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Vast majority of Gen Z tech workers say they’d consider new career opportunities

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About 90% of Gen Z tech workers under age 25 in North America would consider new career opportunities in 2024, according to a May 8 report from Lorien, a global tech recruitment firm, prompting fears of a brain drain. 

In a survey of tech workers in North America, the youngest group also voiced the least satisfaction, with only 13% saying they’re happy in their current role.

“Our data should be a wake-up call for tech employers because it shows a concerning level of dissatisfaction among permanent and contractor talent,” Ryan McMahon, president of Lorien in North America, said in a statement. “Dramatic changes in the tech labor market during the past two years have given workers whiplash in terms of available job opportunities and rewards, so it’s quite natural to see this level of angst.”

To create a successful workforce strategy, leaders should listen to and understand what in-demand workers in AI, cloud and cybersecurity fields desire and expect in their jobs, according to the report. When asked about their motivations for a job change, 24% of North American tech workers said they wanted to learn new technologies, followed by 17% seeking career progression and 12% aiming to escape a negative company culture.

When considering priorities in a new job, 21% of North American tech workers said they’d want a job that offers career growth, followed by 18% looking for a flexible schedule and 16% searching for a better salary.

In a 2022 survey, 80% or more of tech workers said they thought about leaving, reaching as high as 95% at certain companies, according to a report from Blind. Employees at financial services and consulting companies were most likely to say they wanted to leave, citing burnout, toxic culture and a desire for better compensation.

While the market has changed since then for tech jobs, 95% of tech leaders surveyed recently said they’re facing challenges with hiring top talent, according to a Robert Half report. HR pros should create defined hiring and retention plans to ensure these talent challenges don’t hinder projects and business priorities, the report suggested.

In April, the national unemployment rate for tech jobs dropped to 2.8%, according to CompTIA. Nearly half of active openings didn’t specifically require a four-year degree, which was particularly notable for certain positions, including network support specialists, IT support specialists and network and systems administrators.

Employers can consider talent pools they aren’t currently using or focusing on right now. For instance, Black tech workers are likely to spend more time job searching than their peers, according to Info-Tech Research Group data, and they’re less likely to receive promotions or career advancement opportunities, even with similar experience levels. Leaders can deploy a layered strategy to both fill skills gaps and foster an inclusive culture by offering mentorship and sponsorship programs, training and employee resource groups.

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