Main image of article How Employers Keep Tech Pros Motivated

What motivates a tech professional to stay at a particular job? For some, it’s the salary—and salaries have only been going up for those with the right skills. For others, it’s all about the perks, whether onsite benefits such as free food or the ability to telecommute instead of heading into an office.

As part of its recent Salary Survey, Dice asked tech pros across the nation to call out their employers’ primary motivators for keeping them onboard and engaged. Increased compensation topped the list, but some of the other answers may surprise you.

Increased Compensation

Some 17 percent of those surveyed by Dice said that increased financial compensation was their employer’s primary motivator in 2015.

Even if your employer doesn’t unilaterally offer a salary increase (or a nifty bonus), it’s still possible to negotiate higher pay, provided you come prepared for the discussion. Check out the Dice Salary Survey to see what the industry tends to pay for particular job titles or skill-sets; with a little digging online, you can also find out what your position pays at other companies, or even your own.

Once you’ve done your research to figure out what’s “fair” for your particular skillset, take the next step: an in-depth self-assessment. Sit down with a piece of paper (or your laptop open to your favorite word-processing program) and list your achievements and skills. Whether you’re applying for a brand new job or just trying to get paid a little more at your current one, these items will help you argue your case.

Once you’ve itemized those accomplishments, make another list, this one focusing on your weaknesses. These may include mishandled assignments, blown deadlines, abrupt firings, or anything else you think could harm someone’s perception of you as a solid worker. You’ll want to prepare explanations for each of these, in case they come up during a discussion.

When it comes time to talk money with your boss, emphasize your continuing utility to the organization. If you have the right mix of skills and experience, chances are good you’ll at least be listened to.

Next: Flexible Work Location, and More (click below)


Flexible Work Location

Another 13 percent of those surveyed said that flexible work location (or telecommuting) was their primary motivator.

Telecommuting attracted some debate a few years ago, after Yahoo’s then-new CEO Marissa Mayer decided to ban the practice. At the time, Yahoo’s executives argued that having employees actually come into the office would increase collaboration. But many workers love telecommuting, and not just because it saves them the time and aggravation of a physical commute; the ability to work from home (or a coffee shop, or a communal work-space) potentially allows for better work-life balance.

In theory, flexible work locations also give employers the ability to snag the best talent, wherever it happens to live. If you want that particular benefit, you need to convince your employer that you can be as productive and communicative in the comfort of your own home as in an office.

More Interesting (or Challenging) Work

Nearly as many respondents (12 percent) said their employer offered more interesting or challenging assignments as an incentive to stay with the company.

Next: Flexible Work Hours and Promotions (click below)


Flexible Work Hours

Relatively few employers (9 percent) seemed willing to provide their employees with flexible work hours. Indeed, negotiating for a flexible schedule can prove a serious challenge, especially if you’re boss is more of a traditionalist when it comes to working 9-to-5. (That being said, a number of tech firms also have a history of granting flexible hours—be sure to ask around.)

Despite the potential obstacles, many a hard-working tech pro has leveraged their work ethic and results into a better schedule. How do you pull that off? As with any other workplace negotiation, don’t go in cold: create a proposal that explains why giving you flexible hours will ultimately benefit the company. Perhaps working at night will better help you interface with clients or stakeholders on the other side of the world, for example. The stronger the potential upside for the company, the likelier your boss will grant your request.

If you’re just joining a company, make sure to bring up the possibility of flexible hours only after you’ve settled on a salary. While you may feel inclined to negotiate flexibility in your schedule in exchange for certain perks, you shouldn’t feel pressured to accept less money, especially if you’re working the same number of hours.

Promotion or New Title

Although tech pros generally like promotions and new titles, few employers (3 percent) seemed willing to bestow them.

Next: Training or Certification Courses (click below)


Training or Certification Courses

Despite the clear benefits of providing employees with additional training or certifications, a mere 3 percent of employers seemed willing to shell out the necessary resources to educate their respective workforces.

Which certifications earn the biggest pay bumps? According to data released late last year by Foote Partners, certifications that have seen significant increases in median base pay include Cybersecurity Forensic Analyst, Open Group Master Architect, Program Management Professional, Open Group Master Certified IT Specialist, and TOGAF 9.

Although earning many certifications is time-consuming and expensive—even for non-technical ones, such as ITIL and CRISC—it’s easy to argue that certifications increase your value as an employee. In addition, many companies reserve funds for employees’ professional development. If you’re interested in certifying your skill-set, see if your employer is willing to send you to class.