Tech worker dissatisfaction foreshadows brain drain for employers

Overlay Main Banner
Tech worker dissatisfaction foreshadows brain drain for employers

Tech worker dissatisfaction foreshadows brain drain for employers

As many as 87% of all UK talent will actively seek to find a new job in the next 12 months, and 90% of North American Gen Z tech workers under 25 would consider new career opportunities, new research released by global tech recruitment firm Lorien has revealed.
  • A vast majority of workers are open to new career opportunities with Gen Z most active in seeking new jobs in the tech sector   

  • Ongoing career development is a must for engagement and retention 

  • Speed is critical as a vast majority of candidates want a fast recruitment process 

  • Employers who meet the workforce’s most valued needs will win 

As many as 87% of all UK talent will actively seek to find a new job in the next 12 months, and 90% of North American Gen Z tech workers under 25 would consider new career opportunities, new research released by global tech recruitment firm Lorien has revealed. With so many eager to acquire the right role, companies face a potential brain drain if they fail to entice talent to stay  

This revelation comes from surveying conducted in the UK and North America by Lorien, powered by Impellam Group, in the first quarter of 2024, and it shows the concerns and preferences of today’s tech talent. These and other findings are presented in the What Tech Candidates Want 2024 report. In addition to findings of large majorities of candidates wanting to make career changes, the report also examines their dissatisfaction with current employers, preferred ways of working, the employee value proposition most considered when switching, and other critical insights employers should know.  

David Gettins, managing director of Lorien in the UK, advises Even in an ever-changing labour market, in-demand tech talent remains challenging to acquire and retain. For many organisations seeking AI, cloud, cybersecurity, and other sought-after talent, understanding what workers desire and expect is instrumental to a successful workforce strategy. The insights from this report provide hiring organisations with greater clarity on how to build a powerful employee value proposition critical to becoming a true employer of choice. 

Gettins goes on to say, “And when talent scarcity begins to rise again in the near future, due to structural deficiencies in the market, we expect to see the pendulum swing the other way again. We believe in empowering the future of tech, and this new report provides important insights and transparency to clients and candidates alike.” 

“Our data should be a wake-up call for tech employers because it shows a concerning level of dissatisfaction among permanent and contractor talent. Dramatic changes in the tech labour market during the past two years have given workers whiplash in terms of available job opportunities and rewards, so it’s quite natural to see this level of angst,” said Ryan McMahon, president of Lorien in North America.  

The survey found that the youngest workers are the least satisfied, with just 13% in North America saying they are happy in their current role, while 35% of younger candidates in the UK are happy. These figures improved with successively older generations of workers. The disparity may be the result of younger workers having entered the workforce at a time when digital transformation was culminating in the global economy, and demand for scarce tech skills was peaking. Those needs were further exacerbated during the pandemic as companies accelerated their digital strategy. As a result, these workers have yet to experience a difficult job market previously.            

Workers surveyed provided insights into their motivations for job changes. In the UK, 24% prioritized learning new technology, followed by 19% seeking career progression, and 10% desiring flexible work arrangements. In North America, 24% similarly valued learning new technologies, with 17% highlighting career progression and 12% aiming to escape negative company cultures. 

When seeking new employment opportunities, the most important priorities for North American workers were to look for a job that offered career growth (21%), flexible working schedules (18%), and a good salary (16%). The same three were also at the top of the wish list for UK workers, with 29% seeking career growth, 20% wanting flexible schedules, and 18% desiring more money. 

Hybrid and remote work remain relevant 

In the years since the start of the pandemic, remote and hybrid schedules continue to be debated in offices everywhere, but most tech specialists tend to enjoy at least a few days offsite weekly. In the UK, 50% prefer 1-2 days in the office and 29% opt for fully remote work, and more than half favour a hybrid schedule. Conversely, half of workers in North America say they are fully remote, aligning with the 51% who prefer this arrangement. Just 7% of candidates in both markets want a fully onsite workweek. Among those under 25, however, 15% in North America say they prefer in-person arrangements, compared with 6% for older peers. 

“How people want to work in the industry, and what employers are offering, should align to drive a more positive talent experience. This means being flexible to changing policies as needed, considering alternative arrangements when it makes sense, and surveying workers to ensure the most effective practices are always in place,” said Darren Topping, director of solutions and insight for Lorien UK. “It’s important for organisations to sustain their values and employee value proposition throughout various economic cycles so they remain employers of choice.”    

In addition to work arrangement preferences, Lorien’s research also reveals what tech candidates want during the recruitment continuum. They shared thoughts on acceptable practices on the time to hire and other recruitment benchmarks, how they research prospective employers, and other factors that influence their employment choices. Along with their outlook on the impact of AI and workforce diversity, equity and inclusion, the report offers one of the most comprehensive looks into the mindset of tech workers. 

Pro tips for employers to consider as high-quality candidates with specialized skills remain difficult to recruit: 

  • Align remote and hybrid work policies with prevailing market practices to effectively compete for talent 

  • Create a compelling employee value proposition to attract and retain talent  

  • Leverage a consistent and authentic culture to create an attractive talent journey that resonates with candidates 

  • Maintain DE&I outreach to nurture a more diverse and equitable workforce that candidates expect to find in their organization 

Access the full report for comprehensive insights into 'What Tech Candidates Want' in both the UK here and North America here, respectively. 

About Lorien  

We are Lorien, a technology, transformation, and digital talent company powered by Impellam Group, a connected group providing global workforce and specialist recruitment solutions. We combine tech expertise with the scope, depth, and breadth of large-scale talent organizations. Driven by both clients and candidates, covering the US and Europe, we work with all sectors, sizes, and tech needs—from start-ups to established tech companies and those who use tech to propel them further. Our unique position in the market means we have the insight to create tailored solutions, keeping our clients ahead of the curve and giving them complete agility. From one-off placements to scalable enterprise solutions, executive search to next-generation tech skills, and time-sensitive projects to ongoing digital journeys—we flex to fit the requirement.  


Please contact: Kirsty Tranter, Head of Communications, Impellam Group - 

Our Insights | News, Events, and Case Studies

Our tech expertise and partner-led approach allows us to deliver highly successful results for our clients so they can attract and retain unique talent for their business. Explore our latest collection of case studies, news, events, and insights.

Subscribe to our newsletter

With insight across the whole of Lorien, we'll keep you ahead of the curve on the talent market.

Download our Latest Report

Fill out the form below to gain exclusive access to the report