Tips for Hiring and Retaining Top Tech Talent

Tips for Hiring and Retaining Top Tech Talent

Talent in the IT sector has never been more in demand as businesses and organizations rely on increasingly complex technologies and systems and need professionals to help manage, protect, and maintain their IT infrastructure.  Jobs are created within the IT sector very quickly due to these developing technologies, but there is a talent shortage as less people are earning degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.  There are expected to be around 3.5 million unfilled jobs in STEM fields by 2025.

It is crucial for businesses and organizations to not only be able to attract and hire top tech talent, but also retain these professionals to build an effective IT staff.  IT talent is needed to manage and grow your IT infrastructure and provide cybersecurity to protect your business from malware and data breaches.  Knowing how to attract and retain IT talent will help set your business up for success for many years.

In this guide, we will discuss the best ways that businesses and organizations can attract and retain IT talent.  As the demand for IT talent grows while the talent available shrinks, businesses and organizations must understand what IT candidates want from their careers to interest candidates and retain the talent they hire.  Businesses and organizations can also choose to work with a firm that provides managed IT services to ensure that their IT infrastructure is in good hands.

What do Tech Workers Want?

Understanding what tech workers expect from their careers and potential employers is the key to retaining top tech talent.  The LinkedIn Job Switchers Report reveals the top reasons tech workers join the IT sector as well as the top reasons they leave this field which provides excellent insight that can help businesses retain talent.

Why tech workers joined the field:

  • 59% joined for a stronger career path
  • 54% joined for better pay and benefits
  • 47% joined for a more challenging career
  • 47% joined because IT aligned better with their skills and interests
  • 42% joined to make an impact in the field
  • 39% joined because they believed in the company they work for

Why tech workers left the field:

  • 45% left due to lack of opportunities for career advancement
  • 41% left because they were unsatisfied with leadership
  • 36% left because they were unsatisfied with the work culture and environment
  • 36% left to find a more challenging field
  • 34% were unsatisfied with pay and benefits
  • 32% were unsatisfied with rewards and recognition of their work

While fair compensation and benefits are important, the findings of this report show that this is not the main concern for people joining and leaving the tech field.  Most respondents joined the tech field wanting a strong career path and most left the field because they believed they had limited opportunities for career advancement.  Many also left IT feeling unsatisfied with the management and work culture of their employers.

How Can Businesses and Institutions Attract and Retain Tech Talent?

For businesses and organizations to hire and retain top tech talent, they need to offer more than good pay and benefits.  Those with IT talent value opportunities for career growth over benefits and compensation so businesses need to provide these opportunities while maintaining a favorable working environment.

The following are the steps that businesses and organizations should take to help attract and retain IT talent.

1. Offer Competitive Compensation

While compensation and benefits may not be the top concern for IT talent entering and leaving the field, it is still important to offer competitive compensation.  Offering a good salary, benefits, vacations, and bonuses will keep candidates interested.  Even if you provide career advancement opportunities and a good working environment, a candidate may still pass on the position if the compensation is not competitive.

One thing businesses and institutions must remember is that the demand for IT talent puts candidates in a position where they can name their price.  Be prepared to negotiate with new hires as well as current tech employees unsatisfied with their compensation.

2. Provide Opportunities for Learning and Career Advancement

Opportunity for career advancement is a top concern among those entering the IT sector and the top reason talent leaves the field.  In fact, IT employees are 12 times more likely to leave their current employer if they are not given the opportunity to advance and achieve their career goals.

For those within the IT sector to advance, they need opportunities to learn new skills and earn certifications.  However, less than half of those in the field are certified and one of the main reasons is because employers do not provide opportunities or pay for their employees to get certification.

Employers can do the following to provide career advancement opportunities for tech talent:

  • Provide opportunities to learn new skills outside of their daily work with hands-on experience.
  • Support skill development with training resources and offer or pay for certification programs.
  • Practice transparency regarding the direction and challenges of your organization and allow tech employees to ask questions and provide suggestions.
  • Provide clear and constructive feedback during employee evaluations and staff meetings.
  • Ask employees what they want to learn and how they can contribute to what needs to be done.

3. Create a Sense of Purpose

People are generally happier when they feel like they work they do has purpose, and those in the IT sector are no different.  IT employees want to feel a sense of purpose with their work and know that they are contributing to the mission of their employer.  This means that employers must establish a clear mission so that employees understand their goals and can see the difference they make with their work.  Companies with a clear mission have 40% higher levels of retention than those that don’t.

Businesses and organizations can do the following to create a meaningful workplace:

  • Share some decision-making power with your employees.
  • Work with employees to create a career development path for them and discuss their career goals with them.
  • Recognize the effort of your employees and reward their accomplishments.
  • Build a supportive community within your company that helps your employees feel comfortable working together to overcome challenges.

4. Allow for Advancements from Within

With career advancement being a major concern for tech talent, allowing for advancements within your company can help attract and retain more talent.  Creating a work culture that includes promoting from within will increase engagement and retention and develop a pool of strong internal candidates for advancement to higher positions.  This is a win-win for your business and IT staff.

Offering learning programs for your employees to develop new skills and earn certifications will help develop a pipeline of great talent from your junior positions to your senior positions.  This also saves your business the time and money it takes to find external talent.

5. Management Must Commit to Helping Employees Advance

It is very important for the management of businesses and organizations to commit to helping their employees develop and advance.

Around 50% of employees plan on looking for a new job in the next year when they feel undervalued by their direct manager and 75% of employees say that talking to their manager is the worst part of their job.  Management teams that commit to supporting the growth and advancement of their employees greatly reduce turnover.

You can keep management on track with this commitment by measuring their performance in these areas, ensuring they are having conversations with employees about advancing their careers, and talking to employees to discuss their conversations with their direct managers.

6. Create Good Work/Life Balance

It is important for businesses and organizations to provide flexibility that allows for a good work/life balance.  The best way to do this is to offer your employees opportunities to work from home.  Working remotely became the norm for many tech companies during the pandemic as many of the duties of a tech worker can be done from home.  Providing work from home opportunities helps build a level of trust between you and your employees and gives them more flexibility to maintain a favorable work/life balance.

Managed IT Services from PSM

The high demand within the IT sector coupled with a shortage of IT talent makes it more important than ever for businesses and organizations to effectively recruit, hire, and retain top tech talent.  While compensation is important, creating a workplace culture that fosters growth and development for career advancement and providing support for employees on their career journey will help you better retain tech talent and greatly reduce turnover.

One option that is always available to businesses and institutions is to work with an IT staffing company to find IT talent with the right skills and expertise.  PSM provides IT recruitment services that include retained search and staff augmentation.  We will take the time to understand your current IT infrastructure and technology goals to recruit and hire the best candidate for your business.

You can call PSM at (312) 940-7830 for more about the managed IT services and IT consulting we offer.

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