Hoe lang moet je bij je huidige baan blijven?

De lonen stijgen, maar vaste aanstellingen dalen in de techsector. Die trend zorgt ervoor dat techies zich afvragen of loyaliteit nog wel loont. Is continu jobhoppen vandaag de dag een slechte zaak?

Neem Michelle Ufford. Zij heeft de afgelopen acht jaar vijf totaal verschillende IT-functies bekleed, inclusief haar huidige baan als ontwikkelmanager. Er was een tijd dat zou gezien zou worden door wervingsspecialisten als een potentieel risico: een IT-professional met de neiging om haar opgebouwde kennis en ervaring opzij te zetten om zich te storten op de technologie du jour.

Computerworld selecteert hier de beste Engelstalige verhalen uit ons internationale IDG-netwerk.

But gone are the days of retirement parties and gold-plated plaques. Rather, IT professionals like Ufford now switch jobs – and employers – faster than it takes ink to dry on a business card. In fact, Ufford says getting a taste of various positions – and technologies – has actually increased her chances of survival in today's cutthroat, highly competitive IT labor market.

"When you're in technology, you have to stay aware of the trends," she says. "If you have that awareness, you can make sure that you don't become obsolete, especially as technology changes over the years."

Ufford isn't alone in her nontraditional take on tenure. In a September 2015 Computerworld survey of 244 IT professionals, 46 percent of the respondents said that they feel more pressure to create some movement in their careers, either through a job change at their current company or by moving to a different employer. And 43 percent said that they believe the optimum job tenure for a technology professional – the amount of time needed to gain experience and remain attractive in the job market – is one to three years at the same company.

"The employee-employer relationship has absolutely changed," says John Reed, senior executive director at IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology. "The days of Dad going off to work for IBM for 40 years and getting the gold watch are behind us."

Big money, big moves

Helping to drive this shift is a strong job market that offers qualified IT professionals more options – and more money – than ever before. All of which is great news for restless IT workers – and not-so-great news for talent-strapped companies.

"We're seeing pretty big churn in the marketplace right now, and part of that is people looking at their role or organization and saying, 'I've done all that I can do here. There's no next step for me,'" Reed says.

Ron Gallagher agrees. A senior technical recruiter at Staff Tech, a recruiting firm in Folsom, Calif., Gallagher says IT professionals now spend an average of two to three years with the same employer. "They're staying less time now than they were before, and it's just because the economy has bounced back," he says. "There's more opportunity and, at the same time, good IT people are very valued. Overall, pay has gone up for IT roles."

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