by Sarah K. White

6 reasons why IT workers will quit in 2018

News Analysis
Apr 27, 2018
Careers IT Jobs Staff Management

One-third of IT workers have their sights set on a new job this year. But the trick to retaining current staff differs depending on whether youu2019re targeting millennials, Gen Xers or baby boomers.

man looking at exit quit termination
Credit: Thinkstock

IT leaders looking to retain top talent have their work cut out for them this year, as one-third of IT workers are eyeing a new job in 2018, according to the 2018 IT Career Outlook report from Spiceworks.

But the reasons why IT pros are on the hunt for new employment underscore generational differences, Spiceworks found in surveying 2,163 IT workers from North America and Europe. As such, the trick to retaining current staff, or attracting new workers, may differ depending on whether you’re targeting millennials, Gen Xers or baby boomers.

Here are 6 reasons why your IT workers are ready to quit in 2018 — and how generational needs and concerns are impacting your ability to retain them.

IT workers are satisfied, but feel underpaid

Across every generation, job satisfaction is strong, with 70 percent of IT workers saying they are content with their current job. But while they enjoy their careers, nearly two-thirds of IT pros said they aren’t happy with their compensation. By generation, 68 percent of millennials (those born between 1981 to 1997) said they feel underpaid, while 60 percent of Gen Xers (those born between 1965 to 1980) and 61 percent of baby boomers (those born between 1946 to 1964) said the same.

Of those who said they were looking for a new job in 2018, 81 percent of millennials said they wanted to get a higher salary, while 70 percent of Gen Xers and 64 percent of baby boomers said the same. Millennials may be more motivated by salary considering they make an average salary of $50,000 per year. Meanwhile, Gen Xers in IT earn an average of $65,000 per year, while baby boomers average around $70,000 per year.

Some companies are already taking steps to secure their junior workers with a pay raise, as 62 percent of millennials expect to get a raise in 2018 from their current employer and 31 percent expect a promotion. Only 48 percent of Gen Xers and 35 percent of baby boomer respondents said they expect a raise this year, and 16 percent of Gen Xers and 7 percent of baby boomers expect a promotion.

Millennials and Gen Xers want more skills

A common reason for wanting to jump ship to a new job is to learn new skills. Here, millennials are the most likely to leave, as 79 percent said they want to find new jobs to expand their skillsets. Gen Xers are a little more comfortable in the skills they are using in their current roles; still, 63 percent cited a desire to advance their IT skills as a motivation to find a new job. Less than half (49%) of baby boomers said the same.

Of all the IT workers surveyed, 81 percent said security and cybersecurity will be the most important skills in 2018. Networking (80%), infrastructure hardware (79%), end-user devices (76%), storage and backup (75%) and virtualization (62%) were close behind. The least important new skills to lean this year are VOIP and collaboration (24%) and application development and DevOps (15%), according to those surveyed.

Work-life balance

When it comes to seeking a better work-life balance, Gen Xers lead the way, with 43 percent citing this as a reason to find a new job; 39 percent of baby boomers said the same. Millennial workers aren’t as concerned with finding new work to improve work-life balance — only 32 percent cited it as a motivation to find a new job in 2018.

If you’re trying to retain Gen X workers, evaluate the corporate culture to make sure employees feel they can enjoy their lives outside of work. These employees might value flexible work schedules, telecommuting opportunities and other benefits to give them a better sense of balance.

They want IT to be a priority

If your company doesn’t prioritize IT, you might be pushing IT workers out the door. Of the respondents who said they’re looking for a new job, 41 percent of millennials and Gen X workers said they wanted to work for a company that makes IT “more of a priority,” and 34 percent of baby boomers said the same.

If IT workers feel held back in their jobs by bureaucratic red tape, unrealistic budgets or a lack of buy-in from executives, they might look for a company that does value IT. Technology is a top priority for any modern business, so it’s important to make sure your IT department is well-staffed, has realistic budgets and feels respected in the organization.

Baby boomers are burnt out

Burnout is another significant reason to jump ship, with the likelihood of being overworked pushing IT pros to seek a new job increasing as they age.

Millennials are the least burnt out at their jobs — only 30 percent of those looking for a new job said it was because of burnout. Gen X is a little more burnt out, with 35 percent citing it as a reason to find a new job. Baby boomers feel the most overworked — 40 percent of baby boomers looking for a new job in 2018 are trying to escape or avoid burnout in their current role.  

If you have experienced IT workers who have been with the company for years, it might be smart to check in and see how they’re feeling in their role. It’s important to catch employee burnout before it becomes a problem, otherwise you risk pushing your seasoned pros to another company.

Millennials want better benefits and perks

Baby boomers are more satisfied with their corporate benefits — only 26 percent said it was a motivating factor in finding a new IT job and only 13 percent cited better employee perks as a reason they were looking for a new job. Gen X isn’t as motivated by benefits or perks either — only 25 percent want better benefits and 20 percent want better perks.