More than a third of tech professionals plan on searching for a new employer in 2017, according to a new survey by Spiceworks.
The survey also found that, while 61 percent of tech pros feel “appreciated” by their current employer, nearly as many (59 percent) also think they’re underpaid. Many are planning to jump to a new job to either advance their current skills or land a more competitive salary.
“Many IT professionals believe they’re underpaid and their department is underfunded,” Peter Tsai, IT analyst at Spiceworks, wrote in a statement accompanying the data. “This is leading many tech professionals to take advantage of the favorable job market expected next year.”
How solid is the job market at the moment? Tech unemployment hit 2.8 percent in the third quarter of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s not only low (compare it to the overall U.S. labor market, where the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent), but also a slight improvement from the third quarter of 2015, when the rate stood at 3.0 percent.
That low unemployment rate suggests a robust tech economy, as does the consistently high rate of voluntary quits throughout 2016. According to recent JOLTS data from the BLS, some 577,000 tech professionals voluntarily left their positions in August, the last month for which we have data; that’s up from 565,000 in July.
Analysts and pundits view a higher rate of voluntary quits as a sign of robust economic health. According to that theory, workers who feel better about the state of the economy are more likely to leave their current jobs in search of better opportunities. When the industry is down in the dumps, conversely, they’re less inclined to jettison the safety of a consistent paycheck in order to hunt for jobs.
Dice’s most recent Salary Survey found that 39 percent of tech pros intended to change employers in 2016. That’s comparable to what Spiceworks found in its own survey, suggesting that the impulse to jump jobs has remained relatively consistent throughout the year.