Workers Want Flexibility More Than Higher Pay, Job Security

It’s been called the Great Resignation: Millions of Americans (and more than a few technologists) actively considering whether to leave their current positions and look for a new job this year. With unemployment low, many of these workers feel empowered to strike out for what they want—and the salaries they deserve.

According to a new study by Bankrate (hat tip to CNBC for the link), some 55 percent of Americans said they’ll look for a new job within the next 12 months. What do they want in their next gig? As you can see from the following chart, it’s not all about the money:

Companies that want to retain workers—especially technologists with highly specialized skills—may have to offer hybrid work and flexible schedules. Based on data from Dice’s 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report, 85 percent of technologists find hybrid work extremely desirable. Moreover, 94 percent of younger technologists (i.e., those between 18 and 34 years old) think of a hybrid workplace as either somewhat, very or extremely desirable, compared to 84 percent of those aged 35 and older.

But not all managers are onboard with flexibility. Analyst firm Robert Half recently queried 2,800 senior managers in multiple industries (finance, technology, marketing, legal, and more) and found 22 percent were worried that hybrid work would interfere with team members’ ability to communicate with one another; another 20 percent feared they couldn’t trust employees to “get work done” from home. Slightly fewer (19 percent) thought hybrid work would make it difficult to find enough time for team development. 

That potentially sets things up for a clash between managers and employees. If a technologist wants to work from home two or three days per week (or work remotely full-time), but the manager wants them in the office every day, it could kick off a delicate negotiation. The trick is to explain how a hybrid or remote schedule could make you a more effective and happier team member—but be prepared to potentially make some concessions.