Happiness at work

Are People in Tech Less Happy? It Seems Like It

André Francois
André Francois 2023-12-06

What is happening in tech?

The OpenAI board coup. Elon yelling at his advertisers. Is anyone happy these days?

The Wall Street Journal and Bamboo HR put out an eNPS survey of 1,600 companies, a large part of them in tech. The purpose was to find out what employees felt about their workplace and overall satisfaction at work.

The survey revealed the following:

  • Compensation is higher
  • Work-life balance is better
  • Benefits spending has gone up 20%
  • Employees have more freedom

And yet:

  • Employees are the unhappiest they’ve been at least since 2020
  • 34% of employees don't want to begin their workday - up from 11% in 2020

So paying more hasn’t helped much. And work from home and hybrid may be valued, but it doesn’t seem to make folks happier than they used to be.

So what is going on? We will try to figure it out!

3+ years of a mental rollercoaster

In the whirlwind of the past 3+ years, where ups and downs have become the norm, are we any closer to the elusive state of happiness? A recent revelation from the Wall Street Journal suggests that many employees now view their roles as mere transactions. Does that resonate with you? Well, you are not alone but it might have an impact on your happiness.

The newest hires are the least happy

The data also suggested the newest hires are the least happy. That might be linked to the fact that more employees view their roles as transactional and therefore don't invest their time and energy fully. With one foot outside the company, it might be hard to experience the commitment, belonging, and passion we all need to thrive and feel positive.

Is the old playbook of paying more and giving more autonomy dead?

Unlocking commitment and satisfaction has always been linked to the magic combo of better pay and increased autonomy. But is that playbook still holding the winning strategy, or has it taken an unexpected plot twist? While it might not be entirely obsolete, the past 3+ years have certainly made the journey through career choices and staying focused on a single position more challenging. For all of us.


Tech people might be less happy today than a couple of years ago but it has also been quite a rollercoaster for most of them. A rollercoaster that better comp, freedom, and other benefits haven't been able to fully beat. I think it is well worth remembering that committing to one career, one company, and doing so over time, has often been greatly rewarded. It can also make it easier to accomplish something bigger and feel connected. Two things that most certainly have a positive impact on our happiness.

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