Almost three-quarters of digital talent planning job change


A large number of people in a digital role are looking to move jobs in the next few years, according to research from Boston Consulting Group.

A worldwide survey of around 10,000 people found almost 75% of those in a digital role have plans to leave their current role within the next two-to-three years, and around 40% of digital workers are already looking for a new role.

Orsolya Kovács-Ondrejkovic, an associate director at BCG and a co-author of the most recent Decoding global talent report, said that as companies continue to compete for talent from the same pool, salary has become an even more important selling point for roles.

“Workers in digital roles emerged from the Covid crisis relatively unscathed and are now entering an overheated talent market with many options,” she said.

“As companies across all industries digitise, salaries for tech talent have skyrocketed to a level where few employers can compete. However, our research shows that money isn’t everything – employers can still be attractive to digital talent with the right workplace culture and values.”

In the UK especially, firms complain of a lack of technology talent, leaving companies to compete for the same workers to fill their tech roles – putting the power in the hands of the job searchers.

The most common reason people in tech are looking to switch roles is for career progression, according to BCG, with around half of job-seekers saying they “need a new challenge”.

This doesn’t necessarily mean tech talent is leaving the sector altogether, with BCG’s report stating that those with highly technical skills are not looking for a career shift, but would choose roles such as consulting or engineering if they were.

Computer Weekly’s own salary survey found a drop in IT worker salaries from 2019 to 2020, but IT workers still make above the average UK salary, and priorities for those looking for new roles has shifted as the pandemic transformed ways of working.

Since 2018, BCG has found priorities changing for digital workers, with cash earned either through salary or benefits now ranking third in the list of the “most valued aspect of their job”, rising from fifth in 2018.

Good work-life balance ranks the most important aspect for digital employees, and digital talent is now increasingly concerned with how good an employer’s diversity and inclusion practices are, with half of digital talent saying they would not work for a firm which did not advertise its diversity and inclusion policies.

Almost half also said the same about a firm’s stance on sustainability and environmental impact, and just under a quarter said they want to find a role in a company that better aligns with their personal beliefs.

As the Brexit vote led to a large number of EU workers choosing not to stay in the UK, there have been concerns about how UK tech will cope in the light of a possibly diminishing talent pool.

Since 2018, the percentage of digital workers willing to move overseas for a role has dropped from 67% to 55%, but BCG’s research found that 12% of digital talent looking to relocate would be willing to move to London for a role, making it the most popular city for tech workers, followed closely by Singapore at 10%, and Amsterdam and Berlin (both at 9%).

While not all digital talent is willing to move country, 68% said they would work remotely for an employer in another country, with the US, the UK and Australia the most popular options for digital talent willing to take a remote role.

The pandemic proved that companies can still be successful with a remote workforce if the right technology is utilised, and people’s expectations of what they want from work once the pandemic is over is starting to look different to what the world of work looked like when the pandemic first began.

By the end of 2020, around 76% of tech workers were working fully remotely, an increased from 41% in 2018.

While things are beginning to return to normal, a quarter of those in digital roles would like to carry on working from home on a full-time basis, while 95% would like to maintain some of the flexibility gained during the pandemic by working from home at least one day a week, and three-quarters said they would like to work more flexible hours.

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