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What Do DBAs Want Out of Their Jobs?

Author: Eric Russo | | March 15, 2022


The Great Resignation shows no signs of letting up anytime soon, as 4.5 million workers in the U.S. quit their jobs in November 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Keeping DBA teams fully staffed was hard enough pre-pandemic, but the current talent shortages, high turnover rates, and employee burnout rates have created a sourcing crisis. Understanding what DBAs value in their jobs helps your organization retain your team and bring in new talent.

Skills Development

A recent survey of tech workers conducted by TalentLMS and Workable found that, after salary and benefits, learning and development opportunities are a top priority. Many DBAs want to learn more about the systems they support, investigate new solutions, and continue to expand their technology skill sets.

When your DBA team has access to a robust skills development program, they can pursue their intellectual interests and upskill into high-demand areas. Rather than cutting down your potential talent pool to a few select candidates that every other database team is after, you can look for staff with a solid foundation and build their knowledge in-house.

Offering skills development opportunities also means that the work pace accommodates learning. DBAs will only get frustrated if they are too busy to use this benefit. Free up time by partnering with an MSP with database expertise to take over some duties, such as support, monitoring, and routine maintenance.

Workplace Flexibility

Remote work adoption rapidly increased due to the pandemic, and Gartner predicted that 51% of global knowledge workers would hold remote positions at the end of 2021. DBAs working remotely gain many benefits, such as eliminating commute times, being able to work where they choose, and improving their work-life balance. What’s especially important is giving DBAs disconnect time, as work from home can lead to work spilling over into their personal time.

As more organizations migrate databases to cloud platforms from on-premises, remote DBA roles become even easier to support. Not every DBA position is suitable for remote roles, but you can offer workplace flexibility in other ways, such as:

  • Giving more control to the DBA over work hours and days
  • Offering part-time schedules without taking away benefits
  • Setting up hybrid work schedules
  • Removing on call shifts
  • Allowing DBAs to choose the technology they work with

Clear Career Progression

Do your DBAs see a long-term future with your organization, with the career progression and technology learning that they’re looking for? You want to make these paths as clear and transparent as possible, so your employees and candidates don’t have to guess about the process.

Ideally, you would offer technical and management options, as not every DBA wants to move onto a leadership track. Get feedback from your DBA team about what they would like to work towards and support their professional development. You want to avoid putting your DBAs in a position where they need to move to another organization to advance their career.

Creating a comprehensive organization chart can be helpful in mapping out different tracks and connecting DBAs with mentors in those roles.


An abundance of job opportunities during the Great Resignation has reduced DBA tolerance for toxic work environments and disrespect. The types of respect that workers look for include:

  • Managers and leaders that are fair, communicative, and supportive of their work
  • Developing manager skills to improve their quality
  • Acting quickly to address workplace issues
  • Acknowledgment of their accomplishments and the opportunity to showcase their work
  • A company culture that understands that there are people behind the DBA roles, and provide policies, procedures, and resources that lead to work-life balance and improved well-being for each individual
  • Keeping DBAs engaged and interested in their work by catering to their professional interests
  • Making it simple for DBAs to offer feedback
  • Empowering DBAs to make strategic decisions


The pandemic has instilled uncertainty in every aspect of life, and people are looking for stability where they can find it. Job security is the first priority, but knowing whether the organization is stable as a whole is also critical.

DBAs need to trust that the company is around long term, with the stability required to support their career goals. Promoting transparency and keeping your DBA team in the loop of significant milestones and goals helps to reassure them.


Are your DBAs proud of the projects they work on? Do they brag about what they’re doing to their peers? DBAs are talented workers who want to feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment. When their values align with your organization’s, and they have the opportunity to work on exciting and impactful opportunities, they are happier.

Creating the ideal work environment and roles for your current and future DBA team members revolves around these priorities. Download our white paper “Planning IT Staffing During the Great Resignation” to learn more about DBA and IT career motivations and talent sourcing.

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