Indian Techies are Quitting the Fastest in 14 Years


You are looking to hire a Senior Data Scientist with 5 years of experience working in a product company. And yes, one important detail. She should have spent a minimum of 2 years at her last job. Stability, you see, is a ‘non-negotiable’ for you.

So you begin the search. You update your career page and job board, reach out to all the consultants and wait for applications to pour in. A few applications trickle in and surprise-surprise, they don’t meet your criteria.

Why, you may ask?

Because as many as 70% of data scientists quit within two years of working at a company. And this trend is true across different roles. In an exclusive study, the Belong Research team looked at the average tenure of people for roles such as data science, software engineering and product management. We found that the number of people quitting within 1 or 2 years of working at an organisation was on a steady rise.

Here’s the full study:

Note: Of the entire data set we analyzed, more than 70% fell in the age bracket of 23-40, qualifying as Millennials (also called Gen Y or echo Boomers). There are many self-prescribed age brackets for Millennials. For the purpose of this study, we considered those born between 1977-1994 as Millennials.

Software Engineers are quitting fastest since 2001

We looked at the average tenure of software engineers from 2001 to 2014 and found the number has seen a steady decline over these 14 years. Every person who joined as a software engineer in 2001 worked for an average of 4.7 years at the same company. In 2014, the average had dropped to 1.97. Take a look at how the average tenure has gone down over the years. software_overall.png

58% software engineers quit within two years

We found that 58% of software engineers quit within two years of working at a company in 2016. This number was 44% in 2013. Similarly, the number of people quitting within one year also went up from 20% to 27%.

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Only 14% software engineers last more than 4 years at a job

As a majority of engineers are quitting within 2 years, the percentage of software engineers spending more than 4 years at a company went down to 14% in 2016 (from an average of 23% in 2013.


Internet companies have the youngest engineers 

We also looked at the average age of engineers across Internet firms like Amazon and Flipkart, ITES companies like Cognizant and Infosys, and computer software companies like Microsoft and Adobe. We found that Internet companies had the youngest talent with an average age of 27.5 years, followed by ITES with an average of 29.2 and lastly Computer Software with an average age of 32.1 years.


32% of data scientists quit within 1 year

Data Science is one of the most difficult positions to fill. According to Belong’s Talent Supply Index 2017, there are only 8 data scientists for every 10 jobs in India, tilting the market significantly in the candidate’s favour.

The Belong Research team looked into how this demand-supply mismatch was impacting the way data scientists were switching jobs. We found that 32% of data scientists quit within a year of working with an organization, up from 15% in 2013. On the other hand, the number of people staying more than four years at a job was just 9%.


61% product managers quit within 2 years

We carried out a similar analysis for another hard-to-hire role - product management. According to Belong’s Talent Supply Index, there are only four product managers for every 10 open positions. We found that 61% product managers quit within 2 years of working at an organisation, further corroborating that among all the things Millennials have been accused of killing - workplace loyalty is another one!product_manager.png

What does this mean for recruiters?

If recruiters want to hire people who can potentially stick around for a few years, then merely searching for people who've lasted long enough in their previous jobs is no longer a good shortlisting criteria.

We are well past the days when people would dedicate their entire lives to the same organization. Factors such as globalization, rise of dual-income families, socio-economic shifts and the technological revolution have all resulted in a massive shift in people’s expectations from their careers and jobs.

“In the last 10 years, we have noticed a change in the psych of young people. After working for a few years and achieving a certain level of economic stability, they start longing for something beyond money, something more satisfying and fulfilling,” said Ramya Ranganathan, a professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management at IIM-B.

“Millennials are more ambitious, restless and are less afraid to take chances, and rightly so, because they have so many options at hand. They are quitting faster because they are searching for a place where they belong instead of just another well-paying job,” Ramya added.

How to attract and retain a generation that’s not swayed by money?

In the video ‘Millennials in the Workplace’, Marketing consultant Simon Sinek says that when Millennials were asked what they wanted out of a job, they said they want to work at a ‘place with a purpose’ and ‘wanted to make an impact’.

According to Belong's CTO Vinodh Kumar Ravindranath, “People are hopping jobs in search of larger ownership and learning opportunities. The belief in the world of open source and internet is that learning happens while doing more things. This is in contrast to joining a large organization where there would be lesser ownership, and therefore, lesser learning.”

Amit Mathur, head of Talent Acquisition at Myntra, feels the way to solve for this problem is to start hiring talent for "specific projects which are well defined and time bound".

"Millennials will demand more meaty jobs in coming years. It will be difficult to get them to sign up for long stints," said Amit Mathur, head of Talent Acquisition at Myntra.

Adding to this, Razorpay's head of people operations Anuradha Bharat said that "one of the key reasons any employee stays loyal to a company is the impact that their work have on building the organisation and its culture".

"Organisations which understand this and tailor their employees' careers according to their interests and strengths do not have to worry about them seeking other roles outside," she said.

"At Razorpay, whenever an employee approaches us showing interest in a new role, we ensure that they get trained on the job and clear the path for them to move internally. This creates an atmosphere where people understand that their personal growth and the company's growth are interlinked,” Anuradha added.

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