Key strategies for hiring technologists in 2020

Emerging benefits, the ability to work remotely at least half the time, solid compensation, trust and transparency are the top demands to bring in top talent.

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For technologists, it's more than just salary that draws them to a job. This year's Dice 2020 Tech Salary Report shows that with the tech industry's unemployment rate is at historic lows, and many tech employees satisfied in their current job, employers will need to find new ways to draw in new hires.
The report noted, "2020 is the year for businesses to meet their recruiting goals by understanding and acting on the salaries and benefits that technologists value." And there's a lot of promise ahead for technologists, who earned an average $94,000 in 2019.
The Dice report looked at the biggest career concerns regarding technologists and employment in 2020, and the highest percent (17%) of concerns went to "position or contract elimination."
Some 12% were worried about finding a new job that matched their skillset, and 11% cited keeping skills up to date and being valuable to their employers.
The lowest on the concern scale, coming in at 1%, was position relocation, scoring less than "other" (2%).
In emerging technology hubs in the US, technology-related salaries  have risen considerably, which implies the local need for technologists who specialize in a variety of specific platforms. 

The "standard" benefits, healthcare, PTO and matching 401(k) benefits may not be enough to entice top talent and employers need to think on this because offering "emerging" benefits are appealing and it will help them get the jump on the competition. 

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The report shows that technologists are interested in emerging benefits such as college tuition reimbursement (which 48% expressed interest in, though only 25% report receiving it as a benefit), wellness programs (45% expressed interest, up 6% from last year), maternity/paternity leave (45%, up 11% from last year), and paid volunteer opportunities (35%, up 7% from last year).
In addition to more nuanced benefits,  remote work is very enticing to technologists ; 61% said they want to work remotely at least half of the time, but the demand isn't met by employers, since only 24% have the opportunity to do so. And 16% of respondents said it wasn't even allowed at their company for their position. 

Work-life balance is at the foremost in the minds of many technologists and 40% said it was a motivator provided by their employer in 2019, with higher rates than recognition (33%), health or retirement benefits  (31%), and higher compensation or promotion (26%). There were hints, however, that technologists weren't happy with the "balance" in their current position, and 53% described themselves as "burned out."
Strategies to improve employee work-life balance include

  • Schedule downtime—encourage employees to build-in downtime, like taking walks and socializing
  • Encourage delegation—let them delegate and outsource less-essential tasks
  • Be flexible—the 9-to-5 grind is passe. Emphasize the flexibility your business offers employees, especially if jobs are task oriented. Meaning, if they get the job done on time, it shouldn't matter when they do it (if you allow remote work or WFH [work from home]).

In 2019, technologists were less likely to say it was likely they'd change employers. In 2018, 45% said they would, but in 2019, it fell to 38% who responded positively to "yes, I'll likely change employers." 
In 2018, 24% said "no, I will not likely change employers," but in 2019, 31% of respondents chose this option. As for "not sure/don't know," it was 30% in both 2018 and 2019.
And technologists have solid reasons for considering a change in employment— to seek higher compensation, and 71% said that's why they'd change. Another 47% said they'd love to find better working conditions. 

Other reasons to make a job change include 

This suggests that while salary is one of the top reasons for changing employers, there are several other considerations technologists need to make.

Those least reluctant to leave their current employ, the survey noted, are those who live in an up-and-coming tech hub , such as Atlanta and Denver.
In-demand positions command substantive salaries, and those salaries have actually gone up. Most in-demand jobs are in data science —so much so that employers are likely to adjust benefits and motivators to bring them into their company.
The report noted, "External factors—like a potential recession and an election year—also may contribute to more technologists wanting to stay with their current employer for fear of a tighter job market."

"We're excited to share that this year's report brought to light a new tool for balancing the demands of technology work," said Michelle Marian, CMO of DHI Group, parent company of Dice, in the report. 
"With over a quarter of technologists seeking opportunities to be more creative in their jobs, employers can meet this need by offering special projects and empowering technologists to approach projects in distinct and creative ways, allowing room for continued innovation and in turn, increased satisfaction for technologists."
Employers need to meet their recruiting goals by understanding and acting on the salaries and benefits technologists value. 

Also see 

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Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

By N.F. Mendoza

N.F. Mendoza is a writer at TechRepublic and based in Los Angeles. She has a BA in Broadcast Journalism and Cinema Critical Studies and a Master's of Professional Writing, both from USC. Nadine has more than 20 years experience as a journalist coveri...