Main image of article What Tech Pros Really Want in a New Job

In the most recent Dice Salary Survey (PDF), some surprising trends emerged. One of the more striking is that 40 percent of tech pros see themselves changing employers in 2017. Here’s why they’re leaving, and what they want in a new job.

As you might have assumed by now (or before you even clicked on this article!), most tech pros want more money. Of the 40 percent who say they’d switch jobs, 63 percent point to “higher compensation” as their main driver. The average salary of those who want a new job with more money is $77,801.

Developers earn an average of $77,801 for between "3-5 years" and "6-8 years" on the experience chart. Incidentally, salaries for developers in their most junior roles (five years or less) fell an average of 2.4 percent in our 2017 survey.

The average salary across all respondents is $92,801. If we’re parsing a Venn Diagram of developers, $77,801 likely hits the sweet spot of "ready to step up" and "feels underpaid anyway."

Second on the list is "better working conditions." It’s not clear what is so unfriendly about their current working environment, but this segment had an average salary of $86,416. Sometimes more money brings a different set of problems.

Almost one-third – 31 percent – just want more responsibility (read: a promotion). That crew makes $83,481, so they’re likely looking for more money, too. Some 16 percent want a shorter commute, while 15 percent just want to relocate. Of course, relocation might feel like a raise, too.

With 42 percent saying they’re no more likely to relocate now than they were in the past, 27 percent of overall respondents to Dice’s Tech Salary Survey report they’re more willing to move. Five percent are still unsure about relocation, and 26 percent say they’re happier staying put.

The most curious statistic comes at the top of the salary food chain. Of the 40 percent wanting to jump ship in 2017, 19 percent say they’ll do so out of fear of losing their current job. This sub-sect is also the best paid of job seekers: $101,803.

A possible cause for concern is the overall metro salary figures. Of the top five metro areas for base salary (topped by Silicon Valley), three report declines in average salary. That doesn’t improve as you move down the list: six of the top 10 have seen salaries dip versus last year, and 14 of the top 20 metros for tech salaries are down versus last year.

Stack Overflow’s most recent developer survey affirms Dice’s data. It found only 24.8 percent of respondents were happy at their workplace, with 13.1 percent actively looking for new jobs. The rest, 62.1 percent, fell in realm of "not looking but open to opportunities."

Insecurity might play a part, too. Some 15 percent say that finding a job relevant to their skillset is a concern, while 14 percent report that keeping their knowledge honed is important. A full 10 percent worry their position is just being eliminated. That hints at an awakening of sorts: after years spent comfortable in their positions, tech pros seem to be willing to challenge themselves to learn more and do better.

At least, we hope that’s the case. Whether it’s relocation or stepping into a new role with added responsibilities, staying current with your industry is important.