Long-term skills shortage drives tech salaries up

Four in 10 technologists changed jobs this year, according to the Harvey Nash Technology Survey. Respondents listed a good salary as their main motivator (77 percent) behind the switch, up 16 percent from last year and pushing work/life balance out of the no. 1 spot.

Almost one in four tech workers (37 percent) received 10 or more inquiries from headhunters during the past year, while 62 percent of developers and 55 percent of all software engineers reported 10 or more approaches from headhunters.

Globally, 53 percent of technology hiring managers reported skills shortages in 2015, up from 51 percent the previous year. The long-term IT skills shortage has led technology companies, both large and small, to drive salaries and incentives up with hopes of recruiting and retaining this scarce and highly sought-after tech talent. This approach has had some effect: the proportion of technologists who expect their next role to be with their current employer has risen from 22 percent in 2013 to 27 percent this year. However, that means almost three quarters (73 percent) believe the only way to progress their career is to leave their current employer.

The three top motivators for staying in a job are good salary (selected by 77 percent of respondents), work/life balance (72 percent) and opportunity to work on innovative projects (69 percent).

The report shares findings from nearly 3,000 technology professionals from more than 30 countries, and reveals that the traditional technology career path, even compared to five years ago, is being rewritten as there are far greater opportunities for flexible employment, alluring entrepreneurial projects and opportunities for advancement.

Tech sector demographics:

  • More than 1 in 10 technologists work in an organization where no women are employed.
  • Nearly 6 in 10 respondents work in environments where women make up less than 20 percent of the workforce.
  • Three in 10 technology professionals work outside the country they were born.
  • One in five technologists based in the U.S. were born overseas.

Innovation and security:

  • Over half (55 percent) of respondents believe their country’s position as a technology innovator will advance during the next five years; however, almost half of all technologists also worry that government over-regulation will starve innovation.
  • U.S. technologists are the most skeptical, with over 6 in 10 concerned that the government is not doing enough to advance regulation that balances personal privacy with innovation.
  • Only five percent of technology professionals think the risk of security attacks is falling.
  • 56 percent of respondents reported being personally hacked last year (up from 52 percent in 2014); only 39 percent report their company being hacked over the last 12 months.
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