How The Great Resignation is Impacting Tech Jobs in 2022Reading time 7min
The Great Resignation is among us. People all over the globe are seemingly turning in their notice almost in unison to pursue wellbeing, better work conditions, and an overall more balanced life.
IT workers, like everyone else, aren’t immune to any of these social factors. Companies of all sizes have been hemorrhaging IT workers, losing top talent to competitors who are ahead of the curve, and offering benefits these workers actually need (spoiler: this no longer means video game rooms or fruit baskets).
If you work in tech, you know what we’re talking about. Tech workers alike have been especially oversaturated during the Covid-19 pandemic. These IT workers have been complaining of being poorly treated prior to the pandemic and being pushed beyond their limits during it.
So if you’re working in the tech industry, you're probably experiencing the impacts of the Great Resignation. But before you start writing your departure letter to your manager, let’s explore how the Great Resignation is impacting tech jobs (and how companies can adapt to stay ahead of the curve to attract and retain top tech talent).
What is The Great Resignation?
First and foremost, it’s important understand what the Great Resignation is about prior to analyzing how it’s impacting the tech industry. Simply defined, the Great Resignation refers to a global phenomenon that started in the US as an effect of the Covid-19 phenomenon where an unprecedented number of workers have been leaving their jobs.
And it didn’t take long for other countries to follow suit. Soon enough, companies found themselves having to act fast to navigate the disseminated effects that the pandemic left upon us. This meant prioritizing and re-evaluating how to retain top talent.
You’ve read that right. Beyond exclusively Americans, people of all ages, backgrounds, and industries are quitting their jobs at a record pace. Many of these unsatisfied workers want flexible work conditions and greater mental health support from their employers (addressing burnout is one of employers' main challenges in retaining their best workers).
An impressive research conducted by Microsoft shows that 40 percent of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer this year. The study further suggests that a solution to break this phenomenon is by implementing hybrid work conditions.
Companies should not overlook this because providing flexible work options can be the decision-making factor for employees when selecting the best place to work (in other words, offering flexible work options could be the epitome to attracting and retaining diverse talent).
What’s Driving the Great Resignation?
There are many reasons for the Great Resignation. And depending where you live and your background, this could vastly vary.
Perhaps the Great Resignation was fueled by workers seeking more lucrative job positions, followed by the ongoing need for better working conditions (which has exponentially escalated during the pandemic).
Yes, many workers are exhausted and burned out after working too hard for too long during the pandemic. A study conducted by Harvard Business Review found that resignations have seen a peak in industries that experienced a surge in demand as a pandemic effect.
But the rabbit hole could go further down into darker places. A recent article shared the story of a black girl who saw herself quitting her job due to bullying and racist remarks.
In this article we’ll dive into why IT professionals in particular are currently leaving their jobs, the impact on those who remain, and what leaders can do to keep both old and new IT talent around.
How the Great Resignation is Impacting Tech Jobs This Year
The HBR study further claims that the recent resignations are highest in the tech and healthcare industries, stating that "in tech, resignations increased by 4.5%".
The study says that this could be because IT employees experienced extreme increases in demand due to the pandemic. This likely led to increased workloads and burnout.
And don’t be fooled. IT positions were already hard to fill prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. The demand, combined with not having enough qualified professionals to fill such vacancies, meant many companies had to make ends meet with smaller teams.
And guess what happened next? When the pandemic hit, those small teams were further burdened with the many new responsibilities that came with a new push for work-from-home capabilities (among other seemingly never-ending techy needs to adapt to the new reality).
IT professionals were already doing more than their share. And this time, saw themselves being pushed beyond their limits. All of this, combined with existing challenges — subpar pay, lack of interesting projects, poorly managed teams, and the distressed mental health as a result of isolation. This new obligation to go beyond their comfort zone pushed many IT workers to also quit their jobs.
So some of the reasons IT professionals resign could be summarized as:
- The search for better salaries
- Aspirations to work remotely (work flexibility)
- Greater challenges
- Better-managed companies and teams (company support)
But sometimes the reasons for quitting are not always so black and white. Oftentimes, IT professionals simply need a mental break from the work overload.
Here’s the problem: when IT teams lose a few of their workers, this starts a rippling snowball effect. This vicious circle takes place when your burnt-out team members quit, leaving those remaining to work harder to make up for the lost talent. These employees are now also in danger of becoming overworked and are likely to follow their teammates out the door sooner than later.
Call the Great Resignation "pursuing passion projects" or the need of "starting exciting side hustles". Whatever you name it, the ugly truth is that many were simply fleeing bad (or even exploitative) tech jobs. In other words, these IT employees would probably have quit had their employers not failed to offer them:
- Adequate opportunities for advancement
- Work visibility
- Fair pay
- A voice in leadership decisions
- The flexibility to manage personal life responsibilities
- Enough focus on diversity
How Do You Retain Your Tech Employees During the Great Resignation?
If you find yourself losing tech workers faster than you can say ‘pandemic’, put that ping-pong table away and focus on the bigger picture. So if you want to retain your tech talent, try and understand what your tech employees really need:
- Provide more positive feedback
- Foster respect In the workplace
- Earn your employee’s trust
- Encourage your employees to give you feedback
- Include your employees in decisions
- Challenge employees in a healthy way
- Encourage a balanced work-life (more flexibility and improved quality of life)
- Connect with your team in meaningful ways
Stay Ahead of the Curve to Attract and Retain Top Tech Talent
Millions of people all over the globe quit their jobs in 2021 (and this trend seems to only be increasing). And don’t be fooled into thinking this is just because of stresses and demands related to the pandemic. Poor working conditions, lack of business stability, and limited career growth opportunities were ongoing issues long before Covid-19.
The Great Resignation has created a massive opportunity for a worldwide underutilized, under-compensated talent to migrate to companies that truly embrace diversity, work-life balance, and improved mental health support.
This year should see the situation as an opportunity for companies to adapt and improve hiring practices, attract highly qualified talent, and achieve greater success than ever before.