Tech workers: Housing is hard to find, work/life balance is a 'myth'

Housing and work-life balance are the biggest problems facing tech employees, according to a new survey from tech employment agency Dice.

Dice survey tech workers work/life balance is a myth

Just 12% of tech employees in major tech-oriented cities believe that there's enough housing available for them, according to a survey of 1,600 U.S. tech professionals conducted by tech employment agency Dice in September.

Even in non-tech cities, only 23% think there's enough housing available. Consequently, in both groups, 20% of them rent. It's too expensive to buy, the study found.

Work/Life balance

Another gripe: Almost half of employees (45%) say that "their job doesn't allow them to have a work-life balance, and over a quarter (27%) think that it's a myth in the tech industry and just not possible," according to Dice's research (PDF).

However, that's about the extent of the major problems.

Many are happy with elements of their job environments. Over half of the respondents (58%) were happy with where they lived, and only 34% thought that the cost of housing was too expensive. And 49% were okay with the length of their commute.

Workplace discontent

The sense of vague satisfaction that Dice found in its survey contradicts that discovered in an IT worker survey conducted earlier this year by employee-engagement company TINYpulse.

In that survey, many in IT didn't think much of their jobs.

Only 19% of the IT group scored their happiness at work a 9 or 10, where a zero rating indicated abject misery, and 10 represented "delighted." TINYpulse analyzed answers from 2,200 employees working in miscellaneous job functions then, including IT.

I wrote about that survey, along with Reddit's reaction, in "IT feels unloved, says survey."

A lack of spending on upgrades, frustration with fellow workers not understanding computers, and straight-out-of-central-casting basement IT work environments contributed to the disgruntled consensus, according to the Redditors.

Turnover rates

Dice's survey, on the other hand, looks at tech workers as a whole, not just IT. Despite the aforementioned, somewhat rosy picture, Dice says turnover rates are a problem.

"Attrition is an expensive problem for companies across the U.S., but this is particularly true for the tech industry," Dice says in the report.

In its study, Dice refers to a 2013 PayScale survey that "found that employee turnover rate among Fortune 500 companies is greatest in the tech industry." That survey was reported at the time by TechRepublic.


Dice points to millenials to explain the continuing attrition.

"One reason for this is that tech companies are continually looking for young, fresh talent, and as a result, hire a number of millennials to fill positions," the report says.

Read: it's cheaper.

"This poses an immediate problem, however, since millennials have been found to leave their jobs to switch positions more often," the report says.

But with Dice reporting that nearly half of workers want a better work/life balance, there's obviously more to it than that.

Bosses need to work harder

From all three surveys mentioned here, it's clear that bosses need to focus more to retain and keep tech workers happy. 

Since the workers find housing a problem, they need more money. And if bosses don't hire older workers more, they can expect retention problems.

"This focus requires that employers look not only at their tech professionals' professional growth and satisfaction, but also at their personal happiness," Dice says in its report.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

IT Salary Survey: The results are in