Sydney, Nov 23: One in five (21 per cent) young Australians working in tech are expecting to be laid off or fired during the economic downturn, and nearly half (49 per cent) are unsure of their current job security, according to new research by HR tech leader HiBob.
Of the 861,000 people currently working in tech in Australia, an industry where over half (52 per cent) of workers are under 40, a significant proportion of people in their 20s are now worried about how the global economic downturn is likely to affect their careers.
This concern has been spurred on by the recent layoffs of thousands of staff in Australia by tech firms like Meta, Twitter and Salesforce.
The new concern for the young generation in tech — job security
HiBob’s research shows that in Australia levels of job security depend on several factors.
Overall about 50 per cent of the respondents working in tech companies are in non-tech roles such as sales, marketing, customer support, finance and admin.
Those in a non-tech role are the ones who are most concerned (25 per cent) about being laid off or fired compared with those who are in a tech product role (17 per cent).
While there is always a shortage in developers and engineers, the customer-facing professionals are aware that the downturn can affect their roles.
Surprisingly, the young managers of teams are less confident about their job security than individual contributors, only 29 per cent managers feel their position is secure and their skills are critical to the company, compared with 34 per cent of individual contributors.
Those working in mid-sized organisations also tend to be less secure than others — 54 per cent of people working in companies with 101–999 employees say they’re unsure of their job security, compared with 31 per cent of organisations with more than 2,500 employees.
Tech companies need to define clear career paths
Economic uncertainty is also affecting the career direction of young tech workers with nearly half (44 per cent) saying the economic downturn has already forced them to change their career plans, job search and employment considerations. The situation is particularly worse for those in manager roles, with 48 per cent of managers saying they’re having to change their career plans.
Nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of all young tech workers go as far as to say the downturn has forced them to completely change their career plans.
Again, the size of the company they work for appears to have an impact on the proportion of people rethinking their career paths. 48 per cent of people within mid-sized organisations (101–999 employees) are rethinking their career plans, compared with 44 per cent of people in small organisations (10–100 employees), and 38 per cent of people in large enterprises (2,500+ employees).
HiBob’s Young Generation in Tech research
These are the findings from HiBob’s Young Generation in Tech research, which explores the attitudes, expectations and work experience of Australians aged between 20 and 30 working in tech. While layoffs are a clear worry, the research also uncovers widespread malcontent from young tech workers with employers that are failing to impress on a number of career, societal and work-life balance issues. One in five, for example, say their experience at work does not meet their expectations.
Why employees are unhappy with their employers
The young generation in tech are driven and highly invested in their growth and development. They are disappointed because only one in three (33 per cent) have a clear career path mapped out with them by their company, and less than a quarter (24 per cent) say they have access to a formal mentoring program. Emphasising the lack of learning abilities provided by companies, only 36 per cent say their manager allows them to participate and learn new skills.
Less than half (39 per cent) think their work-life balance is right and a quarter (25 percent) say they dislike their company for not being cutting-edge.
“On one hand, today’s young tech workforce are worried about their job security, and their work experience is hindered because of lack of career development and learning opportunities. They’ve never been more conflicted, and as a result, are taking a moment to consider their career paths to protect themselves from layoffs,” Damien Andreasen, ANZ regional lead at HiBob said.
“There is now an urgent need for HR and business leaders to open or widen the lines of communications more with young employees. Key to that communication are the people managers within an organisation, and HR and business leaders should invest in their managers to help them manage the difficult situation many young tech workers find themselves in. The better managers handle the situation, the stronger the working culture will be at the organisation, and the less likely the best employees will be to leave.”
Young employees value flexible work models, company success, and family benefits
The research also finds that when it comes to the workplace conditions employees value the most, the top three are the flexible work models (highlighted by 37 per cent), the company’s strength and financial security (highlighted by 30 per cent) and family benefits like subsidised fertility treatments (also highlighted by 30 per cent).Flexible working is notably more important to those who aren’t responsible for others within the organisation — 43 per cent of non-managers say flexible working is valuable to them compared to only 28 percent of people managers.
HiBob’s research also finds that a third (33 per cent) would be motivated to move to another company for a more flexible work style — the biggest motivator after a better compensation package (34 per cent). While many young people feel their job security is at risk, more than half (63 per cent) of young tech workers are currently being approached at least once a month for a new role, which is also making them re-evaluate their career path.
HiBob’s research comes off the back of wider research by Deloitte of people aged between 19 and 27, nearly half of which feel anxious or stressed either all or most of the time since the start of the pandemic. That same research also found that the pandemic inspired 70 per cent of respondents to take “positive actions” to improve their own lives.
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