What does it take to hire and retain technical talent?

What does it take to hire and retain technical talent?

Finding and keeping talented IT employees isn’t easy as IT departments take on more responsibilities.

IT managers say now more than ever they struggle to find qualified IT employees and to keep key talent on staff, while tasked with delivering ever more services to the business.

The concerns certainly are not new, but they are growing in importance, according to the

"The challenges with attracting talent stems from a pipeline of qualified candidates that isn't as large as the demand companies are seeing for new people, which is a good thing for our discipline," says Jerry Luftman, SIM's vice president of academic affairs. "It's good news that the amount of resources being demanded from IT are on the rise, but it's happening at the same time a large number of workers are leaving the workforce."

As a result, IT managers say they wrestle often with the challenge of hiring people that fit well into their organization in the hopes they won't lose the talent quickly.

"I do worry about getting IT talent in house. Ours, and many other [human resources] departments that are not within a technology company, do not set salaries in relevant ranges," says Michael Nix, assistant director of communications technology for IT Services at the Kansas University Hospital Authority. "It is often a battle with HR to ensure the position is properly classified and compensated. As the market picks up, there is a greater demand and higher salaries, and we are often behind that power curve."

Adding to the hiring challenge is the fact that fewer computer science, information systems and technology graduates are entering the job market while several veteran workers are planning for retirement.

"There is a concern regarding an aging workforce, and the province expects to lose close to one-third of the IT workforce through retirement over the next few years," says Martin Webb, manager of data network operations, Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Services in Canada. "With new housing starts on the rise, there has been a large focus on careers within the trades. This has taken away from the emphasis on IT, and the local colleges have seen a drop in enrollment -- which has resulted in a reduction of available new talent."

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