by John Reed

How to retain and hire the best IT professionals

Nov 23, 2015
CareersIT JobsSalaries

It’s an exciting time to be in IT, but the evolving compensation landscape can certainly cause anxiety as you try to retain existing staff as well as recruit future employees.

tech salary guide hp
Credit: Thinkstock

The IT job market is increasingly competitive – for hiring organizations, that is. With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that unemployment rates for some tech roles are at under one percent, it’s no wonder the job market for certain roles is so tight.

As a team leader, you’ll need to step up your game by making sure your recruitment efforts are effective and that you’re paying attention to employee retention. Now that planning for next year is probably well underway, it’s important to benchmark salaries and determine whether any additions should be made to your team based on upcoming projects or initiatives.

Salary is certainly an important consideration for team members, so compensation and benefits should be top of mind for managers. Each year, Robert Half Technology produces our salary guides, and for the past few years, technology has seen more increase in salaries than most other industries. The results of the 2016 salary guide are no exception as salaries are projected to increase 5.3 percent from 2015. Here are five ways to stay ahead of the pack in the war for tech talent:

  1. Do your homework. You need a strong understanding of how salaries are trending not only for different IT roles nationally and in your city. Use industry research to stay up-to-date on compensation trends. Consult industry experts or members of your professional network to gain an outside perspective and verify your findings.
  2. Be Proactive. Assess the compensation level of your existing staff. Are you paying competitively in comparison to the industry? You don’t have to be the highest-paying firm in town, but you want to be competitive, which means in your local market range. If you’re paying valued employees below the market range, be proactive in addressing the compensation gap. It’s not about across the board raises, but make sure you retain your top team members by offering competitive wages so they don’t look elsewhere. Schedule one-on-one time for these key individuals and create an opportunity to gauge their continued commitment to the company and their role. While compensation is important, it’s not everything. IT pros will leave a job if there’s a lack of advancement opportunities or few new challenges.
  3. Look forward. Examine the compensation levels for open positions your firm is actively recruiting for. Do you have a competitive compensation package budgeted? If you’re not seeing a strong response to open positions, or if you find candidates lose interest once you share the compensation details, you may need to increase the salary to make it more competitive with other firms in your market that want to hire the same talent.
  4. Stay Informed. Compensation trends in IT are somewhat fluid and can fluctuate by market and technical discipline. Monitor trends by following industry subject matter experts to stay on top of current trends, and adjust your business strategy accordingly.
  5. Be flexible. When skilled IT pros are hard to find, you may not get everything you want in candidate. Can you hire an IT manager with three years of experience instead of five years, for example? Can you offer additional training to get a junior developer ready for a developer role?

It’s an exciting time to be in IT, but the evolving compensation landscape can certainly cause anxiety as you try to retain existing staff as well as recruit future employees.

Knowing current IT compensation trends will help you better position yourself to successfully navigate the changes in the marketplace, and stay ahead of your competition for the talent you need to meet your technology business objectives.