How CIOs Attract and Retain Talent

By Allan Alter Print this article Print

When companies don't commit to their employees, employees won't commit to their companies. CIOs must ask whether they are better off with loyal employees or a more fluid workforce.

Every time we ask IT executives about recruiting and retaining IT talent, they tell us it's becoming more difficult—and more confusing. Despite outsourcing, are companies still committed to their employees' career growth and development? Are employers still recruiting IT college graduates? To shed light on these issues, we devoted this year's survey on IT organizations to recruiting, retention and development.

It turns out many companies regard their IT staffs as a resource, and have made investing in that resource the foundation of their IT human resources strategy. Others focus on providing work/life balance to retain employees. Both strategies help firms do a better job of filling openings than strategies based primarily on compensation. High-paying companies may be able to hire top technical talent, but they risk losing these skilled employees to companies that offer more money or sexier projects. Even CIOs who can't offer long-term job stability should consider offering career security—benefits such as training, retirement packages and flexible work schedules that let IT professionals and managers stay in IT, save for retirement and balance work and family.

This year's survey also presents a challenge to the academic community. Half of IT executives say today's college graduates are not well equipped for the work world. That means they need substantial training to get up to speed. But will large companies, which do the lion's share of college IT recruiting, be willing to invest in new graduates at a time when so many are relying on outsourcers and contractors?

In this story:
Research Study: Recruiting and Retention Findings
June 2007 Research Slideshow: Recruiting and Retention
Methodology: How the Survey was Done

This article was originally published on 2012-05-04
Executive Editor

Allan Alter has been a specialist on information technology management, strategy and leadership for many years. Most recently, he was editor-in-chief and the director of new content development for the MIT Sloan Management Review. He has been a columnist and department editor at Computerworld, where he won three awards from the American Society of Business Press Editors. Previously he was a special projects editor, senior editor and senior writer for CIO magazine. Earlier, Alter was an associate editor for Mass High Tech. He has edited two books: The Squandered Computer: Evaluating the Business Alignment of Business Technologies and Redesigning the Firm.

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