Tech professionals know that avoiding Silicon Valley altogether may result in a higher salary; in up-and-coming tech hubs around the country, companies are more than happy to pay top dollar (with generous perks) for pros with the right combination of skills and experience.
Now, a new study by Spiceworks suggests another reason for tech pros to explore as many employment options as possible: those at smaller companies might be quantifiably happier. According to that study, at companies with over 1,000 employees, only 55 percent of tech-related workers consider themselves happy. Compare that to medium-size companies (100-999 employees), which have a 62 percent happiness rating among IT pros, and small businesses (less than 100 employees), which check in at 66 percent. That’s a significant increase.
Those happiness ratings have two direct correlations: stress and co-worker relationships. Some 39 percent of tech pros at large companies report being stressed, which drops to 30 percent for workers at small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Unfortunately, Spiceworks also says a drop in a stress level carries slightly less pay, with tech pros at SMBs making eight percent less than their counterparts at big companies. As you might imagine, that also means those at smaller companies report being unhappy with their pay more than those at a Google or Facebook might.
Above all, co-worker relationships are of greatest concern to tech pros. A healthy 61 percent say their relationships with co-workers have the largest impact on happiness, with other factors such as pay and stress having 53 percent of IT pros worried.
Promotions, however predictably, lead to spikes in happiness. IT directors rate the highest in this particular category, with some 70 percent report being happy in their positions. Meanwhile, only 54 percent of IT managers say they’re happy where they are. Network administrators and help desk technicians are the happy medium (pun intended), with 64 percent saying they like their jobs.
Promotions and raises come with baggage, though. An alarming 54 percent of IT directors say they’re “highly stressed,” which drops to 44 percent for IT managers. Twenty-eight percent of network administrators and 21 percent of help desk staff say the same.
“Although IT directors are the most stressed, they might feel their work is more rewarding because they’re often calling the shots and growing the careers of others, which might offset any decline in overall happiness due to stress,” said Peter Tsai, IT analyst at Spiceworks. “Ultimately, it’s clear happiness in IT is driven by a variety of factors and doesn’t hinge on one single variable like stress or money.”
For hiring managers and recruiters tasked with recruiting top tech talent for smaller companies, studies like this can prove extraordinarily useful. By arguing that smaller companies offer better work-life balance and co-worker camaraderie, they can potentially pull in tech pros who might otherwise concentrate only on landing a job at larger, better-monetized firms.