hybrid working. In fact, flexible hours were more important to tech workers than professionals in any other function.

Our recommendation: Give tech teams the flexibility they want.

Once a stand-out benefit on any job advert, flexible working is now simply an expectation. It’s incumbent on employers to take the next step: individualised flexible working options that put trust at the heart of employer-employee relationships.

Given the numerous benefits of flexibility, employees do not then want stringent rules placed on that flexibility - they want their employer to trust they’ll make the appropriate decisions. Consult workers to find out what type of flexibility they most desire, and steer away from a one-size-fits-all approach.

3. Career progression

The practice of ‘job hopping’ – rapidly moving from one position to the next in a bid to gain seniority and higher salaries faster – is on the rise. In a constantly-evolving sector like technology, offering quality upskilling and training on the job can be hugely attractive to talent, as can opportunities for promotion. 

Despite this, employers were found to underestimate the importance of career growth to employees by 10%. Essentially, career progression is even more important to most workers than employers think it is. 

Our recommendation: Use career progression to engage tech stars.

To keep your top tech players engaged in their roles and attract high-caliber newcomers, be sure to lay out clear progression pathways from the beginning of the recruitment process. As well as providing opportunities for promotion, ensure any training, qualifications, or courses you offer are clearly highlighted. 

Managers must also be equipped to focus on personal development, and steer each employee’s personal development in a direction that interests and benefits both them and the organisation. 

Start hiring top talent today

Get the insights you need to thrive during the Invisible Revolution

Our 2023 Talent Trends report, The Invisible Revolution, provides a deep dive into the most profound shift in workplace culture since the arrival of the internet. 

Surveying almost 70,000 people globally, this is the world’s most robust and comprehensive study of skilled white-collar professionals. It investigates the impact of The Invisible Revolution on different sectors, on different generations, and at different levels of seniority. 

Find out how workers’ priorities have shifted, why, and how businesses can build talented teams in this challenging recruitment landscape. Get the data and inside information you need to not just survive this monumental cultural shift - but to thrive in it.

Download 'Talent Trends: The Invisible Revolution'