Techies Still Cling To Current Jobs
from the not-really-sure-about-this-economic-pickup... dept
During the bubble years of the late 90s, it often seemed as though people looked down on you if you kept a job for more than a year. Everyone was job hopping, often moving up a level with each hop. However, following the bubble burst and the recession and all those layoffs, it appears techies are still very, very cautious about switching jobs. A new study shows that only 8.9% of tech workers willingly left their jobs last year, which the researcher says is the lowest number since he started the study in the 1980s. On the involuntary side, many should be happy to note that the number of people who left their job via layoffs also has dropped significantly as things seem to be stabilizing. Of course, you could question the study, as it only follows a group of “the world’s best-known tech firms,” which is likely to leave out many startups and other firms where job hopping is more popular.
Comments on “Techies Still Cling To Current Jobs”
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I don’t know about startups in the states, but around here the market for IT people has all but dried up.
I remember once I got in where I am now (a large health care organization in Canada) that while I felt lucky to have a foot in the door (without experience), I was missing out on the great opportunities of the dot.com boom. Many of my friends went to the states, many of my less-skilled but better connected graduates were making substantially more here in startups than I was. 7 years later, I’m still in the same organisation, my salary has almost tripled, my job is (somewhat) secure.
Without exception the people above I’m talking about are either working in fast food or on unemployment (some for more than 2 years).
I think what we’re seeing isn’t so much as a dearth of IT jobs, we’re just seeing the flushing of the dead weight…ie: the ones who got into it for the love of money instead of the love of the work.
Job hopping was good?
Perhaps I’m not as nostaligic for the job hopping days of the 90s (for the record I was never a job hopper and it’s was always somewhat less prevelant in engineering anyway). All I remember was a stream of clueless people who were either using some variation on the “it’s my first day” excuse or knee jerk “change embracers” (who wanted anything but – they wanted everyone else to change so that they would not have to). The other effect was people who would “bet the company” on clearly stupid ideas knowing they would be long gone by the time the effects were felt. I say – embrace stability!
Re: Job hopping was good?
I certainly wasn’t saying it was good. I don’t think it was… I was just pointing out the statistic, and noting just how crazy it was at one point.
Re: Re: Job hopping was good?
Ah, ok. I misunderstood.
I did a lot of job hopping. I started my career as a programmer back in 1996 making less than $20k/year. In a year I jumped to $33k. Less than a year later I jumped to a position making $50k. Six months later I was making $60k in a new job. Stayed at that job for a year or so and jumped to a $70k job.
Then the market tanked. I took a $10k pay cut and went through a few rounds of layoffs and lean times. Now I’ve been at the same job for more than 2 years now making more money than I ever have, and I have no intention of leaving any time soon.
If another bubble arises, I’ll probably stick with this job. As a 35 year old family man, I’d rather stay here and work 40 hours a week, than make another $25k at a startup and work 60+ hours a week.
My wife is also a programmer, and her experiences mirror mine very closely – most of our programmer friends have travelled the same path as well.
Re: Job Hopping
I was in the same boat as you. After graduating as a Programmer in 97 I was able to have my pick of jobs. It wasn’t that I intentionally went looking for other jobs but since I kept my resume up online I got a handful of calls everyday. So I “hopped” each year as I always increased my pay. It turns out that it was good we left the previous jobs as they were dot.coms that no longer exist.
I just turned 30 and I’m happy to be sticking with the current job for the last 4 years. 40 hrs/weeks are great compared to the late nights of old. Although I have some worry about future job market. Just keep up my job skills I guess.
Re: Re: Job Hopping
Also remember that the supply of technical people was small compared to the demand for them at the time. And there was more than just the .coms looking for them. Y2K was another big draw along with the emergence (or progression) of web technologies like xml, asp, jsp, beans, coldfusion, etc. and all those companies who were crazily looking for “B2B” solutions. And don’t forget the headhunters! The technical headhunters were ruthless in those days.
A good percentage of people hopped from one company to the next because of money (lots of consultants), but there were a bunch that hopped for the different challenges that presented themselves once a project was completed. A lot of technical people remind me of the stereotypical surfers, the ones always searching for the best “ride”. But instead of waves, these people are looking for the challenges that technology offers and the companies that can fund the projects.
I’ve been with the same company for eleven years. Five years ago people right out of school were making twice what I was then and almost everybody I knew was laughing at me for being afraid to take the plunge. Most of the people I worked with left to go work for stock options or some insane salary that came with 80+ hour weeks. Some of them call me from time to time, usually to ask if we’re hiring or if anybody else is. A lot of them work at Target, if they have jobs at all.
None of my real programmer friends are having any employment problems right now. I think any programmer with real skills should have no problem finding a decent paying job.
A lot of the people still having such a hard time finding jobs today are people who really didn’t have any technical skills to begin with – managers, marketers, and other low skilled dime-a-dozen workers who just had an undeserved field day during the late 90’s. Those are the kinds of people who made up the BS business plans and got the funding that ultimately burst the bubble in the first place.