IT Jobs are Hot: Will You Lose Your Best People to the Market?
Managers, it’s time to wake up: Skilled IT professionals now enjoy a 98% employment rate.
The recession is over, the tides have turned, and IT employees have regained their power.
Rock-bottom IT unemployment, rising competition for IT talent, and low engagement levels are luring your best talent out the door.
Better opportunities are available to them, and—if you believe the experts—they’re happy to leave.
Note these recent statistics about the IT jobs market:
- Low IT Unemployment: The IT unemployment rate now hovers around 2.5%, the lowest rate reported since 2008. Your best IT professionals have plenty of other job opportunities.
- The IT Talent War: As the US economy continues to recover, Indeed.com posted a telling statistic: IT job postings have grown 12% since July 2014, confirming what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and others have warned. And tech companies are actively improving their benefits to attract and retain top talent.
- Low Engagement Levels: A 2015 Gallup poll states that just 32.5% of professional service employees (including IT) are engaged in their jobs. In other words, more than 65% of staff are indifferent or even potentially hostile to their organizations.
What does this environment of turnover mean for you in hardline business terms?
James Del Monte, a Certified Employee Retention Specialist with JDA Professional Services, ran the numbers on IT retention. It may cost as much as $150,000 to replace an information technology employee who earns a salary of $60,000 a year.
“Much of the expense is in indirect costs such as loss of training, loss of institutional knowledge, productivity losses, consulting fees, and overtime expense,” says Del Monte.
This is the cost to turn over an average IT professional.
Losing a top performer costs much more.
Especially when you include downstream repercussions, such as loss of morale and leadership. The reality is that your average employees are more likely to stay, while your top performers will find opportunities to leave. And your competitors are making it very enticing for them.
Your hardline losses could tally to potentially millions of dollars a year if you’re caught up in a turnstile culture: that constant cycle of recruiting, onboarding, and integrating employees.
The takeaway: You literally can’t afford to lose your people to today’s hot IT jobs market.
How to Solve Your Million-Dollar IT Jobs Retention Issue
Find out what your employees want and give it to them. It may not be what you expect, and it’s not a quick fix, but you have to start today.
Of the three primary factors creating today’s seller’s market for IT professionals—low unemployment, scarce talent, and low engagement rates—you only have control over one of them: your employees’ engagement levels.
A wise adage in HR is, “People don’t leave companies, they leave managers.”
In this market, people have choices. If they’ve chosen you, they will be tempted by the money, the nice offices, the perks offered by others—but ultimately, they will stay if they feel appreciated and can make a contribution. Put in the elbow grease to build a real and lasting connection between your people and your organization, and your top employees will be less likely to sever that connection—no matter what type of salary bump your competitors offer them.
After all, if you look at Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For—which is derived from employee feedback—pay is not the top factor driving these rankings. Instead, it’s the intangible qualities that make people excited to work for you instead of your competitor.
What Your IT Professionals Really Want
To help identify these qualities, we asked hundreds of IT professionals, from CIOs down to individual contributors, “What do you want most from your career?”
Sure, pay was number one—that’s to be expected after years of cutbacks and layoffs.
But would you be surprised that the number two answer for IT executives was appreciation?
Or that the number two answer from IT project managers was the chance to learn new things?
Across all roles, there was a desire to be valued, challenged, and engaged—simple human needs that a manager needs no budget to directly address.
If you satisfy those needs, the rewards can be significant, for you and for your company: an engaged employee is not just an employee who stays, it’s an employee who goes above and beyond to contribute to your organization’s bottom line.
Want to retain your skilled employees, develop your executive skills, and create a better work environment? Reach out and say thank you. Invite a junior manager to update you one-to-one on an important initiative. Challenge your project managers to creatively solve a customer need. Your efforts will pay off when your competitors come calling.
Remember: to engage your staff you yourself have to engage.
To learn more about how to better engage and retain your people, download your free copy of our new report: “What IT Professionals Want”.
If you want to jump-start your engagement efforts, grab our new report “What IT Pros Most Want”. It goes deep into this question of what your people really want from their careers. Give them that, and they’ll never leave.