How Technologist Feel About the COVID-19 Lockdown

As the COVID-19 lockdown continues, technologists continue to navigate their career and work while isolated at home. Many employers, accordingly, have adjusted their policies, tech infrastructure and workflows to accommodate this new reality.

Throughout this rapid change to how businesses fundamentally operate and hire, it’s worth considering how technologists’ attitudes toward working from home are changing. Dice has begun collecting ongoing information in the COVID-19 Sentiment Survey, which aims to provide a continuous view into technologists’ opinions on everything from their remote workloads to their sense of job security.

Our week 1 data found that technologists were generally optimistic despite the lockdown. With this second edition of the COVID-19 Sentiment Survey, which captured data two weeks later, we can begin to chart how these attitudes are evolving. Here are the questions we’ve been asking. 

Do you like working from home during COVID-19?  

The good news: A majority of technologists continue to like working from home. Indeed, the number of those who most-disliked working from home—already small to begin with—decreased from 3.6 percent to 2.1 percent (that’s a 40.6 percent drop) between the two reporting periods of our survey (which were two weeks apart).  

Meanwhile, the percentage of those who most liked working from home fell only slightly during our reporting period. What does this all mean? While it’s still relatively early in this crisis, it seems that technologists are generally comfortable with their home setup. 

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

Between our two reporting periods, the percentages of technologists reporting an increased workload remained relatively steady; in fact, number of those reporting the most increase in their workload (i.e., those at “5”) decreased by 9.3 percent.  

During “week 2” (i.e., the second reporting period), the majority of respondents (66.3 percent) either experienced no additional increase in workload or a somewhat moderate increase. That’s only a slight jump from week 1’s stats. Roughly a third of technologists, meanwhile, experienced an additional increase in workload, down a bit. It will be interesting to see whether these trends hold in subsequent weeks, or we see a decrease in those with radically increased workloads as companies more fully adjust to this new paradigm. 

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

In general, technologists remain very impressed with how their companies have adjusted to the circumstances brought on by COVID-19. While those most-impressed has declined somewhat over the past few weeks, the percentage of those somewhat unimpressed (i.e., a “2”) also declined.  

It’s worth noting that the percentage of those who we might call “moderately impressed” (i.e., those in the “3” and “4” categories) rose significantly. Whatever companies are doing, many are clearly on the right track in the eyes of their workers. 

How much job security do you have?  

It’s inevitable that frightening headlines (Uber may lay off 20 percent of its workforce; Lyft has already laid off 17 percent) would have an impact on how technologists feel about their job security, even if they’re some of the most vital employees within their organizations. The percentage of those who felt more insecure about their jobs rose slightly between our surveys, while the percentage of respondents who feel very secure dropped faintly. 

However, it’s important to note that companies are still hiring for many technologist positions, including engineers and developers, and that infrastructure and apps must be maintained and adjusted. It’s okay to feel apprehensive; but many technologists are also in a better position than they might assume. 

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

More technologists plan on looking for a new job in the next two weeks, if they haven’t started searching already—some 31.1 percent fell into that category, versus 27.3 percent during our first reporting period. But the bulk of respondents still intend to hold in place. 

What’s behind the increasing percentage of technologists seeking a new job? As we pointed out with the results for week 1, there’s always the possibility that companies are desperate to hire cybersecurity specialists, data scientists, and others who can help them navigate through this uncertain environment (and defend against threats); those companies are presumably willing to pay top dollar for the talent they need. Technologists who recognize that need might be inclined to seek better offers out there. 

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

As the COVID-19 crisis grinds on, technologists’ perceptions of what’s truly important is changing. For example, 72.5 percent of technologists reported during our latest survey update that they found remote work more important—a significant rise from the 66.7 percent who thought so during week 1.  

Company benefits, salary, job security, work-life balance, and their company’s COVID-19 response also saw significant increases in importance. As technologists settle into their new, remote-centric workflows, they want to make sure that the fundamentals of their jobs—including their pay, and an optimized schedule—are firmly in place.

Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center, which aims to provide the tech community with the best, most up-to-date information on the novel coronavirus.