Small Companies Have a Happiness Edge But Fall Short on Salary for Technical Professionals

By Chelsea Babin

The Information Technology sector is booming and technical professionals are faced with a cornucopia of opportunity. According to recent data from Glassdoor, the Information Technology industry has 263,586 open jobs, which are worth roughly $20.9 billion to the economy. The technology jobs with unfilled openings of the highest economic value include Software Engineers and Systems Engineers. Software Engineers currently have 13,198 open positions and a collective economic value of $1.29 billion. Systems Engineers currently have 6,789 open positions and a collective economic value of $606 million. Keep in mind, Glassdoor is only accounting for the open jobs within its own database, so the numbers are undoubtedly higher overall.

With technology’s unemployment rate ending up at 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, staggeringly lower than the overall U.S. labor market’s unemployment rate which stood at 4.7 percent, many technical professionals have been evaluating what makes them happy and, if their current company doesn’t offer that environment, they’re seeking new employment elsewhere.

According to a recent Spiceworks study, IT professionals working at smaller companies with less than 100 employees have a 66 percent happiness rating. That narrowly beats the happiness rating at medium-sized companies with less than 1,000 but more than 100 employees, whose happiness rating was 62 percent. And, finally, large companies with over 1,000 employees found that only 55 percent of the IT professionals working there considered themselves happy.

Smaller and medium-sized companies have a happiness edge due to reduced stress levels and strong coworker relationships, according to the study. However, the drop in stress level may not be worth the reduced pay level to some IT professionals.

Spiceworks found that coworker relationships are of the greatest concern to IT professionals. They found that 61 percent ranked their relationships with the people they work with as having the largest impact on their happiness, followed by a tie between pay and stress affecting their happiness, both at 53 percent.

It’s clear that making your IT employees happy and keeping them from looking for a new opportunity revolves around creating a company culture that emphasizes personality and camaraderie. Reducing stress levels and increasing salaries can also be beneficial but, if your organization is having a hard time reducing IT turnover, focus first and foremost on a company culture shift that strengthens the bond between technical professionals and their coworkers through fun events, emphasis on personality during the hiring process, and developing a sense of camaraderie in the office rather than a culture of competition.

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