Michelle P. 15 Mar 2017 Viewed 1302 Times Viewed by 971 people

Retention is always a concern for employers but especially now in the current competitive marketplace. Companies do employ different retention strategies but wouldn’t it help to understand what makes employees happy and devise strategies based on that?


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It is a known fact that unemployment rates in IT are always lower than national average resulting in stiff competition for software professionals. Hence, knowing what makes IT pros happy will be valuable information for businesses.

Spiceworks did just that. They conducted a survey of nearly 1300 IT professionals to identify and rank factors linked to job satisfaction. Spiceworks found that 64% IT job seekers were planning to look for another job in 2017 to earn a more competitive salary.

Money is definitely a major part of the decision making process regarding a new job. But is money the one and only reason for their happiness? What could be other factors and what would top the list?

Results show factors such as vacation time, telecommuting and work hours definitely play a role in satisfaction levels but topping the list is quality of relationships with coworkers. 61% respondents stated that how well they get along with their managers, peers and users is a top driver of job satisfaction.

Though relationships topped the list, good money also played an important role. Survey results showed that stress and monetary compensation tied for the second place. It is widely accepted that money is the only reason for changing jobs but IT pros have recognized that money alone cannot buy happiness but it can surely help.

Good relationships doesn’t sound very different from what most people desire in their personal lives as well. Sound relationships sometimes help to tide over other challenges. At work, congenial atmosphere translates to less back-stabbing, more cooperation, more laughter, effective team work and problem solving, higher productivity and most important of all less stress. Who would not want such a work environment? This can be a big motivation factor that could make professionals think twice before looking for another job.

What are the other reasons that affect happiness at work?

As mentioned earlier, money bagged the second place. In some cases, salary is number one reason for their satisfaction and happiness. But survey findings were interesting. Spiceworks data implied that IT pros in smaller companies are happier even though their salaries are almost 8% less than those in large enterprises. This proves money is not everything where job satisfaction is concerned.

IT pros are happy in an environment where there is less stress, small teams, great rapport with everyone, where management listens, considers IT as a partner and takes their recommendations seriously and provides a sense of making a contribution.

Job Titles

Spiceworks’ results also indicate that job title influences stress levels and happiness. Higher the responsibility, higher is the stress level. This is true of all professions. But Spiceworks’ survey was with respect to IT positions and their findings are:

  • Director title or higher are the most stressed - 54% reported being stressed to extremely stressed.  
  • IT managers - 44% reported similar levels of stress.
  • Network and Systems Administrators – only 28% indicated being stressed to extremely stressed.
  • Help Desk Technicians – only 21% reported similar levels of stress

Interesting fact is that though the Directors experienced highest level of stress, they were also found to be the happiest group. High stress does not necessarily mean unhappiness. The Directors were happier perhaps because of the responsibilities they held. They found their work more rewarding because they were in command, were helping others to grow in their careers, and were also paid more than their coworkers. All of which might offset any decline in overall happiness due to stress. 

Size of The Company

Another factor was size of the company in influencing happiness.

According to the survey results, the percentages of employees reported being happy to extremely happy was as follows:

  •       Small companies with fewer than 100 employees: 66% of IT workers
  •   Medium-sized businesses (company size between 100-999 employees):  approximately 62% of tech workers
  •       Large companies with more than 1,000 employees: only 55% of IT pros

This is because in smaller companies, it is often easier to build relationships with coworkers and work as a team where everyone contributes to the success of the organization. In bigger companies, it is not possible to have personal relationships with everyone, and cohesiveness is lacking.  

Based on this data, one can conclude that job satisfaction and happiness is not based on a single factor but is determined by a combination of different factors.

Even though relationships with coworkers topped the list in influencing happiness at the workplace, not all IT pros will agree and each one may have a different reason or combination of reasons that contributes to their satisfaction and happiness.

This survey provides insights into factors that contribute to happiness at work and the type (size) of companies that may be more conducive in providing that environment.

Software engineers can then based on their own combination of factors target the right type of companies where they can build a career. Moreover survey results also provide some guidelines to employers to design their strategies to retain tech professionals. 



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