Money isn't the problem

Tech workers aren’t disloyal, they’re under appreciated

It’s become something of a cliché to note that tech workers bounce between jobs faster than a pinball rebounds against the confines of its rubber-lined machine. Common wisdom says this is because millennials are flaky, and that loyalty has no place in a job market where changing jobs can often lead to a higher income. But new research suggests this phenomenon has another motivator: appreciation.

TINYpulse (hereafter stylized as “TinyPulse”) recently surveyed more than 5,000 people who work at tech companies in the United States. It found that many tech workers who see themselves sticking with their current employer for at least a year are the same workers who feel like the company values them. And while “value” can sometimes mean “pay,” it can also mean other things, too.

The survey showed that the majority of workers at tech companies aren’t particularly happy at work, feel under appreciated, and don’t feel they’re provided with sufficient opportunities for growth or support in their careers. Many of these feelings were more pronounced in people who work in IT, but most workers offered negative or milquetoast in response to the survey.

“There’s widespread workplace dissatisfaction in the tech space, and it’s undermining the happiness and engagement of these employees,” TinyPulse said. “The problem goes beyond workplace satisfaction […] engagement is one of the key ingredients for employee innovation. If we aren’t engaging our IT workers, we aren’t setting them up to perform the way we need them to.”

Anyone who questions the effect feeling valued can have on someone changing careers should just look at Amazon. A New York Times report showed that the company’s offices — and its warehouses — are brutal. Researchers from the University of Kansas lent more evidence to that idea by showing Amazon’s workers have a worse work-life balance than workers at other tech companies.

And, surprise, surprise, workers aren’t willing to put up with that. As the New York Times said in its report:

Employees, human resources executives and recruiters describe a steady exodus. ‘The pattern of burn and churn at Amazon, resulting in a disproportionate number of candidates from Amazon showing at our doorstep, is clear and consistent,’ Nimrod Hoofien, a director of engineering at Facebook and an Amazon veteran, said in a recent Facebook post.

I wouldn’t be surprised if more reports like the one on Amazon start to appear. Maybe tech workers, especially young ones who are accused of lacking loyalty or belonging to a generation of frenzied dilettantes, are simply trying to find places to work that give them the appreciation they’re looking for. It’s not just about the money — it’s about finding a place that treats workers like human beings.

Not that the money hurts, of course.

3 Responses to “Tech workers aren’t disloyal, they’re under appreciated”

  1. Joe Nickence

    I have to agree with Fernando. I’m a Boomer. If you were to look at my LinkedIn profile, I have more experience than employers are willing to hire for now. And its not because of purposely seeking to change career paths. Corporations in general have such high turnover rates that they don’t bother to try to keep people happy anymore. With today’s economy, they can pull just about anyone off the streets and say “do this my way”. Then they wonder why everyone is on the other side of the road avoiding them. Companies don’t realize that grass roots networking shares what stinkers those companies are.

  2. Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm

    Nice read. I think this also applies to the not-so-millennials like me. In my 23 year career, I have switched jobs 5 times (I am on my 6th now). Every single one of those 5 times I left a job, it was because of an appreciation issue; it was never money. The funny thing is that money increased as well with every move, so there is somewhat of a correlation there. I can totally relate to the last sentence in this article.