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Fewer tech, engineering leaders to increase headcount; salary no longer top concern: Modis

January 17, 2019

Decision-makers report opportunities for advancement, company impact and out-of-the box benefits have increased in importance to workers, beating out competitive salary as a top concern, according to according to the Technology and Engineering Workplace Trends survey by Modis, an IT and engineering staffing and solutions division of The Adecco Group, and General Assembly, an Adecco-owned training firm focused on IT skills.

The survey found 67% decision-makers plan to increase headcount in 2019, down from 79% in 2018. And when it comes to hiring candidates with the appropriate technical skill sets, 41% of decision-makers within technology and engineering fields indicated it’s becoming more difficult to find the top talent they need.

The research surveyed 1,006 decision-makers in technology and engineering on issues pertaining to recruitment and benefits, employer challenges and other workplace trends.

When assessing candidates for open roles, respondents reported that, on average, 43% of candidates lack the technical skills required for the role. Additionally, soft skills continue to be a concern for hiring managers when looking for the competencies that ensure workers are ready to succeed in the technology and engineering workforce; 23% of respondents said communication is the most difficult soft skill to find in candidates.

In last year’s survey, 55% of decision makers agreed with the statement “workers expect a salary that aligns with the market average for their role,” compared to 63% in 2019, indicating the importance of salary has not changed, but that many employers understand the need for competitive pay in order to secure these specialized workers.

Career advancement opportunities and out-of-the-box benefits have increased in importance, according to respondents. When asked to rank the most important benefits for attracting and retaining talent, the opportunity to advance narrowly beat out competitive salary and raises. The ability to innovate and create new products, projects or ideas ranked third. When examining the responses by generation, millennial and Gen Z decision-makers collectively ranked the ability to create change within a company second. Unlike their millennial counterparts, Gen Z respondents chose the opportunity to work on a world-changing product as the third-most important benefit, leaving salary and raises in fourth place. Boomers were the only group to rank salary and raises above career advancement.

More than half of decision-makers, 56%, agreed that workers in their field are more concerned about out-of-the-box benefits than salary. When asked about what benefits were most appealing to their employees or potential employees, 39% chose flex-hours, while just 6% picked tuition reimbursement. Flex-hours were the most commonly selected out-of-the-box benefit in both technology and engineering fields, and across generational lines.

When asked which of the following aspects of diversity their field struggles with the most, 43% of decision-makers surveyed cited age and more than a quarter of respondents, 29%, chose gender. These results suggest that additional advocacy and awareness-building are needed to close diversity gaps in these fields, especially as industry data points to a lack of women and people of color in technology and engineering positions, according to the research.

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