The pandemic shutdown has made relocating an easier decision for IT professionals living in the increasingly more expensive tech hubs of the nation.

With 61% of tech employees now working fully remotely because of COVID-19, a survey by .Tech Domains found the

vast majority of tech talent living within 30 miles of large tech centers are thinking of moving. Some already have.

“As Covid-19 accelerates remote work environments for the tech workforce, many are using the flexibility to pursue more affordable lifestyles,” says Suman Das, brand director at .Tech Domains.

Millennials are feeling the urge to relocate even more acutely than older tech workers. Younger and therefore less senior in both career and pay scale, the millennial professionals in the survey were 15% more likely to be thinking of relocating.

They’re also giving more thought to taking on gig jobs than ever before. While almost three-quarters of all full-time employees say they are more likely to freelance now than before the pandemic hit, 84% of millennial IT professionals say that.

Relocating to lower cost areas and picking up side work are considerations driven by any number of factors, but certainly worries about being laid off or furloughed are high among them.

When the tech-focused job site Hired surveyed 2,300 tech workers in July, it found large percentages of them “concerned” or “very concerned” about losing their job in the next several months. Among those in the San Francisco Bay Area, 53% expressed concern about being laid off. In New York, 42% shared that worry.

The worry is not unjustified. Technology firms in the Bay Area were quick to shed jobs in the early months of the pandemic shutdown. From a high of 130,400 employees in February, the information sector shed almost 13,000 jobs in less than two months.

Still, unemployment among tech workers nationally was 4.6% in August, well under the 8.4% nationally.

Photo by marek kizer


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Tech Pros with Certifications Earn More

If you’re an IT professional and want to double that raise you got (who doesn’t?) learn a new skill or earn a certification.

That’s what Global Knowledge discovered when it surveyed tech workers around the world. The training firm won’t release its 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report until later this summer, but it gave everyone a preview of some of the key findings. Among them is the financial impact of training.

Global Knowledge found the average raise for tech professionals this year is right around 6%, which translates to a bump of just about $5,000. But those who learned a new skill earned nearly $12,000 more and those who obtained a new certification got almost $13,000 more.

“The reason for a raise impacts the amount of the raise,” says Global Knowledge. “Twelve percent of individuals who received a raise attribute it to developing new skills that were of added value. Those same individuals earned nearly $12,000 more this year compared to 2019.

“IT professionals who attribute their raise to obtaining a new certification experienced a salary bump of nearly $13,000.”

This isn’t just a one-survey wonder. Global Knowledge has surveyed tech workers since 2008 finding that those with new certifications nearly always are rewarded with a bigger than average raise. In North America tech pros with at least one certification typically earns 8% more than those with no certifications. Those with 6 or more certifications get an even bigger pay bump, earning $13,000 more than those with just one.

The reason for the difference is simple: The more skills a person has, the more productive they can be and thus more valuable. This is especially significant in tech where, as Global Knowledge says, two-thirds of IT decision-makers believe the lack of necessary skills – the skills gap – is costing between 3 and 9 hours of productivity a week.

That explains why this year Global Knowledge found a 36% jump in managers approving IT training. When training is available, 80% of managers are now giving workers the OK. On the other hand, 20% are still saying “No” to training.

According to Global Knowledge those 1-in-5 managers worry that taking time to train will negatively impact work and cause a loss of productivity. But, as the company’s report preview points out, that dip will be short-term, while not having people with all the right skills is a long-term impact.

Trying to fill the skills gap by hiring talent is so difficult that 69% of IT managers have multiple open positions. Nearly all have at least one opening.

Photo by Wes Hicks


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