Now that the global recession has eased, it’s no secret that top-performing employees, particularly in areas like engineering and IT, are in prime demand. The tide has turned and for A-level talent, it’s become a candidate’s market once again.

At the same time, there’s a disconnect between how happy company leaders think their IT employees are and the actual levels of satisfaction reported by these employees. While nearly 75 percent of CIOs in a recent survey rated their workers’ job satisfaction levels as high, more than a third of IT employees said they planned to look for another job within the next year.

A leading factor driving top IT pros to seek new employment is the need for additional challenges and career advancement opportunities. CIOs are more likely to retain their top performers if they recognize the values, wants and needs of each of their tech employees and help them build their skills so they opt to move up within their current organization.

  • IT professionals realize their value in today’s career marketplace. They expect employers to provide opportunities for job rotation, knowledgeable managers and colleagues, and a departmental disposition toward learning and development. Researchers found that 30 percent of voluntary turnover in IT was attributed to these factors.
  • Among the most challenging IT positions to fill are Java developers, mobile app programmers and those that demand .NET skills. Historical data tells us that top technical employees stay with an IT services firm an average of three to five years. Especially in these specialized high-demand areas, the responsibility is on the employer to convince them otherwise.
  • In another study, more than 2,500 IT professionals were asked what they considered the top three incentives for staying in their current positions. In addition to growth and development opportunities, leading factors cited were salary, work/life balance and flexible scheduling.

The Impact of Losing IT Talent

When an A-level IT employee resigns, a company faces a financial loss ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 or more. In addition, the organization runs the risk of losing other team members due to stress and frustration as technical needs are not adequately served during the resulting transition period. Ultimately, productivity can plummet as it typically takes between three and 12 months to recruit and bring a new hire up to speed.

Keys to Retention

To keep IT leaders satisfied and engaged, employers must recognize what’s important to them. Survey them regularly to define their wants, needs and values – and give them the chance to take on leadership roles when desired and appropriate.

  • Include them in decision making. Engineers typically want to be heard, so give them platforms to contribute to business solutions.
  • Don’t micromanage. The best technical innovators know how to create the best solutions –with a minimum of day-top-day supervision. Tell them the desired outcome and let them run with it. This allows them to feel they’re in charge of their own path forward.
  • Offer flexible hours. A comfortable work/life balance results in happier, more productive employees.
  • Invest in training and technology. Provide the necessary tools for IT employees to remain at the forefront of industry trends.
  • Give praise and recognition. Celebrate victories, small and large. This makes team members feel appreciated and in sync with your company’s mission.

As you build and retain your industry-leading IT workforce, partner with a recruitment expert from Magellan Search & Staffing to maintain your competitive edge. Contact us today to learn more.