Job Security the Top Priority of Younger IT Professionals

One question that never fails to elicit responses in the Dice Discussions board is: Should I pursue this job? Usually, the inquiring job seeker is wrestling with issues like prioritizing money versus status, or job security versus opportunity. The answers they get are always interesting because they reflect the values of other job seekers, even though their happiness isn’t at stake. And it’s often possible to guess the age of the responder based on their opinions. Younger job seekers seem to be a bit less anxious to make decisions based strictly on money.

Now it appears a new generation of IT professionals may be going through a values shift, opting for job security rather than high salaries. That’s in direct contrast to the choices made by their parents’ generation. DeVry University recently released the results of a national online survey conducted among 18-to-34-year-olds in mid-January 2009. Even though the respondents’ priorities aren’t completely surprising, given the survey was taken in the middle of a recession, job security was their number one goal.

In a sign of a major sea change in generational attitudes, adults ages 18-34 are moving away from their parents’ notion of ‘follow the money’ and instead focusing their sights on steady and secure employment, according to the State of the Student Survey released today by DeVry University.

As the national unemployment rate continues to rise, seven in 10 respondents say the prospect of job security is the most important factor when choosing a career path. Those surveyed also rated a career based on interesting work (60 percent) as more important than a high salary (46 percent) or a clearly defined career path (35 percent).

A career that would lead to a high salary came in third, with 46 percent of respondents saying it is a very important quality in choosing a career path, and the same number of respondents (46 percent), said that having a career that would be difficult to outsource was a top priority. And which career areas were named by the students as offering the greatest opportunity for the future? Healthcare, IT and computer security. The full results are here.

— Leslie Stevens-Huffman

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