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More than half of all young tech workers are considering changing career

More than a third also reported being unhappy in their role, suggesting a looming crisis for the UK's tech-heavy economy

Over half of young tech workers (54%) in Europe are considering a change of career plan while over a third (35%) are unhappy in their role.

Those surveyed under 30 years of age blamed poor management and a clear lack of progression for job dissatisfaction, but there are signs that increasing concern over redundancies is also playing a significant role.

A total of 30% of the 20-30 years olds surveyed said their current job is falling below their expectations and leading to poor job satisfaction, with the younger age bracket, between 20 and 25, being most affected. Only 30% said they would recommend their workplace to friends or family.

The research examined the ambitions and fears of more than 2,000 Gen Z and younger millennial tech workers. Participants were selected from startups and enterprises across France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK, including both technical and non-technical roles from engineering to C-Suite positions.

Most workers in the UK, Ireland, and France reported feeling their job doesn’t match expectations, according to the study commissioned by global venture fund Eight Roads. In France, 19% said their job exceeded expectations, while 23% in Ireland and 27% in England said their job exceeded expectations.

However, only 54% of young people in the UK said they planned to stay in their current role this year or for the foreseeable future. According to the researchers, this suggests a looming crisis for the UK economy which has seen the greatest investment in tech and startups in the last decade.

UK findings were also damning when it came to career development. One in five young people in UK tech said they have no clear career path where they currently work, one in ten say their current company does not support their career development, and almost one in three would join a company that provided more concrete support for their career. 

Measures which would encourage the unhappy employees to stay in their roles included better career progression (37%), an increase in salary (34%), and a contract that protected them against layoffs (18%).

Meanwhile, workers in Germany and France were found to have the highest levels of job satisfaction, with 30% of German workers ranking their experience at work at nine or ten, and 57% of French workers scoring between seven and eight. In Germany, 80% of young people also said their work/life balance was just right, or better than expected. 

The survey said this could be attributed to Germany offering the widest range of working hours and models, and is indicative of the reason why 75% of German workers plan to remain in their jobs for the rest of 2022, or the foreseeable future. 

“The results suggest that today’s young people are prioritising compensation and security partly due to the cost of living crisis, but poor relationships with managers coupled with unsatisfactory pay, and unclear career opportunities means a quarter are seriously considering leaving their roles within a year,” said Ronni Zehavi, co-founder and CEO at HiBob.

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“These findings suggest young people in tech have lost faith in their employers and the tech industry’s big promises. Responsible employers should take this as a warning and listen to their concerns or risk losing the best and brightest.”

The survey also found that flexible hours were the most valued workplace condition among young people, with one in four joining their current company due to a flexible working model. However, one in five said that lack of time in the office and the opportunity to build relationships was one of the things they liked the least about their role.

Nearly half (49%) said their immediate team and co-workers were what they liked most about their company, while poor relationships with their managers were their biggest dislike.

Additionally, one in four respondents is thinking of quitting their current job despite the cost of living crisis. Workers in the UK, Sweden, Ireland, and the Netherlands are particularly fearful they will be laid off. In Europe, 27% of young tech workers think they could be fired in the current economic downturn, while in the UK the figure is 37% and in Sweden 33%.

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