Although tech pros have enjoyed a strong economy and low unemployment over the past twelve months (the tech industry’s unemployment rate hit a 19-year low in May, in fact), many of them are nonetheless unhappy. Some have issues with work-life balance, or their commute, or the cost of living in their city. What are the biggest pain points? Click through the following slides (accessible via the numbers below) to find out.
Tech hubs such as San Francisco and New York City are appealing to many professionals, but living in major metropolitan areas comes with a major downside: housing costs. According to one Dice survey, only 12 percent of tech employees in those hubs believe there’s enough available housing. Even in cities that don’t qualify as tech hubs, a mere 23 percent of pros think there’s adequate living space.
For those technologists who feel that they’re not earning quite enough money to survive in a high cost-of-living area, the advice is pretty straightforward: get roommates, take advantage of whatever deductions and free entertainment you can, and gain whatever skills you potentially need to level up (including the often-overlooked “soft skills” such as communication). All that aside, though, many technologists are migrating to areas with a lower cost-of-living where your salary dollar stretches much further.
In those major tech hubs, 46 percent of those surveyed complained that housing is too expensive. The situation gets a lot better in cities not considered hubs, where a mere 20 percent of tech pros think they pay too much for housing.
For example, according to a recent survey by Hired, some 53 percent of tech professionals said they’re compensated fairly given the cost of living in their city, while 47 percent do not. If you want the most band for the proverbial buck, you move to places such as Detroit, Raleigh, Tampa, and Portland, where $500,000 will buy you a house instead of a studio apartment.
Traffic congestion is a common complaint among those tech professionals who live in the major tech hubs, with 48 percent saying they face too much traffic congestion during their commute. Compare that to cities not considered major tech hubs, where only 32 percent of those surveyed complained about congestion.
There simply isn’t enough mass transit, according to Dice’s survey. Nationwide, only 8 percent of tech pros thought there were enough public transportation options. No wonder major tech firms such as Google have begun offering company shuttles in San Francisco.
According to Payscale, the average tech employee has a tenure of 3.68 years at a particular company. And lots of pros are willing to move, with 50 percent telling Dice that they would transfer cities for a new gig. Some 52 percent said they’d even move to a different region or state altogether.
Work-life balance is a common complaint among tech pros, with 45 percent telling Dice that they wanted more of an equilibrium between home and office life, but that their company wouldn’t allow it. Nearly a third said that work-life balance in the tech industry is a myth.
However, studies show that working remotely has a direct effect on whether technologists think they’ve achieved a good work-life balance. And with salaries tending to level off across the country, more employers are willing to negotiate for flexible schedules and remote work in lieu of giving out raises; if you bring up the issue with your boss, they’re more likely to allow you to establish your ideal schedule.
Only 5 percent of tech pros felt that work-life balance wasn’t a priority for them; some 75 percent thought it was important. Despite complaints from tech pros, HR staffers seemed to feel that their employees had what they needed, with 67 percent reporting workers at their respective companies as having good work-life balance.
What conclusions can we draw from this data? Companies that want to retain their tech pros can consider benefits that encourage work-life balance, such as flexible schedules and telecommuting. Perks that alleviate issues with pay, commuting, and housing could also boost employee morale as a whole.