Skip to main content
5 min read

What motivates the tech workforce more than money?

The power of money has short-term effects. Find out what motivates the tech workforce beyond money and how you can implement these practices in the workplace.

Although money is often a frequently used motivator by employers, it’s power only has short-term effects. When it comes to engaging the tech workforce, flexible hours, company culture and employee recognition are more effective at creating positive, motivated and loyal staff.

Of course, money is important but it comes as a standard expectation in any role. People expect to be paid for the value that they add to a company and promises of pay rises don’t necessarily correlate with job satisfaction.

According to software company Quantum Workplace, 82.3% of new employees are engaged in their first year at work. However, their motivation drops to 74.8% in year two and 73.3% in years three through to five.

In this blog, we’ll look at what motivates the tech workforce beyond money and how employers can implement these practices in the workplace.

Flexible working

As a largely digitised industry, most tech companies have the ability to offer flexible working. We’ve previously written about the rise of flexible hours in our post ‘flexible working opportunities in tech’. We concluded that the industry actively seeks self-starters and frequently outsources work, which creates remote working opportunities.

As an industry, the tech sector already does fairly well in offering flexible hours. According to a recent survey carried out by the Smarter Working Initiative, 84% of employees in the technology industry have the option of flexible working, compared to the UK average of 65%.

Work-life balance is a strong motivating factor for tech staff. When employees have a good work-life balance, they generally take fewer sick days and have increased well-being. When considering that happy workers make for a more productive workforce, it’s easy to see how flexible working can contribute to employee’s overall motivation.

Culture and values

According to Deloitte’s Core Beliefs and Culture Survey, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.

A motivated workforce begins at the recruitment stage. Companies with a strong culture attract more candidates as people want to work for businesses with a good reputation. Company culture can also contribute towards gaining employee’s trust and it can help retain staff in the long-term.

When employees believe in their company’s core values, they find more fulfillment in their work. As core values need to resonate with workers, it can be beneficial for employers to organise staff surveys and consultations to gather feedback on staff perceptions of HR and company-wide best practices.

Diversity and inclusion

In our post ‘women in IT: what does 2019 hold for gender diversity’, we explored some interesting diversity statistics from our sector. According to a study by PwC, only 15% of employees working in STEM roles in the UK are female. Additionally, only 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women.

Our own report looking into women in IT found that most key decision makers (87%) agree that there is a gender imbalance in favour of men. The report also found that people largely believe that it’s the responsibility of organisations (50%) to drive change.

Tech companies can demonstrate their commitment to diversity by being transparent about salaries in advertised jobs. By providing information about pays grades up-front, women will be more likely to negotiate salaries that reflect their skills and experience.

Opting for skills-based assessments at the recruitment stage can also help remove human bias in the process. And providing women with better access to external networks provides them with the resources they need to get ahead in their career.

Learning and development

Investing in employees’ development shows that they matter to the business. Workers who believe that they have a future career with a company are more likely to be motivated to perform well and remain loyal.

As we’ve reported before, the tech sector is currently experiencing a skills shortage. It’s therefore in the interest of tech companies to invest in staff training to up-skill current workers and attract new candidates. By conducting skills assessments and surveying staff, companies can identify where the most significant skills gaps lie and take action to address the issue.

Providing apprenticeships and ongoing training opportunities helps retain talent and future-proofs a company’s position in the industry. Tech companies should also be working closely with colleges and universities to provide graduate schemes for the next generation of workers.


Recognising employees’ contributions brings the ‘human’ factor to the workplace. According to research from Quantum People, 11.8% of employees name recognition as a top people prioritySimilarly, employee recognition strategists, O.C Tanner reports that 79% of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving.

Companies can recognise their employee’s contributions by implementing recognition incentives that don’t simply involve financial reward. How companies choose to recognise their employee’s achievements will vary depending on the company and its values, but in most cases, allowing workers to choose their own rewards will help increase motivation.

According to the Incentive Research Foundation, incentive programmes can boost performance by as much as 44% and improve employee engagement by 27%.

Although money is often used to motivate employees, its effects are relatively short-lived. Flexible working can help attract and retain staff, while providing a better work-life balance. A strong set of values and a positive company culture can also attract top talent while increasing employee engagement and performance. By demonstrating a commitment to diversity through HR practices, companies can benefit from the skills and experience of women, who are generally under-represented in the tech industry. Investing in employee development demonstrates their value to the company and ensures future loyalty. Recognising employees’ contributions brings the ‘human’ factor into the workplace, increases productivity and boosts motivation.