IT professionals have cared more about flexible remote work arrangements than job security during COVID-19.

That’s according to a new survey by recruiter Hays which measured the importance of certain aspects of jobs across Australian industries.

Across the economy, workers picked job security as being important in this time of ongoing uncertainty, but 76 per cent of IT workers surveyed by recruitment company Hays said remote work was their top priority.

Job security came in third, after being able to access to online communication and collaboration tools.

“This crisis has upended the professional lives of many, and the shock brought on by rapid change and uncertainty has been unsettling,” said Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays ANZ.

“In time, competition for the top talent will heat up once more and careers will progress again with certainty.”

For now, the local job market remains lukewarm.

On one hand, the number of job advertisements has risen in recent months, but the latest data from Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed a continued decrease in the amount of wages paid through one-touch payroll.

Technology has undoubtedly been crucial to life in the time of coronavirus as it drove the shift to remote work and kept people connected during lockdowns.

Sadly, while 86 per cent of IT professionals surveyed by Hays said they had worked from home this year, the cohort also reported feeling isolated and lonely while working remotely at a higher rate than the national average.

Software developers around the world have struggled with the changes to work and lifestyle brought about by COVID-19 – but many Australian workers still say they are not quite ready to head back to the office.

Only a quarter of workers surveyed by Hays said the level of mental health and wellbeing support has increased from their employers, though that rate is slightly higher for people in IT and HR.

But a majority of employers have said they want to make staff wellbeing a priority in the coming months.

Nick Deligiannis said employers needed to be aware of what their existing and potential need during the transition out of COVID-19.

“After all, retaining top talent has always been of strategic importance, however it will need to become even more of a priority if organisations are to engage and retain their best people to return to growth as quickly as possible,” he said.