Hire and hold IT staff in 2015: The Reg's how-to guide

Beware ex-colleagues, think beyond pay packet


Employers beware – after years of relative inactivity, job seekers are gearing up for change. Economic improvements and an increase in business confidence have led to a burgeoning jobs market and an epidemic of itchy feet.

While a certain amount of staff churn is inevitable – and even good – new research from IT recruiter Hays suggesting that 65 per cent of IT professionals expect to move jobs in the next 12 months has propelled IT staff recruitment and retention even higher up the corporate agenda as a sense of urgency, particularly among those employing niche skills in short supply - quite rightly sets in.

Employee churn aside, the Hays survey also found that 68 per cent of IT employers plan to increase headcount over the next 12 months, and 85 per cent are already concerned that they will encounter a shortage of suitable candidates.

There is plenty employers can do to tap into the burgeoning recruitment market, but be warned: you should have a game plan for hiring the best and setting salaries at an appropriate level.

Andy Wilton, CIO for independent managed services provider Claranet, told The Reg: “The effect of this is to push up salaries and increases the number of recruiters targeting our staff.”

According to Hays, salaries for some IT roles, including chief information security officers, software architects, project managers and developers, have risen more than 10 per cent in the past year. Counter offers are becoming prevalent as employers compete for the best talent.

More than half of UK employees had been offered a job by an ex-colleague and of those, almost a third – 27 per cent - had accepted the offer.

Lee Chant, managing director of Hays Information Technology, said there are pockets of very significant rises in IT salaries, which have been fuelled by skill shortages. “Jobseekers often have the pick of two or three jobs, they get snapped up quickly by employers and they often receive a counter offer from their current employer, which can push their salary up even further,” Chant said.

Supply and demand economics dictate that to get the people you want, you’re going to have to pay the going rate. Salary surveys based on actual job placements will give you a good indication of benchmark figures but bear in mind they won’t necessarily include bonuses and other benefits, or give you a breakdown of salary and bonuses.

A poll of 1,059 UK workers, conducted by Opinion Matters for Adecco in July, found that more than half of UK employees had been offered a job by an ex-colleague and of those, almost a third – 27 per cent - had accepted the offer. Therefore having strategies in place to stop your best staff leaving has to be your starting point.

The good news is that it doesn’t always boil down to the size of the pay packet. “There’s no silver bullet here and businesses need to do 101 small things to make sure that they remain attractive to their staff,” Wilton said.

Claranet’s own research has found that giving people a level of autonomy, responsibility and a healthy working environment serves to drastically improve their chances of staying put.

Next page: Don't let go!

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