Millennials, Facing Lower Pay, Consider Job-Jumping

How happy are tech pros about their careers?

According to new data from Spiceworks, some 70 percent of tech pros are feeling pretty satisfied with their jobs—but 63 percent of them think they’re underpaid. “When looking at the data by generation, it’s evident that millennial IT pros, who are more likely to work in entry-level roles, are more dissatisfied with their compensation than Gen X and baby boomers,” the company wrote in a research note accompanying the data, “which echoes millennial salary complaints from similar studies that aren’t limited to just IT professionals.”

(Spiceworks conducted its survey, which included 2,163 respondents from North America and Europe, in November 2017. It defines ‘Millennials’ as born between 1981 and 1997, ‘Generation X’ as born between 1965 and 1980, and Baby Boomers as those born between 1946 and 1964.)

Millennials are making 30 percent less than their Generation X colleagues, according to the survey data. They’re also making 40 percent less than Baby Boomers, many of whom have reached the earnings peak of their careers. There’s nothing surprising about those percentages: Millennials have been in the workforce for fewer years, and thus haven’t climbed the corporate ladder quite as high as their older peers.

As a group, Millennials face a number of challenges. A McKinsey study from earlier this year, for example, featured employers complaining about a lack of skilled applicants for entry-level job vacancies: “There were gaps in technical skills such as STEM subject degrees but also in soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and punctuality.” A similar study from PayScale found that recent graduates needed to improve their “soft skills,” not to mention their writing proficiency.

Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to count out Millennials, especially as they begin to ascend into management roles. “I think we’ve begun stereotyping the Millennial generation without having any real empirical research that tells us there’s something unique about this particular generation,” Danny Nelms, president of The Work Institute, told Dice earlier this year. “I think all young workers have had challenges related to soft skills. I don’t think Millennials are any different than any predecessor generation.”

Spiceworks found that Millennials are more inclined to jump to new jobs, with 36 percent planning to search out and/or accept a new position in 2018. That’s a bit ahead of Generation X’ers (at 32 percent) and quite a bit more than Baby Boomers (23 percent). What does that suggest? Millennials generally like their jobs, but they’re underpaid—and many are on the lookout for more lucrative opportunities.

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15 Responses to “Millennials, Facing Lower Pay, Consider Job-Jumping”

  1. The only way to really get ahead is to jump early and jump often, especially in the tech business.

    Nobody in management respects people that stay longer than a year or two, because it’s really about how much you cost, not about your actual value and what you contribute. Managment is obsessed with your cost and they need to extract as much code from your brain as possible. Failure to code like a good code monkey and you’re out. So code a lot but move on when you want, forget about all that career nonsense that Dice and other job sites push, along with pushing you for more education–all these things are here to satisfy fragile management egos that bruise way too easily, and perpetuate myths about careers. The tech industry is no longer about careers but simply gigs. Jump early and jump often. Management will think you’re weak if you don’t, because they’re only interested in the cost not the value of your work. With that in mind you are the captain of your own ship, not the puppet of sociopaths who see you only as something to extract the best years of your life from.

    You don’t owe any company your loyalty, especially when most companies think of you as an expendable resource, like a battery or cattle, easily replaced by anybody else–no consideration for your actual work effort or value, or uniqueness. You’re just a wage slave brought in to do the work–and most of your managers won’t remember you after you leave. They just don’t give a shit.

    Jump jobs all you want. Do it. The industry likes to play head games and get you to believe that they don’t need you. But they need YOU more than you need them. Especially now with the abundance of dumb, stupid managers that only want to babysit and obsess over their bonuses.

  2. known associate

    I must admit that Tim’s assessment is perfectly accurate. I’ve been an IT Support Analyst for the past 18 years…the past 8 of which were working at Computer Science Corporation. They were slave-drivers…cutting time off of our breaks, cutting our lunch-in half. Forced to work early and stay late. Faster ,faster, more, more more…always faster and more! And then one day out of the blue BAM! Over a hundred people canned, including loyal managers who’d slaved there for 15 and 30 years! You work your tail off as a devoted employee, thinking your contributing to your future. Yet these money hungry corporations have absolutely zero loyalty towards the loyal employees responsible for making the company successful in the first place.

    Tim’s truthful, honest advice is what was once known as “the cold hard truth”. A person with insight will heed his warning and take these words of wisdom to the bank when he states…”You don’t owe any company your loyalty, especially when most companies think of you as an expendable resource, like a battery or cattle, easily replaced by anybody else–no consideration for your actual work effort or value, or uniqueness. You’re just a wage slave brought in to do the work–and most of your managers won’t remember you after you leave. They just don’t give a shit.”

    Rodney Dangerfield said it best when he said…”Look out for number 1…just don’t step in number 2!”

  3. Loyalty is the biggest mistake an employee can make. Nate Viall & Associates was a company which did salary surveys of AS/400 employees. He analyzed salaries by region, gender, type of industry, etc. One time he mentioned how longevity at one company had a negative effect on salary. And I quote, “Companies continue to reward job hoppers and punish loyal employees.” That was very true for me. Unfortunately, it took a few years of being a loyal employee before I woke up and realized how stupid I was for being loyal to my employer.

  4. I agree about job hopping to get ahead especially when some companies are giving you a raise of $1000 while you worked hard for them. But, on the flip side, you have interviewers asking why are you jumping around, gosh, you’ve only been at your current job for 2 years. So, you can’t win either way. Just have a valid reason other than money for your desire to change jobs.

    And, don’t ever take a job strictly for money as they rarely work out. There’s a reason why a company has to pay more than other companies for their resources and you will find that reason out the 1st week on the job!

    I do have to say to the Millennials, stop whining. Companies have kept salaries lower than they should be for a long time by outsourcing and making 1 resource do the job of 3. Salaries in some areas of America do not even keep up with the cost of living. The good news for you is that you probably have a current skill set that will get you the next position with a salary jump.

    • I like how you took this article as ‘stop whining millennials.’ Says more about your generation than mine, that the article that points out the differences in difficulties in my generation is seen as ‘whining.’ Either you are a baby boomer that took advantage of robust economic policies and turned around and voted against them, or a gen X that took advantage of your parents advantage.

      Your advice is very outdated, I have hopped a job every year for the past four years, and never ONCE did a recruiter or hiring manager ask about the length of time I was at one position. They care more about the reason, and I have honestly responded with ‘because it was a better opportunity.’

    • If you get the “you’re a job hopper” attitude in the conversation, your response should be simply, “Yes, I’m building my portfolio of experience by working in a wide variety of environments and businesses.”.

      Good people are hard to find and the more hard-won-real-life experience you have only makes you more valuable to employers that value your experience. Of course if you’re interviewing for a gig as a contractor, there’s probably some industrial-age biases that some employees have because they still live under the myths that your loyalty or lack of loyalty to other companies will somehow prove true with your new employer, and now, somehow, simply based on past loyalty tests they see that you may not be loyal–which again is illogical–but this is why I say that management today is majorly fucked up.

      The current crop of managers I see everywhere I go push illogical, irrelevant thought into the hiring process, and completely miss the fact that anybody with more than 1 year of IT experience cannot understand this illogical nonsense coming from hiring managers–we look at you like you’re apes.

      Management that tries to use illogical thought when conversing with programmers and tech people cannot understand why we hate you, but it’s because we see through your bullshit.

      If you’re a good coder, and can create an application, do it and exit the tech business as quickly as you can–or at least run your own show. Corporate America is only interested in one thing: cost. Take your skill up to the next level from employee to owning your own application software company, and never look back. Then you won’t need to job hop at all, and you can tell corporate america et al to go fuck themselves… they can hire all the goddam H1-Bs, or just leave the country like IBM, and have at it, and continue to produce shit products that only other shit companies will buy and repair with more H1-Bs.

  5. Charity Zalasar

    I agree that an employees loyalty doesn’t mean much-but I am speaking in terms of larger corporations. They really do not care. I think in smaller, private companies (like a private practice Physicians office) loyalty IS valued. So it depends on the setting.

  6. DRUC-H1-B:
    The Democrats and Republicans both screwed the millennials by their unholy alliance (DRUC-H1-B) to import millions of cheap indentured servants — H1-B’s. Millennial’s colleges screwed them by never making them take Econ 101, where they would learn about supply and demand: If the government brings in millions of cheap foreign workers to pay back tech companies for their contributions $$$, the millennial will not get a good salary.They think 70-100K is good because thier buddies with english majors are not making that, butI made that in the 90’s. If is was not for DRUC-H1-B they would be making 150K right out of school.

  7. EntropyAnn

    Survey the company when you arrive and show loyalty and drive commensurate to your position it. The rot is spread thick in this society at present. Managers are primarily interested in reducing costs in the short term and unwilling and/or unwilling to engage in long term planning. We’ve been dancing in a shrinking circle of musical chairs for a while. Don’t let ethically and emotionally challenged individuals compromise your present and future wellbeing.

  8. Loyalty is important and valued. Never forget that. A company has to EARN that loyalty before you can be affected for not displaying it. If a company fails to earn your loyalty, then that should be nothing more than a sentence in your interview to address loyalty concerns, dropped quickly like a dirty diaper in the trash and forgotten just as fast.

  9. On the flip side of the comments above, I think there is a lot to say for putting in time and investing yourself with a job for a bit at least.

    I’m a sales manager at a large tech company so. All of my employees are under 26. I can’t say what things are like on the IT side like most of you. In my world, from a results stanpoint, I want reps who will stay to learn both their own and their customer’s business and raise their skill level so they can put all that to use where they are instead of for a competitor. I see the value of their work, not just their producticity.

    I also see it as part of my job to help my employees advance both financially and professionally so I fight for the best pay and commission rates I can get them while developing them for the next step they want to take. Helping them helps me but more so, I love being able to help people succeed.

    I realize it’s probably a different world than the code side of things and I have certainly had managers like those described above but I try to be more like the mangers I’ve had who invested in me.

    Just my two cents.

  10. I come from healthcare. I had a worldly professor for one of my masters classes that spoke words of wisdom that have stuck with me: In order to move up, you have to move out. I’ve found these words to be very true. Although I do try not to jump ship too quickly. I’d love nothing more than to find my forever home and work there for the next 30-40 years until I retire. The problem I’ve found is that they squeeze us. Our salaries start lower. I know for a fact that I started out making $5,000 less than the man I replaced, because as a manager I have access to the budgets. That was incredibly frustrating to discover, and I felt as if it was all about how little they could pay me, which I understand but still felt cheated. And yes I have less experience in the field that the man I replaced but I also struggle with the fact that I am doing the exact job he is but not getting paid the same.

    And unlike the business world, most of healthcare is non-profit so the raises are piddly. 3% last year, 2.5% this year. They hardly keep up with inflation let alone the annual increase to benefits costs like health insurance. Bring a manager I know that these raises are dictated by corporate and there’s nothing my supervisors can do to adjust them. Last week I told them I had accepted an opportunity elsewhere. They didn’t bother trying to offer anything to keep me. They knew they couldn’t. Even though I’m very good at what I do and at least one member of my staff cried when she heard the news, their hands are tied.

    I learned after 7 years at my first job that I will stay somewhere until I get bored. Then I find another job that’s more challenging and is work that I find appealing. In my first job I learned that if you do something well and do extra work on top of it, you’ll never get promoted because they get the extra work for free. No rewards for me except a pat on the head. And when I needed my company the most, their policies time me exactly where I fit in their world. After I returned from maternity leave and my cold started day care, I got sick a lot for the first six months of his attendance. This is a very normal occurrence for new parents. Kid starts day care, mom and dad get sick, kid gets sick a lot. My employer would not flex to keep me. The policy states so many absences and after a couple warnings, you’re fired. I had gotten my first warning. I said what about all the doctor’s notes? I’m not making up my sicknesses. Their response? Oh there’s no such thing as an excused absence.

    Seriously? So I could get in a car accident and that’s my final warning?? My child or husband winds up in the hospital and you will fire me for that??
    Yes. The policy is black and white.

    I found my new job on record speed and left. It was a big jump in responsibilities which I loved and a good jump in pay which was well overdue.

    Related to this problem of inflexible policies is that employers don’t take care of their employees like they used to. There used to be these magical things called pensions. You would work for a company for decades and be rewarded for your loyalty by a paycheck every month for the rest of your life after you retired. You take care of the company for your working years, and the company takes care of you in your golden years. Those are becoming fewer and fewer as time goes by.

    What did they think would happen when you stopped such a powerful incentive? They further slash other benefits and make employees shoulder more and more of the cost for “benefits” and reduce our time off or discourage us from taking it. This is the new reality. Companies are more loyal to the money gods and shareholders. They’ve started to see employees as replaceable and disposable. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Millennials and loyal, won’t stay. Well when I see that the generation before me is getting a pension that I don’t have a chance of getting, why would I stay for your annual 3% when my health insurance is taking half of that “raise”.

    I apologise for the rant but I got to sit through a rant about millennials at a board of governors meeting last week, and I dutifully kept my mouth shut. As the only millennial in that room in a middle management role, I know they didn’t want to hear the truth. They just wanted to complain about the next generation.

    Final word on the matter: loyalty goes both ways.