Dice Report: Turnover High in Tech


Attrition is a costly problem for businesses. When tech professionals leave, the cost of finding, hiring and training team members can deeply impact a business’ bottom line. Attrition has been a top-of-mind problem especially in the tech industry, where the turnover has been rising every year since 2012.

According to Dice’s analysis of the latest turnover data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, voluntary quits in Professional and Business services continue to trend upwards. Total quits in the category in the first three quarters of 2015 averaged 508,200, the highest since 2002 and a nine percent increase compared to the same period in 2014.

Higher turnover means business and tech professionals are more confident in the economy and may have the leverage to leave their current jobs for a better position or higher pay. They may be more open to looking for a new job in cities with better housing and cost of living or with a company that offers greater work/life balance.

Dice’s recent survey of over 1,600 U.S.-based tech professionals points to key areas of satisfaction for tech workers, but also key triggers for turnover. Factors which could be driving higher tech turnover include the desire for higher pay (59 percent said they’d move to another city for a higher paying job), and location (50 percent said they’d move to another city for a job without pay being a factor).

But while higher turnover shows opportunity and confidence for the professional, it can be a headache for HR managers if strong retention strategies aren’t in place. Understanding the priorities of your tech professionals, whether that be greater work/life balance, flexible working options, or commuter incentives will not only allow you to retain talent, but it will lead to a more engaged, productive, and ultimately profitable technology team.

21 Responses to “Dice Report: Turnover High in Tech”

  1. Joe/Jane Doe

    Companies could hold on to ppl much longer if they allowed positions to be remote/telecommute. People might leave job situations for higher pay but, they also leave because of horrible commutes or, because they are in a geographically undesirable location given their respective situation/preference.

    Unfortunately, most positions require ppl to be on site. Why? I’ve been trying to figure that out for years. I think it all boils down to the mindset of “I need to show up to work and therefore, so do you.”

    I know I’d leave a job not only for higher pay, I’d also leave for a dog friendly company or, the ability to work from home.

  2. I totally agree. The ability to work remotely is amazing. I’ve been fortunate to do it a few times in my career and I loved it. I don’t understand why more companies don’t accept that we’re living in a different economy, a different time. I disagree with the notion that you have to be in the “same room” to work together. I’ve worked with people for years face to face and never said more than “hello” to them on a regular basis, whereas, I’ve worked with remote colleagues and developed great friendships halfway around the world. Working remotely is a great way to keep quality employees who need more flexibility in their lives.

  3. Rich in name only

    IT Workers also leave their job if it’s a bad job as well. There’s still a plethora of IT jobs out there were the workers are created either as dirt or worse than dirt and sometimes it’s because they never get a ‘thank you’ for keeping the company’s network online.

  4. Dan Hoevenaar

    I too believe that telecommuting is not used to it’s full potential.
    Most company management personnel insist on the old school mentality of warm the seat and you will be neat.
    We live in a rapidly advancing world and excluding outages, which occur not very often, the resultant output is as great or greater. Everything can be accomplished by remote. Any other can be accomplished by the crew physically at the “office”.

  5. Kim Wennerberg

    In retrospect I see it was a specific manager that prompted me to leave. I have never seen voluntary quits be part of a front-line manager’s metric nor have I seen a company look in the mirror and ask “why?” Some companies today still think they are doing you a favor to “give” you a job and “give” paychecks. (I earn my paycheck– it is not a gift.)

  6. BillyBobJohnson

    Loyalty in the workplace has been dead for a long time. If HR is getting heartburn from having to deal with turnover, it’s their own fault. CEO’s don’t give a hoot about employees in IT. To them, we’re all plug-compatible and replaceable, generally with foreign workers. If I can find a higher paying job with decent benefits, adios, Mr./Ms. CEO. I’m just showing you the same loyalty you showed me.

  7. Texblondi2u

    I totally agree with the comments here. I’ve been working remotely for the past 5 years and I love it. However I recently quit my position because of horrible management and being treated like dirt. Any company that thinks its okay to work their IT employees 60-70 hours a week consistently and never say thank you for creating an environment with a 99.9% uptime when that environment had been below 70% uptime, doesn’t deserve the level of support and engineering that I have provided them. Gratitude, respect, and recognition goes a very long way. If a company wants my loyalty they have to earn it just like I have to earn my paycheck.

  8. Only 10 more years to go

    Let’s keep in mind that HR doesn’t care about you. They are there to protect the company. Today’s worker is looked at as burden, but necessary. We cannot be written in the books as a tax credit. As most of these posts indicate, there is no more loyalty. respect, recognition. But more importantly the hours worked never match the pay. I feel if HR is sadden by all of these departures they need to come clean with the workers. Where I work there is 10 layers of management. How sad it is that the company I work for needs this much management. The funny thing is with all of this management, things are still screwed up. Oh, let’s not forget the annual play book from HR that states we can get rid of you whenever we feel like and make you pay more for your benefits. I remember when I started in IT, the company paid for all of your benefits. Boy, there should use that on management that keep screwing up. Thank God only 10 more years of the corporate jungle. It’s kill or be killed.

  9. Gregorius T

    We’re moving into a gig work model. Companies have been playing this model for many years. Now, the workers are getting onboard too.

    Many people, like myself, don’t mind. I like the variety of companies and projects. I also like the idea of working in a city, or town, of my choosing.

    Part of the new gig model involves being able to work remote. Companies had best get onboard, or they will suffer. The days of sitting in traffic, spewing carbon emissions, just to warm an office chair. Over!

  10. Cellounge

    Why did I leave? I was a contractor at a major medical corp in Columbus, Ohio. I was hired to do level 2 Desktop Support in the company but by the time the 1.5 year long project was over I was an interim team lead. Their policies were pretty ignorant to say the least. They want all 15 of us to start over by applying to the help desk. That’s right, they wanted people with almost 20 yrs of experience to start over as an entry level employee when the project was over. There are five levels in between help desk and team leader. I told them its like hiring a director, putting him in a supervisors position and telling him to work his way back to director. That stupid asinine policy alone is what made me leave. I’d already been there 1.5 yrs and installed over 2000 PCs. Sure, there is always things to learn but at the same time their full time 2nd level senior people used to ask me “How to” all the time. It made zero sense whatsoever. Anyway, IT is a cost center to HR so until they look at us otherwise we are going to get treated like crap.

  11. Q. J. Kemas

    I also agree with all of the posts. But there are “other” highly skilled technical people out there who’d kill to have the pay scales that IT, programmers and enginneers etc have. I’m talking about electronics and communications techs, Tool & Die makers, machinists, etc. These are also very highly skilled jobs requiring substantial training and investment but pay very poorly these days. Today (in Pittsburgh PA, home of the abnormally low pay scale for manufacturing techs) most electronics techs and machinists are being paid very poorly. When I got of college in the 70’s and apprenticed for 3 years as a tool & die maker we were making twice what the make now with nice benefits. An electronics tech today in Pittsburgh is lucky to make $14.00 hr if he or she can find it. The companies in this area are always complaining they can’t find good techs – if you look at the realities of the situation, they are now hiring through agencies, only want contract based workers for for short term, no benefits, and require mandatory overtime sometimes, up to 60-70 hours a week. Even the Federal Government now states that if you are making less than $14.00.hr you are substantially under employed. For those working under contract, the new HR trick is to advertise for a long term contract positions(many people don;t want to sign on for short term contracts) and then terminate the people when they they are no longer needed before the end of the contract term. (All legal and stated in the very fine print of course) I have no sympathy for the whining of the companies, they are reaping what they have sown.

  12. In my experience people first decide they should leave due to not enjoying their work or not getting along with colleagues.

    It is rarely a surprise someone leaves, they spend months complaining and its their manager’s fault for not fixing it. Managers don’t like escalating complaints as it shows they are neutered.

    Then once an employee decides to leave, they then decide their priorities, their choice of location, money, work/life, commute, etc.

  13. The first problem is usually management that has no idea what a person’s job is. Second the pay is not equal to the amount of stress involved, especially job creep into your personal time (24/7, nights, weekends required). Senior employees with experience are squeezed out in favor of lower paid employees who often quit soon after training. Recruiters are the new HR and often overlook qualified people because they are not familiar with the IT positions they are trying to fill. Job descriptions are often ridiculous with everything thrown in they can think of and for the amount of payment for the positions posted that person does not exits. Age and sex discrimination still rampant in IT.

  14. I know a 54-year-old guy who has over 30 years of experience in IT. He’s done it all. He was hired at a company after it got rid of 3 guys in IT. He found out quickly why he was suddenly working 80 hours a week: HE WAS HIRED TO DO ALL 3 OF THEIR JOBS!!! It damn near killed him.

  15. Working remotely is a HUGE benefit that many companies don’t take advantage of. In today’s tech jobs many of us can do all of our work from the comfort of our homes at the same or higher efficiency as there isn’t the constant interruption of “hey can you fix my computer”.

    The standard salary and benefits matrix can also be a big factor as I know personally I have found that the only way to get a significant raise in the technology industry is to hop jobs. Nobody wants to give significant performance based raises anymore as everyone is deemed replaceable in today’s HR world.

    I also know where “Rick” is coming from as in the tech industry you are expected to have everything at 100% uptime whether it is custom software or purchased software. If something goes down even for the slightest minute people are a mob at your door. When things work perfectly, nobody knows you exist. A little acknowledged appreciation goes a long way.

  16. Mary Chicago

    I agree with all of the posters so far.

    IT has totally changed as a career…much of it very recently. Users have very, very high expectations now because they’re able to do so much on their iPads, smartphones, “the cloud”, internet sites, etc…assuming that a few programmers working for a couple of months created each “app”. They place high limitations on time and budget on IT and hate hearing “No”. Finally, there are way too many options for coding and poorly trained/supervised developers who are writing very, very bad stuff…so we have to spend a lot of time plugging various holes instead of writing new functionality. Oh, for the good old days.

  17. texblondi2u

    All the posts here hit the nail on the head!! Here’s my reasons for quitting my last position:
    1. Bad Management that was clueless about what it took to do my job and had no idea what the technology was or did!
    2. Hired for a specific job and company immediately fired 3 contractors expecting me as a Sr. Engineer to do the work of 3 people.
    3. Forced to work an average of 65-70 hours a week, 7 x 24, up to 27 days in a row at times.
    4. Working 36 hours straight and having my Supervisor call me after 2 hrs of sleep telling me to get up and do my part!! Excuse me? WTH..
    5. Total lack of respect, recognition, or appreciation from Management.
    6. A 2% pay raise after being worked like a mule!!

    I could list 20 other reason I flat out quit my last job but you get the picture..

    I only have another 5 years or less to go to be done with being treated like mule. I only hope that my new company treats me better and respects what my 20 years experience brings to the table. At least I got a 30K increase so that some consolation.

  18. I too agree with the ability to work remotely would create more loyalty to the company. After 20 years in IT, I am still on the Help Desk with a different company however, a totally grunt position. Some desks I’ve been on are better than others which has caused some of the wandering I have done over the past 20 years. If there was the ability to work from home, I may have hung around at the other Help Desks a little bit longer. I did receive an offer once that was a $20,000 decrease in salary for the privilege of working from home. No thank-you.