The Dice Salary Survey, in addition to giving a rundown of what technology professionals make in various industries, also reinforces what other studies have been saying: Many people within the tech industry like their jobs, but struggle for work-life balance. This issue is particularly acute in sub-industries such as video games, where “crunch time” and long hours are the norm at many firms.
For a healthy percentage of respondents, salary also had an enormous influence on their career decisions, to the point where many would uproot their lives and move to another city or even region for a higher-paying job.
More than a quarter of surveyed professionals thought that work-life balance is a myth. That’s eclipsed by nearly half who wanted more of a work-life balance. On the flip side, a mere 5 percent said that work-life balance wasn’t a top priority for them. The key takeaway here: people don’t want to grind 100-hour weeks for the glory of their company.
While a majority of tech pros said they were happy with where they lived (and a third rated themselves as somewhat happy), significant percentages thought that housing was too expensive where they lived, and their commutes too long and rough. Only a minority of tech pros in major tech cities such as San Francisco and New York City thought there was enough housing available, and even fewer thought that good mass-transit options were available.
Although many were happy with their current location, a majority of respondents were willing to move to a new city or state; some 55 percent said they would move to another city for a job with a higher salary.
For those employers who want to draw the best talent, offering high salaries is a good first step, but probably not sufficient when tech unemployment is so fiercely low; there’s clearly a widespread desire on tech professionals’ part for more balance in their lives. Companies that offer greater flexibility in workflow—such as the option to work from home—likely have a better chance of attracting experienced workers.
Employees who want better work-life balance at their next company should take the time to research a prospective employer’s culture and work environment. Interviewers will (usually) prove only too happy to break down a firm’s programs for optimizing work-life balance. And if you’re already at a company that doesn’t do enough to ensure your life is balanced, take the initiative by outsourcing tasks, scheduling your own downtime, exercising, and removing what doesn’t matter.