People who have jobs and who aren’t currently looking for a new job are referred to as “passive” candidates – as opposed to “active” candidates who are engaged in a job search. Passive candidates are usually happy in their current positions. Given the speed and magnitude of technological change, it behooves even passive candidates to keep an eye on what’s happening in the IT job market.

Results from a recent Randstad Technologies survey of IT professionals in the U.S., Canada, and Australia paint an interesting picture of their attitudes regarding their current positions and openness to taking a new job.

When asked about their level of satisfaction with their current position, the percentages broken down by country of those respondents who are either extremely satisfied or very satisfied follow:

  • U.S. – 83%
  • Canada – 75%
  • Australia – 41%

When these currently employed IT professionals were then asked about their job seeking status they were given four choices from which to select:

  1. I am actively looking for another position
  2. I am scanning the market to see what is available
  3. I am open to another position if I was contacted about one
  4. I am not open to another position right now.

Even in the U.S. and Canada, with their high rankings of job satisfaction, only 24% and 14% respectively indicated that they were not open to another position. So about 4 out of 5 in the U.S. and 3 out of 4 in Canada are satisfied in their current jobs, but only 1 out of 4 in the U.S. and only about 1 out of 7 in Canada would rule out leaving their current jobs. For Australia only 2 out of 5 are satisfied with their jobs, and only 1 out of 7 were not open to a new job. The numbers for the Australian IT professionals indicate higher levels of job dissatisfaction to go along with their willingness to move on.

Perhaps the openness to a new job, even when one is satisfied in their current job, has to do with the belief that the “ideal” job is out there. When asked whether reaching their ideal position was very feasible and within reach, the positive responses across geographical boundaries were similar:

  • U.S. – 80%
  • Canada – 82%
  • Australia – 77%

The openness of so many satisfied job holders to leave their current positions has implications for even passive candidates, which we’ll address in a subsequent article.