10 reasons to look for a new job

Underpaid? Unchallenged? Maybe it's time to move on

tech resume makeover

Sometimes it's obvious when it's time to move on from a job. Other times it's not so clear. If you're not sure if the time is right to search for a new job, here are 10 reasons to consider making a change.

1) You’re not challenged

If you’re looking to broaden your knowledge or test your skills, you’re not alone. The No. 1 reason professionals would hunt for a new job is to seek a more challenging position, according to a survey from executive search firm Korn Ferry International. Among nearly 2,000 professionals surveyed in January, 73% said that if they plan on being in the job market this year, it’s because they’re looking for a challenge. Other reasons for job hunting are far less common: 9% said they are looking because they either don’t like their company or their efforts aren’t being recognized; 5% say their compensation is too low; and 4% say they don’t like their boss.

2) Companies are hiring

Sixteen percent of U.S. CIOs plan to expand their technology teams in the first half of 2017, according to Robert Half Technology (RHT). Another 69% will hire for open IT roles. It’s a job-seeker’s market, as hiring managers find they have to compete for the most in-demand talent. Among CIOs polled by RHT, 61% said it's somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals today.

3) You’ve always wanted to freelance

The demand for temporary labor shows no signs of slowing as companies try to achieve more flexibility in their staff levels. According to CareerBuilder’s 2017 job forecast, 51% of employers plan to hire temporary or contract workers in 2017, up from 47% last year. 

Specific to the tech industry, Computer Task Group, an IT services provider, predicts: “We will see increased use of freelance workers, crowdsourcing, and an overall shift towards the temporary, mobile workforce in 2017. This ‘human cloud’ model allows companies to tap into just-in-time talent and provides more employment opportunities outside of a traditional full-time employment for job seekers.”

4) You’re underpaid

More than one-third of tech professionals are underpaid by 10% or more, claims Paysa, a career start-up that specializes in compensation data. Paysa uses machine learning and AI to analyze more than five million resumes of tech and engineering professionals, culling trends and market valuations from IT workers' education, experience, skills, work history and current salary. According to Paysa’s new research, tech employees have the greatest likelihood of being undercompensated in Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. In terms of seniority, junior employees are more likely to be underpaid: Tech workers with 2-5 years of experience are 44% likely to be undercompensated, while employees with 20-plus years of experience are 24% likely to be affected by a gap in pay.

5) Wages are climbing too slowly at your current job

Wage increases for IT jobs have been modest in recent years, and 2017 will be no different, according to Computer Economics. In its 2017 IT Salary Report, the research firm estimates that IT workers at the median will receive a 2.8% pay raise. “Employers are for the most part holding the line on pay increases, hitting about the same number as last year. The improving economy just has not yet translated into significant pay increases for most IT workers,” said Tom Dunlap, research director of Computer Economics. “Efficiencies with cloud computing, software-as-a-service, and automation are clearly having an impact on hiring and salaries.”

6) You’re a data scientist (or in another hot role)

It can be hard to resist the temptation to change jobs if you’ve got skills that are in high demand and multiple companies are courting you. Big data engineers are among the most sought-after talent, according to HR services and staffing company Randstad US, which ranked its hot IT jobs for 2017. Specifically, postings for big data engineers jumped 92% nationally in 2016 compared to the previous year.

"Advancements and innovation in technology call for an increase in qualified candidates for a wide variety of IT roles. Positions in big data, in particular, will continue to see growth as they are critical to increasing productivity and innovation – two important differentiators for nearly all companies today,” said Dino Grigorakakis, vice president at Randstad Technologies.

Security is another area: job-search site Indeed reports that in the U.S., job seeker interest in cybersecurity roles meets 66.7% of employer demand – leaving a 33% skills shortage for crucial cybersecurity roles

7) You want a culture change

Money is important to IT pros, but it’s not all that matters. A new analysis by Glassdoor finds that as pay rises, employees care less about compensation and benefits packages and more about the company’s culture, leadership, and opportunities for advancement.

Glassdoor reports that three factors are the main drivers of employee satisfaction. The culture and values of the organization are the largest predictor of employee satisfaction, accounting for 22.1% of overall satisfaction. The quality of senior leadership (21.1%) and career opportunities (18.8%) are also strong predictors of overall employee satisfaction, Glassdoor says.

Futurestep, a division of Korn Ferry, likewise reports that corporate culture is a priority for today’s workforce – though it hasn’t always been so important to job seekers. Today, the No. 1 reason candidates choose one job over another is company culture, Futurestep found in its global survey of more than 1,100 hiring professionals. That’s a change from five years ago, when “benefits packages” was cited as the top reason for choosing a company.

“Five years ago, the world was still reeling from the Great Recession, mass layoffs, and all-around jitters,” said William Sebra, global operating executive, Futurestep. “It only makes sense that candidates felt the need for a stable paycheck plus healthcare and retirement benefits. Today, workers are generally moving beyond basic needs to different priorities.”

8) You’re more interested in 401(k) plans than 4:30 happy hours

While culture outranks benefits in the Glassdoor satisfaction survey and in the Futurestep study of workplace priorities, that doesn't mean workers don't pay close attention to their employers' benefits packages. Free lunch and dog friendly workplaces are nice perks, but companies are finding that today’s workers are interested in more practical benefits such as 401(k) plans and health care coverage.

Not all perks and benefits are created equally, said Glassdoor’s chief economist, Andrew Chamberlain, in a report on the five biggest jobs trends to watch in 2017.

“Our research shows that many of the more exotics perks today have a small effect on employee satisfaction compared to more traditional benefits like great health insurance, 401(k) matches, and generous paid time off,” Chamberlain writes. “The data show that less traditional benefits like gym memberships, charitable gift matching, and pet-friendly workplaces — while certainly are important to some employees — on average have a surprisingly weak correlation with employee satisfaction.”

9) You want a change of scenery

Itching to move to a new city? If you’ve got the right skills, you might be able to find an employer who’ll pick the tab for your move. Nearly half (48%) of respondents to Dice’s semi-annual survey said they’re offering to pay relocation costs for new hires.

10) It’s just time to move on

In a survey conducted by Spiceworks at the end of 2016, 37% of IT pros said they plan to begin searching for a new employer in 2017, and 26% plan to accept a new job. 

Paysa's data suggests those numbers could be even higher.

According to Paysa, 78% of all technology and engineering workers have a compelling reason to move to a new company and job within the next six months. That number comes from the percentage of employees that Paysa finds are underpaid relative to the market, have missed their promotion window, have been at their present company for the past two years, or are working at a company that is in serious decline.

“In 2017, the shift in power from the employer to employee will accelerate, tipping the scales in favor of the employee — at least in the technology sector,” said Chris Bolte, CEO of Paysa. “Data transparency and awareness around salaries, career advancement, available jobs and other compensation and benefits will drive this shift."

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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