Salaries are not the main driver for Canadian IT professionals when it comes to evaluating job opportunities, in fact a majority of them would be willing to take a pay cut in exchange for better benefits, according to a recent survey.

No less than 69 per cent of IT workers said they will take a reduction in compensation in a new position if the employer offered an agreeable trade off in terms of benefits, career progression and if the hiring company had a good reputation.

The survey, titled What People Want 2013, queried 3,000 working and unemployed Canadians. Of that number, 300 were IT workers. The survey was conducted in August this year by Hays Recruitment Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of British human resources service firm Hays plc.

The poll also found that 53 per cent of respondents are willing to take a step down in terms of seniority level for a job opportunity that came with better benefits, compensation and a more reputable company.

The findings are a wakeup call for companies that continue to neglect employee benefits, according to Rowan O’Grady, president of Hays Canada.

“We’ve long head about rising interest in work-life balance, but businesses that stop there when creating employee packages will miss the mark,” he said.

Employers need to better understand the needs of the employees and be more creative in offering them compensation, benefits and opportunities.

Some of the benefits that IT workers in Canada receive include:

  • Work from home options (58 per cent)
  • Flex work options (54 per cent)
  • Health and dental benefits (65 per cent)
  • Extended health benefits (50 per cent)
  • Performance-related bonuses (32 per cent)
  • Pension/RRSP contribution and matching plans (41 per cent)
  • Training and or certification support (33 per cent)

“In virtually every sector we’re seeing that employees demands are much more nuanced and that traditional hallmarks of success such as a job title and salary level are being replaces by a combination of measures that build a more rounded workplace identity,” said O’Grady.

For instance, the survey found that after compensation, career growth is the second most important factor that respondents consider when evaluating a new job.

The survey also revealed that “new challenges” are the most important factor for professional development superseding employer-sponsored education and internal training.

As many as 55 per cent of respondents said they are willing to give up flexible work options for career growth, compensation and an ideal company culture.

IT professionals appear to have nomadic tendencies but very few of them want to move up to C-level positions.

For example, almost half or 49 per cent are likely to leave their current role and while 56 per cent of the IT labour force is in middle to senior management positions, only 56 per cent aspire for a C-level role.

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