In recent months, various surveys by PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC), Gartner, and Paychex have provided a torrent of information about what workers, especially those in technology, want. With one in five workers expected to leave their current job within the next year, the talent market is tight and companies are struggling to keep workers happy; the data offers clues about what smart companies can do.

Sometimes it's as simple as asking employees what they want; in other cases, it might simply be about offering employees remote work options, a decent raise, new skills, or a chance to find meaning in their work.

"If the 'Great Resignation' has taught employers anything, it's not to take their employees for granted," said Bhushan Sethi, Joint Global Leader of People and Organization at PwC. “Yet too many companies are at risk of doing just that, either by not paying enough attention to skilled workers who are at high risk of quitting or by not supporting workers who are seeking personal fulfillment and meaning in the workplace. of work.

“Workers who feel empowered by their current situation, meaning those with specialized or rare skills, are ready to test the market,” Sethi said.

Those considering jumping ship are heavily leaning toward younger employees, according to a March survey by PwC, findings that were echoed by a separate Gartner study. It found that IT professionals under the age of 30 are two and a half times less likely to stay than those over the age of 50. – IT employees.

"This is the lowest commercial feature," Gartner said.

That matters because young workers -- Gen Z and Millennials -- will make up more than half of the tech workforce by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum. (Generation Z generally applies to people born between 1997 and 2012, meaning the oldest members of this cohort are now around 25 years old. Millennials, those between the ages of 26 and 41, make up about 37% of current workforce).

Technical positions remain vacant

Even as one in five employees plan to leave, the average number of tech job openings has ballooned to more than 204,000, and that number continues to rise.

The unemployment rate for tech occupations fell to a near-record low in May and employer job openings for tech roles topped 443,000, according to an analysis of the latest labor market data by CompTIA, a nonprofit organization. profit for the IT industry and workforce.

"The already tight job market has gotten even tighter as competition for tech talent reaches near-record levels," said Tim Herbert, director of research at CompTIA. "For any employer who relies on the old hiring playbook, it's time to rethink approaches to hiring and retention."

Employers across the US economy are stepping up their search for tech workers, and tech companies continue to boost payrolls, according to CompTIA. Specifically, tech companies added 75,200 workers in the first four months of 2022.

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More than 191.000 new IT jobs will be created in 2022, according to IT employment consultancy Janco Associates. The IT job market now has more than 3,85 million positions in the United States, including approximately 130.000 vacancies, according to Janco's latest report.

Janco analyzed exit interviews for 285 IT positions with 1203 employees and found that 45% (543) had been employed for 24 months or less. Twenty-four months is when an employee is considered integrated and a full-fledged team player, contributing to the success of the company's IT function.

"Each one of them was considered a hiring failure," Janco said.

Don't Take Employees For Granted

For its third annual Hopes and Fears Survey, PwC surveyed 52,195 workers in 44 countries and territories to identify areas where companies may be failing to retain talent. Among other things, PwC found that 44% of tech workers plan to ask for a raise. over the next year because they know their skills are in high demand.

When employees ask for a raise, what they are really doing is comparing prices and offers from other companies, according to Sethi. And in terms of wages, companies have to keep up with inflation, which is around 8% a year.

But retaining employees requires more than just salary. Workers also want more support for translating environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into their work.

“Getting the job done and the ability to be yourself at work are also important for employees considering a job change,” Sethi said. “The salary is what is at stake, but I also want my work to be meaningful and satisfying and I want to work in a place where I can be myself.”

Employees also want flexibility in the workplace. This, and human-centric work policies, can reduce burnout and increase performance. In fact, Gartner found that 65% of IT employees said being able to work flexibly affects their decision to stay with an organization.

The majority of workers (63%) prefer and expect hybrid work options, while 18% expect remote work to be an option, and 11% prefer full-time telecommuting, according to PwC.

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With many workers wanting or hoping to work remotely, companies must scramble to make sure the benefits are relevant to them. Paychex, a US provider of HR, payroll and benefits outsourcing services, surveyed more than 1000 employees, from executives to entry-level positions, to find the benefits workers really want. The survey, conducted earlier this year, showed:

  • Only 45% of companies had updated their benefits since switching to remote work, and 73% of them asked employees for feedback.
  • Flexible work hours and performance bonuses are the most common benefit upgrades, but what employees really wanted were home office assignments (31%), internet reimbursement (30%) and a workweek four days (29%).
  • 64% of the employees of the companies that have updated their benefits have no intention of leaving next year; only 47% of those whose benefits had not changed said the same.

“The starting point for IT companies would be to survey their employees to see what benefits are most desirable to them. Updating benefits will not only help retention, but also attract new hires,” said Heather Whitney, human resources coach at Paychex.

With direct feedback or surveys, find out what workers want

Best practice will likely vary depending on the size of the business. Small businesses should hold one-on-one meetings between managers and employees to get direct feedback. Large companies could benefit from a company meeting with a survey that allows employees to select the desired benefits.

"Our survey found that employer perceptions did not match employee perceptions on many of the most sought-after benefits," Whitney said. "Different generations often want different benefits, so it's important for companies to survey their employees to make sure they don't lose their way when it comes to benefits."

For example, only 10% of employers offered reimbursement online and 9% offered a home office subsidy, according to Paychex. The most sought benefit of baby boomers? A four-day work week.

When companies updated benefits based on employee feedback, 73% cited "productivity improvements," according to the Paychex survey.

Companies can also find small ways to reward employees more frequently, instead of waiting for performance reviews that may only happen once or twice a year. Bonuses are an option.

A typical performance bonus could be around 3% of annual gross earnings depending on company productivity and is often more achievable in times of uncertainty when employers are reluctant to offer larger, more permanent raises, Whitney said.

“Also, raises sometimes seem insignificant to employees because they only get a small amount per pay period, whereas a bonus tends to be bigger and more impactful,” he said.

Closing the skills gap

Skills gaps can also create inequalities in the workplace. High-value, skilled workers are more likely to feel satisfied, listened to, and financially compensated, which means companies should look for ways to close any skills gaps between workforce demographics (i.e., gender and gender). age) through development investments.

“There is a dividend in skills development that benefits companies when faced with an uncertain economy,” Sethi said. “Retaining the right talented people and upskilling them can help them overcome today's challenges and give them a competitive advantage in the future.

"In our own business, we have launched a new strategy around people called 'My+', where we will invest in you and develop your skills, whether those skills are for PwC or one of our clients at any given time," Sethi said. . “People don't want to stay with a company forever. They want to gain experience and move.

"If they stay 20 or 25 years and become CEO or CIO, great," Sethi said. "But many companies don't design for this."

Instead, companies are expected to seek employees to stay between three and seven years. And that includes proper onboarding and training, a key to employee retention.

"A business needs to plan for workforce attrition and replacement," Sethi said. “Today's employee has a choice. If he provides good onboarding and training, young employees will learn when he goes to work for company X, it will make him a more attractive candidate in the future.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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