As a Career Counsellor at Sunstone Business School, I interact with many tech professionals from diverse experiences and skills. I also conduct weekly webinar sessions and engage with these professionals. In all my webinar sessions, I do multiple polls and one of my favourite questions in these polls is:
“If I leave my job today, will my company find someone else to do my job at less salary than me?”
The replacement test:
This is what I call a replacement test. For objectivity, there are 3 options to this question:
♦ Definitely yes
♦ Yes, even if that person can’t do all the activities of my job
♦ Definitely not
I collected the answers of ~5,000 professionals for past 6 months. These professionals are mostly knowledge workers with experience ranging from 3 years to 20 years and coming from industries such as IT services, enterprise products, internet, mobility, semiconductor, telecom. Here are the answers:
Interpretation of replacement test:
These are fascinating answers. Remember, this question was asked to individuals about what do they think about their company’s reaction if they resign today. This wasn’t asked to their managers or peers- it was their own conclusion.
There is a straightforward interpretation for these results:
♦ 92% professionals believe that they will be replaced by someone getting less salary, if they resign today
♦ Hence, your resignation will allow your company to reduce cost. That is certainly good news for the company.
♦ If you extrapolate it further, your company might be waiting for you to resign today.
This might sound scary but it isn’t farfetched.
What can you do to change it?
First, why so many professionals believe that? Many tech professionals are working as process workers by being part of certain process. They were easily trainable and hence, they become productive for their respective companies. But, here is the reality- as processes mature, they become more automated and other people can also be trained for that. It’s a continuous cycle! If you aren’t adding beyond that process knowledge, you are easily replaceable. So, what can you do to change it?
If you are simply doing what you have been told to, you are a process worker. Think what you can add to your organization beyond following process steps. Anything, you can do to add direct business value to your organization. Nobody will force you to do this, but you need to for your own growth. Few things I have seen working-
♦ Working with account management, business development team to help them win business. Build relationship with them.
♦ Going extra mile to form relationships with client.
♦ Contribute to stakeholders meeting by building business perspective.
♦ Start seeing yourself as a business problem solver rather than just a tech professional
♦ Own meetings, calls and agenda. Make things happen. Don’t simply take notes.
♦ Do the right things to gain trust of people who drive business
Finally, it’s about coming out of your comfort zone and being proactive for your growth. Your company is not obliged to solve your growth-they are simply providing the environment to grow. When we started our career, we did well by simply following clear instructions from our managers. But, we can’t keep growing by doing the same forever. Experience by itself means nothing, if it doesn’t come with right skills and attitude.