Tech Trends Survey Shows Hiring Pain in Portland


A new industry report shows tech sector revenue is up and retention is down – with small and medium-sized tech companies bucking the trend.

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More than half of Portland tech companies are expecting higher revenue in 2023, and 43% plan to hire more tech employees, according to a survey released Tuesday by technology and IT staffing firm ProFocus.

The survey’s results also suggest that recruiting and retaining tech talent has become increasingly competitive: 23% of companies find it difficult to hold on to their talent year-over-year, up from 18% when the company released its survey last year.

The Portland Tech in Focus: 2023 Trends Report was based on 163 responses to an online survey of Portland-area technology professionals conducted between Oct. 19 and Nov. 19, 2022.

John Boone, president of ProFocus, said in the company’s press release that the survey should raise alarm bells for companies without sufficient focus on employee retention.

“With more than half of Portland’s tech talent willing to leave their current employer, this is a wakeup call for companies to prioritize engaging with their workers, improving company culture, and revisiting compensation before employees leave for other jobs,” says Boone.

Nearly 60% of survey respondents rate their firms poor or average at attracting technology candidates, and 58% of tech workers in non-leadership positions reported being open to changing jobs in 2023, with 42% saying they were actively looking to change jobs and 16% open to considering it.

The survey found having a positive company culture was the biggest factor in employee retention. Tech professionals who rated their firm as excellent at retaining talent also gave their company more favorable ratings on onboarding, training, compensation and innovation. For employees who reported their firm as having excellent retention, 94% said their firm supports work-life balance — compared to 76% of all respondents who say the same. Only 28% of this group reported being overworked, compared to 50% overall.

Portland’s small and medium-size sized companies fared better when it came to retaining talent. Only 15% of small and midsized companies reported that retaining talent is their biggest talent challenge, compared to 40% of companies overall. Small and medium-size firms also offered more training (60% vs. 38% of enterprise firms) and upskilling for new tech (59% vs. 47% enterprise).

While burnout remains a persistent challenge in the tech sector, enterprise workers reported 24% higher burnout and fatigue compared to employees at small and medium-size companies.

Respondents made it clear that salary/compensation, remote work, and meaningful/interesting work were the most important factors when it comes to attracting and retaining tech talent. Despite rising inflation, less than half of respondents (46%) said overall compensation for the tech team is increasing, and only 51% say their company offers competitive market pay.

Remote work also appears here to stay, at least in the tech sector, with 51% of jobs being fully remote, 43% being hybrid remote and in-person, and only 6% of jobs being in the office full-time.

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