Technology professionals still feel good about the economy, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Specifically, voluntary quits among tech workers remained high in May, despite a slight decline. In the BLS’s Professional and Business Services (Tech) category, some 534,000 professionals voluntarily quit that month, down from 558,000 in April. Between April and May, an average of 546,000 professionals quit their jobs, down from 557,300 in the first quarter of the year.
That dip in voluntary quits came just as the technology industry’s unemployment rate rose slightly, from 2.0 percent in May to 2.2 percent in June.
Why is a high rate of voluntary quits good? Analysts and economists often treat that number as a sign of economic strength, on the theory that, when professionals choose to leave their positions, they’re doing so to pursue better opportunities. Those pros will feel more confident about heading into the unknown if the economy is good.
In struggling economies, on the other hand, employees are more likely to hunker down in their current positions and not move. Why risk the paycheck from your current job, even if you hate the position?
These days, tech pros with in-demand skills often find migrating between full-time jobs (or freelance gigs) a fairly straightforward process, streamlined by constant demand from companies. In the most recent Dice Salary Survey, some 65 percent of tech pros suggested that they planned on changing employers this year in order to land a higher salary. Other perks—including more responsibility and better work conditions—were cited as job-jumping motivators, as well.
For employers, the high rate of voluntary quits (combined with low unemployment) means continuing pressure to offer highly skilled tech pros the best combination of salary and perks. Doing so will ensure that talent stays onboard for the foreseeable future. But money alone isn’t enough: flexible schedules, interesting projects, and other incentives are also necessary.