The Great Resignation: Why Tech Employees Quit and How Companies Should Respond
History repeats itself
Apparently, it does. At least in the study of Kerber and Campbell (1986). Through a post-exit survey, they were able to cite the reasons why employees from a high-tech computer company voluntarily had quit their jobs. Off-boarded employees signed their resignation letters due to various reasons:
- inadequate opportunities for promotion;
- unsatisfactory compensation and benefits;
- and competitive job offers.
The same study also found that employees who long waited for job advancement and better pay reported lower job satisfaction than those who left for another job offer. This study shares the same plot that is currently happening in the employment landscape of many technology companies to this date.
Employee exodus could happen by 2022
IT industries and financial firms are threatened by the walkout of employees after Resume Builder (2021) revealed that the great resignation is far from over. In a new survey done by the same company, forty and twenty-four percent of employees from both the said industries, respectively, have already quit or are planning to leave by the year 2022. Eighteen percent from the healthcare industry and sixteen percent from the food and hospitality industries are also expected to follow the earlier cited industries’ employees’ footsteps. Adding more fire to the burn, the total percentage could still soar since twenty-two percent of the respondents were yet undecided about quitting their jobs at the time of the survey.
The similarity from the historical data
Parallel to one of the Kerber and Campbell study findings, the critical reason tech employees leave is money. This is true for 50% of the respondents from the current cited study. Hence, employees preferred better pay and complex benefits. Others simply wanted to explore career options (44%). They are even looking at putting up their own businesses. The number grows to 70% with tech employees. Many of them, or 43% of workers, also preferred remote jobs instead, the promising work setup of the future. This preference was vouched for by the recent Talent LMS and Workable survey (2021) as well. They found issues with working hours, career progression, and toxic work environments to be the underlying reasons why 72% of tech workers in the US are quitting their jobs before 2022, too.
Great resignation emanated from employee exhaustion
According to Wakefield Research (2021), 97% of data engineers reported feeling burned out. They experienced relentless demands, work disruptions, and repeated interruptions in their work-life balance. Moreover, ill-defined projects became problematic, along with half-baked requests from stakeholders. 78% of data engineers who even suggested the availability of an in-company therapist to help them cope quantifies the extent of the stress and frustration they feel. Intensely, 79% permanently wanted to leave the data engineering field entirely. This is also similar to the findings from the survey by Talent LMS and Workable (2021). They successfully identified high levels of burnout among tech employees or 58% of the respondents. Additionally, burn-out employees are twice as likely to exit their jobs. Thirty percent also cited that burnout is their primary reason for jumping ship.
Redesigning employment experience is key to retaining talent
With all the tech employees’ reasons for leaving the traditional office, remote work can put a feather on its cap when viewed comparatively. The irony lies in the fact that tech offices pushing advancements in technology find it hard to innovate employee experience. Many businesses and offices are reopening their doors, starting to recall employees for in-person work again. If companies do not offer flexible work schedules, retaining the top and experienced talents would be even more back-breaking even after the pandemic when they have already acclimatized to being digital nomads. Klotz (2021), in an interview with ZDNet, also recommended providing more developmental opportunities for tech employees in terms of career advancement. Work flexibility, salary increase, and provision of benefits are the outright, however, actionable resolutions to the great resignation. Many companies have already moved forward by hiking up wages and ostensibly offering hiring bonuses. But, no matter how high the pay, if employees do not feel a sense of belonging, they can still go forth.
Loyalty stems from inclusion and diversity
Maybe it is time for business leaders to commiserate with their employees — the actual business growth drivers. Loyalty transpires from transparency. This can bridge the gap and forge trust between employers and employees, helps improve everyone’s morale, decreases job-related stress, and increases satisfaction, efficiency, and productivity. Employers acting on change, being change champions and allies of their employees, can cultivate a humane work ecosystem. The workplace must have room for inclusion, compassion, and acceptance for employees to be in their true authentic selves and perform their tasks comfortably at work. They should feel respected and valued. The tech employees are far different from their technological outputs. They are humans who feel emotions, who bleed when they are pierced. They are capable of walking away to find a new home when they are not treated fairly, justly, and equally.