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What Matters Most to IT Professionals? We asked and they told us

If you follow us on LinkedIn, then you will have seen that we’ve been having some fun with polls lately. As a leading IT talent and executive search firm, we look to ensure we know what our clients need from candidates, and what candidates would like from employers. This is why in our last two polls we sought to discover what’s most important to IT professionals.

In our first poll we asked IT professionals what they wanted MOST from their employers. We provided some options, including a competitive salary; training & development opportunities; hybrid/remote work options; and company/culture.

An overwhelming majority (46%) of IT professionals said that competitive salaries are what they want most from their employers.

Pie Chart (what IT professionals want)


We then decided to follow up this question with a second poll that sought to clarify what aspect of a competitive salary was most important. We included the following options: benefits (medical, life insurance, 401K match); PTO and maternity/paternity leave; additional benefits like stipends and commuter benefits; or just the actual dollar amount on their paychecks at the end of it all.

Perhaps not surprising at all, again a majority (73%) of IT professionals said that the dollar amount on their check at the end of the pay period is most important.

Pie Chart (competitive salaries)


Considering these results, we wanted to take a moment to write a follow-up to discuss how we can help candidates attain what clearly matters most to them. As we potentially approach a recession, some businesses are freezing hiring or are even laying off staff. However, there is still a large majority of employers who are hiring, especially in IT. Technology transformations brought on by the pandemic are still a focus for many businesses. 70% of organizations either have a digital transformation strategy or are currently working on one. These companies need skilled and experienced IT professionals and Judge prides itself on being able to identify and place those professionals in both contract and permanent placement roles.

For candidates, it comes down to dollars and cents

While this outcome wasn’t a surprise, it was great to read what poll respondents had to say. As we read through the many comments, we learned that although dollars and cents are important, employees value how those dollars and cents break down.

See this comment from Kimm S., for example:

I know I’m not the only one, but I’d include work/life balance in this as well. I think of salary on an hourly basis.You might get offer A for $100,000 salary, but the company wants you to spend 60+ hours a week. ($32.06 hourly). You might get offer B for $75,000 salary, but the company only wants you to spend 40 hours a week. ($36.06 hourly). Offer A is higher salary, but offer B is higher hourly. #worklifebalance

We agree with Kimm S. and believe work-life balance is important. How a salary breaks down for you might be different for someone else, however. Perhaps you enjoy working more than 40 hours a week, but you would certainly want your paycheck to reflect that.

With contract work, compensation is all about the hourly rate. Any benefits offered are usually provided by the staffing agency you are working with and not by the employer contracting you. Whereas, as a permanent employee, the total compensation package will determine what the take-home pay after benefits will be.

Depending on if you are a contractor or employee what you are considering is different. When contracting it’s all about the rate. If it’s a permanent position, it’s the whole package. -Rob L.

Contract work can help increase your hourly rate

While many candidates shy away from contract work given its uncertainty, the truth is that contract work can be a great way to gain experience and increase your hourly rate. This is because contracts may run anywhere from 3-24 months and while the rate is often set and not flexible, the rate is often higher than a permanent position because of its contractual nature.

Contract work also allows you to have more control over your career and trajectory because you can pick and choose what contracts to pursue and which you would rather not work. Working with a recruiter can help you pursue contract work, including lining up different contracts so you have little or no breaks between contract work. As you develop your skills further and accomplish more ambitious projects, you can continue to take on more skilled positions with higher rates.

Benefits of contract work:

  • More control over your career trajectory and the work you do
  • Ability to develop skills quicker and gain experience in a variety of areas
  • Salary increases quicker without having to ask for a raise or work a prescribed amount of time
  • Ability to work for a variety of companies across different industries
  • Can “try-out” an employer before you commit to a permanent position

Normalize asking about salary range and benefits

If contract work isn’t for you, here’s another tip to help ensure you get the competitive salary you’re looking for.

So often when we are interviewing for a new position, we’re so excited to land an interview that we forget to ask about salary range and what the benefits package looks like. This is unfortunate because sometimes professionals end up in a position where they accepted a job and then realized that benefits were going to cost them a lot more than they anticipated. As a result, their take-home pay dramatically decreases.

“Benefits don’t mean anything if I’m struggling to pay for necessities.” – D. Hill

Bottom line: make sure you ask about salary and benefits. Generally, when working with a recruiter the salary range or hourly rate is known in the beginning. Landing the job can sometimes be difficult and it is nerve-wracking if you are really excited about the position or the company. But remember, in this current environment, the power still lies with the candidate. Ask the questions and make sure that any choice or career move you make is good for you. Employers are desperate to keep their IT staff. IT roles can be difficult to fill. So, make sure you are asking for what you need from your employer and know what needs of theirs you can fill.

Ready to explore your options? Contact a Judge Group recruiter today.