Main image of article How Job Satisfaction Stacks Up in the Tech Sector

Over the past week, we’ve been diving deep into The Dice 2020 Tech Salary Report to look at industry trends across the country, exploring salaries and fastest growing occupations according to income and location. But now, it’s time to look at one of the most important factors in having a successful tech company in 2020: job satisfaction.

Here’s the good news: job satisfaction appears to be stable across the board, which means a lot of companies are doing a lot of things right. But that doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. To keep that level of satisfaction steady, it’s important for employers to continue exploring ways to keep employees happy, and even find new ways to improve their work experience (and support their work/life balance.)

But let’s take a look at what the numbers are telling us. Starting with job satisfaction, nearly half of all respondents polled said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their current or more recent job in 2019. That’s on par with 2018 numbers, which means that companies are doing a good job at holding steady in offering roles that employees find challenging and inspiring—and they have the support they need to accomplish the work they’re tasked with in those roles.

On the compensation end of things, the numbers fluctuate a bit. 49% of respondents reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their compensation structure, with a 1% uptick from 2018 to 2019. The issue that arises in this arena is connected to compensation rate and job satisfaction. To put this into perspective, a technologists who had an average salary of $102,478 reported they were satisfied with their current jobs, but technologists who had an average salary of $82,470—marking a $20,000 difference in pay—reported they were dissatisfied with their jobs.

But satisfaction isn’t just gauged by one’s job and the money they make—it’s also the team environment that plays a part in the overall numbers. Over 62% of respondents said they’re satisfied or very satisfied with their teams, while 57% reported that they’re satisfied or very satisfied with their managers. So that means that companies are making good hiring decisions to inform how they build out their teams and management structures, which reflects well on the employees.

However, there’s still room for improvement with overall job satisfaction. Those who were dissatisfied with the management structure gave specifics on what they felt they needed in order to feel more support in their tasks. For example, 20% needed more recognition for their work, while 19% said they wanted to know that their opinion mattered. To these employees, having a voice and knowing they were valued for it directly contributed to their overall happiness in both their job, and their role within the company.

So while many managers have solid ratings with their employees, there’s something to be said for taking a little more time out to communicate to those employees that their contributions are both welcome and important if they want to continue to rank highly on the job satisfaction scale. And here’s a compelling reason why that’s important: because they put themselves at risk for losing team members.

As the numbers show, only 27% of technologists who are satisfied with their manager plan to change employers in the coming year, but 61% of those who aren’t satisfied with their manager are planning to change employers. It’s an employee’s market out there these days, which means that your loss could definitely be your competitor’s game—and that’s likely not a risk that you’ll want to take.

So what can you do to ensure job satisfaction remains high? We suggest:

  1. Finding time to connect with your team members. Whether that means having a semi-regular one-on-one to discuss workload and needs, or if you just need to make more of an effort to check in on your employees to ensure they have everything they need to feel supported in their position, giving them your ear—and really listening—can make a huge difference in terms of employee satisfaction.

  2. Making sure your team members are being heard. It’s a common pitfall for managers to say they’re interested in outside opinion and not actually do anything with it—or acknowledge that your employee has shared their thoughts. Remember, you hired these people for a reason—because they’re the best in their field—and you want them to feel like they can share their expertise and be heard. That’s not to say that you should entertain solutions that definitely aren’t going to work for a project, but there’s something to be said for exploring the road less traveled and collaborating—especially if it makes for a more successful launch, and a stronger bond with the team.

  3. Ensuring your team members have a strong work/life balance. Yes, production schedules are going to be unwieldy, and yes, there are often late nights and early mornings when the team is working to get a project off the ground. But if you’re running your team members ragged, you’re only going to get their best work out of them for so long. Remember to give them room to breathe so they can recharge and reboot and be ready to come at their workload with fresh eyes. Maybe that means time off, maybe that means a longer lunch… it depends on the team member, so again: communication is key.