IT Shops Worried About Brain Drain, Says CareerBuilder
May 17, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The economy must be on the mend. According to a recent survey of IT shops performed by CareerBuilder, IT managers are shifting gears from cutting costs to worrying about how to retain their top talent.
Respondents to the survey, which was conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris International, included 203 IT managers and 245 IT employees between February 10 and March 2 in the United States. Nearly half of those sitting on the employer side of the bargaining table–45 percent–said they are worried about losing some of their top talent in the current second quarter (which was in the future back when the survey was conducted). And with good reason, apparently, since a third of the IT workers sitting on the other side of that bargaining table said they would probably start looking for a new job when the economy picks up.
“Many of the challenging decisions IT employers made during the recession were designed to maintain the health of their organizations,” explained Eric Presley, who is chief technology officer at CareerBuilder, which is a partnership between three newspaper companies–Gannett, Tribune, and McClatchy–and Microsoft. (I did not know that.) “Those necessary decisions related to headcount, salaries, and strategy certainly had an impact on IT employee morale. As the economy improves, though, companies are looking to a variety of different programs to help mend the affect the recession had on their workforce.”
Of those IT workers taking the survey, 22 percent said they were not happy with their pay, 17 percent said they were not happy about their work/life balance, and 23 percent were dissatisfied with their career advancement possibilities at their current firms. What CareerBuilder did not say–and what is the important factor to consider–is if this is the top or bottom quarter of the IT staff, or spread out around the organization at different employee experience or job levels. No word on whether this is high or low compared to normal, but I think having about a quarter of your employees unhappy at any time, recession or not, sounds about normal. I am my own employer half the time, and I don’t like what I do to myself about one day a week.
Those IT employees looking for work are seeking companies with strong books and financial prospects (69 percent of those sending out resumes) and career advancement possibilities (64 percent). A good work culture, a sense of ownership in their work, a feeling that they can make a difference, flexible work schedules, training and education, less stress, and more camaraderie also ranked high on the wish list.