Monday, February 24, 2014

Flash Survey Results Part 1 – What Motivates Quants to Change Jobs?

We’re midway through the first quarter and the analytics hiring market is heating up – organizations are evaluating their business goals and hiring needs, and candidates are evaluating their career options for the coming year. As a follow up to my blog post with my predictions for the analytics hiring market, I decided to conduct another “flash survey” of my connections to see what motivates them to make a career move and how they found their last job. I’ve read studies about how Quants are most motivated by intellectual curiosity, and was interested to see if this would translate to their career aspirations. I received 216 responses to my quick survey, the first question being:

1.) What would be your top two motivating factors if you were to change jobs?

Key Insights
  • Overall, salary and opportunity for growth were the top two motivators for respondents, with 47% and 44% respectively.
  • Challenging work was third with 38% of respondents choosing this in their top two motivators.
  • A change in company (16%) and industry (11%) were the factors least likely to inspire a job change.


Quantitative candidates are more in demand than ever, and if the results of this poll are any indication the talent pool is ambitious and hard-working. Their focus on salary is interesting, and reflects what I found in the Burtch Works Study last year – that Quants changing jobs can expect a 14% pay increase. When compared to the average 2-4% yearly increase they can expect if they stay at their jobs, it’s no wonder the hiring market is humming with activity and that salary is a top motivator.

Opportunity for growth was a close second, and it seems that analytics professionals are evaluating “promotability” when considering new roles, compared to the opportunities available in their current organization. For my analytics job seekers, I wanted to offer a word of warning here – although you can realize an increase in pay, I usually don’t see candidates substantially improve their title when changing jobs. It’s much more common to see a candidate make a lateral title move when changing companies, knowing that there is a greater possibility for a promotion down the line in their new organization because it is in a growing field or expanding.

Stay tuned for my next blog when I will post the results from my survey’s second question, “What was the source of your last job?” 


Beverly Wright said...

Interesting study - I wonder if the results would have been 'flip side' if quants had answered 'what encourages you to stay', or if the phenomenon is asymmetrical. Also curious about how you chose the items / factors - I'm guessing from blog comments.

Thanks for sharing.

Linda Burtch said...

Thanks for your comment. It would be interesting to have data from quants on what encourages them to stay at their jobs. I wrote a piece for Forbes recently where I delved into the topic of what, in my experience, marketers can do to keep quants from quitting. (

Here at Burtch Works we have many conversations with quantitative candidates who are currently looking to make a job change, and those conversations helped us choose what the factors would be for the survey.