Amidst COVID-19 Lockdown, Technologists Optimistic

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant portion of technologists worked remotely at least some of the time. Now, with cities and states across the country on lockdown, many more are figuring out how to get work done while isolated at home

For a better sense of how technologists are weathering this crisis, Dice has launched the COVID-19 Sentiment Survey, which probes everything from remote workloads to employees’ opinions on how their companies are handling COVID-19. When exploring the data, we’ve largely focused on full-time employees. 

Using the COVID-19 Sentiment Survey, we’ll follow these trends over the next several weeks and months; for this first edition, here are some particularly interesting data points that we’ve surfaced during the survey’s initial weeks:   

Do you like working from home during COVID-19? 

In a word: Yes. It seems that most employees like working from home, which should come as no surprise—months before the pandemic erupted, Dice’s Salary Report revealed that 93 percent of technologists wanted to work from home at least part of the time. Granted, the nationwide lockdowns mean that an overwhelming majority of technologists are now working from home all the time, but that hasn’t seemed to dampen enthusiasm for getting work done from a kitchen or bedroom office.   

How much has your workload increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Technologists are seeing their workloads increasing. This is also no surprise: During the early stages of this crisis, companies in every industry are scrambling to figure out how to adjust their technology stacks to account for this “new normal.”  

As indicated by the latest Dice Job Report, it’s clear that companies are learning on technologists in a variety of disciplines to see them through, including cybersecurity and systems engineers, database administrators, and help desk technicians. Combined, these technologists must ensure that employees are prepared for remote work, that systems are stable and secure, and that mission-critical apps and services (such as e-commerce portals) are operating at peak efficiency. 

How impressed have you been with your company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic for its employees? 

Full-time employees have been really impressed with their companies’ response to the COVID-19 epidemic, which is heartening. It suggests that many firms’ backups and contingency plans went online smoothly, and that company executives have expressed concrete plans for moving forward in this time of uncertainty. Hopefully this sentiment is maintained in the coming weeks and months; employers that maintain strong, consistent operations throughout this early period will no doubt continue to earn their workers’ trust for years to come. 

How much job security do you have? 

Although nationwide unemployment is high, full-time employees are feeling reasonably good about their job security. Again, this speaks to the importance of technologists at this crucial juncture: While disciplines such as cybersecurity and data science have always been key to a company’s operations, they’re needed more than ever to ensure that everything runs smoothly. How this sentiment evolves over the following weeks and months will be interesting to watch. 

Have you already, or do you plan to start looking for a new job in the next two weeks? 

Nearly three-quarters of full-time employees have no plans to search for a new job—which makes sense, given the uncertain environment. Of the remaining portion, it’s possible that many employers’ desperate need for certain types of technologists is encouraging them to consider a big career move (and, if they launch a job hunt, a lot of video interviewing). That’s also logical; if a company that needs to harden its systems is willing to pay top dollar for your cybersecurity skills, you’ll certainly consider that offer, no matter how unprecedented the broader economic situation. 

According to Dice’s 2020 Salary Report, around 38 percent of surveyed technologists said they would change employers this year, down 45 percent year-over-year. If we treat that number as a baseline, then the COVID-19 pandemic may well have persuaded a larger percentage of technologists to stick with their current employer. As with the other data-points in this survey, we’ll keep an eye on this one to see if it changes over the next while.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed what you think is important in a job? 

It’s a bit of a cliché that a crisis forces a change in thinking, but in this case, it seems to be true: With technologists across the country now forced to work from home, and often dealing with radically altered goals and strategies, there seems to be a widespread reconsideration of what matters. (For this chart, we’ve considered all workers in addition to those employed full-time, including part-time workers and contractors.)  

For instance, technologists seem to value remote work, company leadership, and job security more than they did before; but many don’t see “challenging work” as more important than before (perhaps because even relatively straightforward workflows have an added element of challenge now). More than half also consider work-life balance more important—a key thing to keep an eye on as technologists wrestle with changed work and family dynamics.  

Solid leadership during this period can help ensure that technologists’ concerns about work-life balance, salary, and other vital matters are addressed. Fortunately, it seems that our respondents were generally positive about their management’s response.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed how connected you feel to others? 

The pandemic has left many technologists feeling less connected to colleagues, friends, and family. Working from home can prove incredibly isolating, and it’s important to communicate, build (and maintain) a routine, and make sure that you do whatever it takes to give yourself a much-needed psychological boost.