Employee Surveys

Tech Industry Insights: data from our benchmarking report

Lydia Watson

The tech industry is booming. Even before the pandemic, it was expanding at 2.5 times the rate of the rest of the economy – with the impact of lockdowns, remote working, and the other effects of the coronavirus leading to even greater growth.

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But is this surge sustainable? And are technology services performing when it comes to their people? We looked at our new 2020 benchmarking data to find out, ahead of our 2020 Organisational Fitness Report’s release later this year.

When it comes to Organisational Fitness overall, the tech sector scored 70% – mirroring its financial success at 8% higher than scores across all industries. But though it saw good stability in its strong areas, existing weaknesses and new opportunities for improvement were present:

The top 3 strengths of the tech sector in 2020

1. Role Fit

84% agree or strongly agree with this statement: “My skills and talents fit well with my role and I feel able to get the job done.”

We saw high scores for ‘role fit’ across all sectors, with an 8% increase in the tech industry from 2019. While there has been a digital skills shortage for some time, demand for tech roles has gone up during the pandemic – with 22.7 applications per role in April 2020, compared to the year before, for opportunities advertised on CV-Library.

If you blame that on fewer vacant roles and mass redundancies, could good hiring practices explain this level of role fit? Outside of the specific skill shortages (largely related to advanced technical focuses like AI) tech companies may also have benefited from a greater pool of talent.

2. Empowerment

83% agree or strongly agree with this statement: “When faced with a difficult situation at work, I feel trusted to exercise my judgement and make appropriate decisions”

Again, ‘empowerment’ was a strength across all industries – but perhaps a particular win for technology services. Seeing a 7% increase from 2019, other data suggests this is an area that is not always so promising – with another survey finding that 20% of tech employees wanted more recognition and 19% needed to know their opinion matters, indicating less ownership.

Again, perhaps this is the pandemic at play. With the pressure to act fast during this boom, and seize all opportunities, an ‘all hands on deck’ attitude was necessary – and with the delegation of decision-making and role clarity a key part of an agile approach, ‘empowerment scores’ thrived.

3. Inclusion

79% agree or strongly agree with this statement: “I work in an environment where everyone can feel included, respected and accepted for ‘who they are’.”

Interestingly, ‘inclusion’ became a new strength for the tech sector – and one we’ll examine more closely in the coming weeks to understand why. In an industry often criticised for its lack of diversity, especially concerning gender, could this show an encouraging step forward?

With diversity issues at the fore, due to the troubling events of last year, a greater awareness of inclusion issues could have had an impact. So too could the move to remote working, where the usual cultural and social barriers (from after-work drinks to office culture) may have been neutralised. More research is needed, but for now it’s something to celebrate. ~

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The 3 biggest opportunities for improvement

1. Purpose

Only 57% agree or strongly agree with this statement: “Our organisation sets goals that are important, meaningful and help keep me motivated.”

Purpose. It’s the tech industry’s #1 problem – because it’s so important to an organisation’s long-term performance. The impact of employee engagement on a company’s success is well-known, and our data has shown that ‘purpose’ is one of its biggest indicators.

Knowing their purpose – the ‘why’ of the organisation and their role – is crucial, and other research has also shown this is a weak point of the sector – with just 28% in tech knowing their company’s vision, mission and core values.

This period of fast growth may have led to leaders and managers deprioritising their people’s emotional connection to work, but while tech may be enjoying significant success – at a time when so many industries are struggling – neglecting to focus on ‘purpose’ is a mistake.

2. Tools

Only 60% agree or strongly agree with this statement: “Our tools, systems and processes make my working life easier and set me up for success.”

Earlier in the pandemic, our data showed ‘Tools’ became a strength for many organisations. A fast adaptation to remote working was likely the cause, as 97% were seen to quickly put policies and procedures in place. But this has fallen again to 50% across all industries. Though tech is doing better than most at 60%, the sector is still falling short of where it could be.

With the capacity to work from home long established, it could be that employees have identified gaps in their tooling – but whatever the cause, it gives the sector an opportunity to better equip its people.

3. Communication

Only 63% agree or strongly agree with this statement: “I get the information I need about changes in priorities and broader goals in order to do my job well.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, communication has slipped – it could be presumed to be a side-effect of remote working. But that this doesn’t fall into the ‘bottom 3’ across all sectors suggests it’s a particular weakness of the tech industry itself.

The significant growth of the sector, and the need for fast-moving business decisions, may have played a part – with the emphasis on ‘doing’, not ‘discussing’. But this coincides with the drop in ‘purpose’ to show that work is needed to listen, communicate, and bring employees back into the fold.

Our takeaway for the tech sector:

As we acknowledged, the tech sector is booming. But not only is this exponential growth likely to slow at some point, it also brings specific challenges to employees in the tech sector. Without communicating to your employees, you lose your shared vision – and that sense of purpose is crucial to boost your employee engagement, and ensure sustainable, long-term performance.

We can help you listen to your employees, and understand your performance as an organisation – so you know where to make changes. Find out more by watching our demo:

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