With jobless rates nationwide near record lows, competition for highly skilled employees is high. Nowhere is this more true than in Utah’s tech industry. According to CompTIA’s 2023 “State of the Tech Workforce,” Utah added 5130 new jobs in 2022, an increase of 4.3%. This number exceeds the national average for the same period, just 3.2%. Their prediction for 2023? CompTIA believes tech job growth in Utah in 2023 will eclipse 2022, reaching 4.9% or roughly 6100 jobs.
What does this mean for IT professionals? Companies need you and your skills. Highly qualified applicants searching for a job in this market will likely receive multiple offers. You may have your choice of positions. How do you choose the best one for you? Just look at the numbers, right? It seems logical to accept the offer that provides the best compensation. However, we recommend examining the broader picture to find the position that will benefit you personally and help you reach your career goals.
Evaluating a Tech Job Offer
You were hoping for one great offer, but today is your lucky day. You have three options. None of them are exactly what you want, but they all have their perks. Let’s look at the top things to consider before accepting one.
1. Your Feelings
Receiving a job offer is flattering. Out of all the applicants they considered, the IT recruiter chose to present you with the job offer. Being chosen strokes your ego a bit and elicits an emotional response. Making a decision based on those emotions could be a poor choice. Considering job offers objectively requires you to check your emotions. Set aside your feelings about receiving an offer to evaluate how well the offer works for you.
2. The Numbers
What is your starting salary? Are they offering a signing bonus? Will you receive stock options? All of these numbers are important. Your compensation needs to cover your living expenses. Ideally, it should allow you to maintain or improve the standard of living to which you are accustomed. However, the number you see may not tell the whole story, and you may need to take a deeper dive into the possibilities to see the entire picture.
- Are there opportunities for growth and pay increases?
- What other forms of compensation will you get? (health insurance, retirement benefits, PTO)?
- Does the company offer other conveniences that would be beneficial? (on-site daycare, remote work, gym facilities)
While these benefits don’t pay the bills, they can make a difference in how well the job fits into your lifestyle and meets your personal needs.
Before you begin applying for jobs, make a list of the things you must have for a job offer to meet your needs. Consider how much you need to make, your personal aspirations, and your family situation. Keep your list simple and realistic. It is easy to get carried away and add all the nice-to-haves. You might get lucky and get them all. However, your offer will likely not meet the high bar you set. Likewise, if others with your skills and experience make $75,000/year, it is unrealistic to anticipate receiving an offer that pays $100,000 annually.
4. The Cost
If you live in the Salt Lake Valley, taking a tech job in Lehi may mean a slightly longer commute. However, taking a job in Silicon Slopes when you live in Arizona will come with additional costs. Consider how much it will cost you to relocate. Will the cost of living be higher? Will you spend more each month on gas and car maintenance? Will you need to invest in a new wardrobe to meet company dress code requirements? Individually these expenses may not be significant, but together, they could eliminate any raise you might get by changing jobs.
5. Company Culture
How much do you know about what it is like to work for your potential future employer? If you don’t know much, now is the time to find out all you can. Online tools such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor can allow you to find out what current employees have to say about the company. Keep in mind that the work environment that motivates one person may leave others feeling like an outsider. If your values and work style align with those of your employer and coworkers, you are more likely to find your work engaging and fulfilling.
6. Your Career Potential
Whether you are contemplating a lateral move or taking a step forward in your career, it is wise to determine whether this move will bring you closer to achieving your goals. Ask about opportunities for advancement and skill development. It is best to find out now if this position will stagnate your progress toward your ideal job.
7. Job Security
In addition to considering your future, consider the future of the organization you will be working for, especially if they are a new tech startup. Getting in before a startup balloons into a tech giant can be fantastic for your career and a boost to your savings if you own company stock. However, many startups fold before they get off the ground, and some fail spectacularly. If the company is not profitable, you may be back on the market sooner than you had planned, and there is no way to predict market conditions down the road.
If you need stability or are making an investment in relocating to Utah to take the position, you will want to know that the company will be there to support you and your goals in the long run.
Utah’s technology sector is growing quickly and provides great employment opportunities for individuals with a variety of skills and ambitions. The recruitment process, often led by a Salt Lake City staffing firm, helps companies determine if you are the right fit for the job. Logically and methodically evaluating the offer you receive, is you doing your due diligence to ensure the company and the offer are the best one for you.