What pushes IT staff to resign?

What pushes IT staff to resign? 25th February 2016

Curo conducted research across IT staff to examine the reasons they resign, and what would encourage them to stay. This post is an excerpt from our report titled ‘IT Talent Acquisition – the candidate’s view’.

We thought it would be interesting to compare what pushes people in the IT department to resign compared to other departments. The results for non-IT departments are in Chart I. Note how ‘low pay’ is the primary reason for resignation.

Chart I – Why do non-IT staff resign?

Non-IT staff resignation

However, when we examined the results from IT staff we got a slightly different picture. In IT, it is limited career prospects or lack of promotion opportunities that make staff consider leaving – low pay is in 3rd place (see Chart II).

Chart II – Why do IT staff resign?

IT staff resignation

This could be because staff in the IT department are already relatively well paid compared to most other departments, but may also be due to the type of person that sits in IT. Technology is a complex and mentally demanding function, and job satisfaction comes from challenging and stretching their minds.

Note how the shortage of interesting work rises from 6th position to 4th when comparing most departments (Chart I) to the IT department (Chart II). Poor management is an issue for all departments, but a lack of training is not a consideration for people in any department when looking for new pastures.

But if these are issues that cause IT staff to resign, what would make them stay?

Just as career prospects would prompt people to leave it also encourages IT staff to stay. However, a wage rise now becomes equally important (joint first position in our report). It seems poor pay may not push IT staff to leave, but it could persuade them to stay a little longer.

The likelihood of promotion is one of the top factors, so perhaps introducing additional layers into the IT department structure (and thereby increasing the opportunities for stepping up the ladder) could retain staff.

More interesting work and recognition for the quality of their work are in joint 2nd place. So low-cost solutions, such as a better spread across the team of interesting projects and staff awards, could help reduce staff turnover.

Often the more exciting IT projects are given to the same group of ‘trusted’ IT technicians, but asking other members of the team to assist gives everyone in the department a chance feel involved.

Recognition for IT staff does not necessarily need to take the shape of formal awards or certification. A simple recommendation on LinkedIn can go a long way to making them feel valued.

Although management quality was an issue for all departments when considering resignation, it’s less of an issue when considering to stay. Poor management might make them leave, but a change may not keep them.

Further results are available in our report ‘IT Talent Acquisition – the candidate’s view’. It includes further insight on staff resignation, as well as figures on where IT candidates look for new jobs and what stops them from responding to your adverts.

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