Oh, really? Report says techies don't care much about salary.

Summary:According to a new report and an unscientific polling of a handful of techies, it's not salary or bonuses that cause IT pros to leave their jobs, but a lack of perks and new technical challenges.

'That's nice,' say techies, 'but we'd rather be challenged.'
HR departments and executives throw the word "retention" around a lot, but in theory at least, it's a good thing for everyone involved, especially you. Workplaces want to find the magic blend of perks and incentives that will keep you from hopping over to the competition; they want to keep you happy.

But mostly they want to do these thing because employee turnover is costly and, in the words of a new report on the topic, "it is generally less expensive to retain good employees than find new ones" thus slowing the pace of employee departures is the best strategy to reduce personnel costs.

And here you thought it was you they really cared about...

Unfortunately, on their road to figuring out why employees leave, organizations sometimes miss their mark. Based on a survey of 200 U.S. and Candian IT executives, a new report by Computer Electronics found that the most effective means of reducing turnover were not improving salary or bonuses. In fact, the report finds that "non-financial incentives, such as enriching education and training opportunities or introducing quality-of-life factors such as flexible scheduling, can have a greater impact on retention than raising pay scales."

In essence, this report finds that IT workers care more about perks such as training or flexible schedules than they do about the size of their paycheck, and you'll have to excuse this writer's jadedness because my first reaction was, "Oh really? Money doesn't count?"

Well, I posed this question to a bunch of techies and--fancy that!--at least according to this sample size of 12, my gut was 100 percent wrong. What was the biggest reason they said they left their jobs? Boredom, in the form of a lack of challenges and no new technologies to work on.

A software developer in San Diego says he leaves jobs because he's bored. "Keep challenging the technical folks, so we are engaged and learning, and we'll generally be happy," he said, a sentiment echoed by a product manager in Israel, who said that if there was no new or interesting challenge, he'd be "out the door."

A network administrator in San Francisco agreed as well, saying he "cant work for the same company anymore than two years, unless the equipment or topology changes all the time."

Another techie, a web developer in Philadelphia, says that people don't go into technology for the money. "They do it because they love what they do. They truly enjoy the challenges and achievements of working in this field," he explained and considers his field "fortunate that we are also able to make a living at this."

So what do you think? Do you agree with these techies that they care more about being challenged than dollar signs when choosing a job, or have I just managed to poll across a particularly earnest group of IT pros? Why did you quit your last job?

Topics: CXO, IT Employment

About

Deb Perelman is a journalist in New York City with a focus on tech and the daily grind. Previously she was a reporter for eWEEK, leading the magazine and Web site's coverage of the issue and trends that affect IT workers.

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