Recruiting and Retention FindingsBy Baselinemag | Posted 2007-06-12 Print
Companies Will Have More IT Openings to Fill
Most companies expect their IT organizations to grow in the next 12 months. In fact, the percentage that says it is expanding its IT organization is bigger than in our August 2006 IT Organization Survey. But this rising tide is lifting some boats more than others. Small and midsize companies are on the lookout particularly for programmers, systems developers and help desk support, which indicates they are focusing on building and implementing new systems that require support. While one in three large companies intends to reduce its IT staff, about half plan to accelerate the hiring of project managers, architects and planners. Respondents at growing IT organizations also tell us they plan to hire more business analysts, systems integrators, networking staff and Web designers. This means intense competition for a short list of critical roles and moderate competition for others.
Not All Companies Are Committed to Career Growth
Higher pay doesn't necessarily buy loyalty. Many, but not most, IT organizations place organizational development at the center of their IT recruiting and retention strategies. They either find employees who seek job security and work/life balance, offer higher pay to highly skilled personnel or provide some mixture of compensation and security. Small and midsize companies prefer to develop their own IT staff or offer job security; large companies are less likely to make long-term commitments. Not surprisingly, companies that do not emphasize development or job security have higher turnover rates. This may be an acceptable trade-off for companies that prefer to jettison IT employees when their skills are no longer needed. However, these companies often lack the staff they require, so the strategy doesn't always mesh with their labor needs.
Flexibility and Career Security Retains Employees
To retain staff, CIOs should focus on career development and work/life balance. IT executives say the main reasons IT staff and managers leave is to take jobs that offer better pay and benefits, let them learn new skills and allow them to reduce their commute, work at home or set their own hours. So what convinces them to stay? Furnishing a good work/life balance is important; companies providing that are much more likely to have relatively low turnover. The benefits that boost retention must provide long-term financial and career security: training in new technical, business and leadership skills, and retirement approaches they can bank on. Bonuses and pay matter too, of course, but not more than these other incentives.
Training Programs Reflect the Short-Term View
Fewer than 40% of companies pay IT pros for college credits. While nearly all companies offer training in the technologies they use, fewer take a longer-term view by providing training in emerging technologies and leadership. Still fewer companieseven those that follow a human capital investment strategyhelp employees advance their education by paying for college courses. That, perhaps, reflects the rising cost of higher education. Interestingly, leadership development programs correlate strongly with retention, which could explain why so many companies have instituted such programs for their IT executives and managers.
College Recruiting Is a Missed Opportunity
Half of respondents say their internship programs are effective recruiting tools. Though companies look for qualified college grads, many IT openings remain empty. Perhaps more would be filled if companies were better at using internships to fill entry-level jobs, and colleges did better preparing graduates for the business world. Very few companies hire master- or doctoral-level IT graduates. Is that because there is a shortage of IT graduates with advanced degrees, or because something is lacking in these programs?
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