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Job hunters in tech no longer lured away by salaries alone

While tech salaries continued to rise across 2022, research shows that purpose, sustainability, and diversity are all equal considerations for workers looking for a new challenge

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Tech workers increasingly view a business' sustainability and overall purpose as equally important factors in choosing their next job alongside salary expectations.

Hays' 2023 UK Salary and Recruitment Trends study showed that the average UK tech salary increased by 7% over the last year.  

Similarly, more than three-quarters (76%) of employers revealed they increased salaries in 2022 and tech jobs continued to pay higher than the UK average.  

But salary considerations aren’t the only key factor for employees now, the study found. Increasingly, workers view sustainability, purpose, and diversity as attractive propositions as many seek opportunities at firms which align with their values.

Sustainability is “coming to the fore in many organisations,” Hays said, and firms recognise its growing importance in creating long-term value and satisfaction for employees.  

Commitments to sustainability were highlighted as an important factor for 78% of employees when searching for a new role. Conversely, however, Hays’ research showed that only 65% of employers believe these commitments are important to help them attract and retain staff.  

Fiona Place, global head of sustainability at Hays, said that issues such as climate change and environmental pollution were “firmly in the spotlight” for employees seeking new roles.  

“Our research shows that employees want to work for organisations that can show their sustainability credentials. Younger generations are even more in tune with this, so failing to show progress towards a green agenda could impact your ability to secure the next generation of professionals,” she said. 

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace  

More than two-thirds (69%) of employees reported that an organisation’s ability to “demonstrate a diverse and inclusive culture” heavily influences their decision to apply for a new role.  

In contrast, however, around one in four (26%) employees voiced concerns over workforce diversity and their respective companies, while 18% said they don’t think their organisation is inclusive.  

This has prompted a shift among employees towards encouraging diversity and expecting this as an inherent cultural staple within their organisation. More than two-thirds (66%) said it's important that organisations implement steps to mitigate bias in the recruitment processes, for example. 

An organisation’s purpose was also highlighted as a key factor for workers seeking new roles, Hays found. Most employees (85%) said purpose was an “important consideration” when assessing a new role.  

This was identified as an even more prevalent factor for those working in the public sector and for younger generations – particularly Gen Z.  

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At a roundtable attended by IT Pro last year, representatives from Dell, Red Hat, and Kyndryl revealed that the continued influx had driven organisational changes and a shift in strategy in the hybrid cloud space.  

Participants revealed that generational shifts had prompted changes with regard to ESG goals, such as the need to reduce energy demand. In fact, the continued onboarding of younger workers had helped embed a stronger focus on ESG among C-suite executives and improved transparency. 

Kevin Poulter, employment partner at national law firm Freeths, told IT Pro that while salaries still remain a critical consideration, recent purpose-based trends present new challenges on how organisations present themselves to prospective employees and attract talent.

“Employees have for some years shown an ever-greater interest in how a company presents itself and behaves in a fast-changing socio-economic, environmental, and political landscape,” he said.

“Although employers should not discount the motivations of salary, benefits, and other financial incentives, they should expect questions about diversity and inclusion, sustainability initiatives, and a company’s response to global issues such as Black Lives Matter, the Me Too movement, and climate change.

“Employees and candidates have built a confidence in challenging employers and turning the tables on recruiters, moving the conversation on from issues of personal impact, such as work/life balance and flexible working,” Poulter added.

Lewis Maleh, executive recruitment expert and CEO of executive search firm Bentley Lewis said purpose and sustainability are key considerations for businesses in 2023. 

“Purpose and sustainability are not only important factors for those seeking new roles, but they are essential considerations for business and society in 2023,” he said. 

“If people hold sustainability and purpose as important values in their personal lives, it’s natural they are going to want a role that prioritises them professionally too.”

Sustainability a ‘key trend’ for 2023 

Hays' insights on views towards organisational purpose and sustainability align with recent research conducted by Gartner on the issue.  

A study from the consultancy firm identified sustainability as a key trend in 2023 as businesses look to reduce their environmental impact, boost employee satisfaction, and attract new talent.  

Sustainability was highlighted as an issue which “traverses all of the strategic technology trends for 2023”, with CEOs reporting that environmental and social changes are now a top-three priority for investors after profit and revenue.  

“This means that executives must invest more in innovative solutions that are designed to address ESG demand to meet sustainability goals,” the consultancy said.  

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