An IT Staffing Solution: Retain top talent in 2011

There has been a flurry of research, polls and articles about the recruiting challenges technology organizations will face in 2011. Findings suggest the available IT talent pool lacks experienced professionals who possess both high-demand skills and business intelligence. This month, the Atlanta Business Chronicle  asked several Atlanta tech insiders to discuss their industry. When asked what the biggest hurdles facing Atlanta's tech industry in 2011, respondents such as Michael Noel, CIO at PRGX Global, Inc. stated that recruiting and retaining talent is a major issue. 

At Agile, we've been talking alot about this very topic for the past six months. In our last blog, "Tips for the IT job seeker with high demand skills" we cited the recent Dice survey that found 38 percent of respondents said it is taking them longer to fill positions now compared to this time last year, and 52 percent of those said it’s because they cannot find qualified professionals.

Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report for the first quarter of 2011 provides further evidence that recruting top IT talent is a key concern for technology leaders. In the report, 54 percent of CIOs said it is very or somewhat challenging to find skilled IT professionals.

While we recognize (based on IT's precise requirements) that finding those highly qualified workers will be a challenge for recruiters and employers in 2011, we also know that the pool of top IT talent in the Southeast is second to none. Though it may take longer to find the "perfect" hire, there is one thing IT organizations can do in the meantime -- retain their existing top IT performers. 

Earlier this year, Agile's blog Don't lose your star performers: how CIOs can retain top talent provided CIOs several tactics to help improve employee retention. To summarize, management must:

  • Listen, learn and respond to employees' needs
  • Promote and offer training
  • Keep employees interested and engaged
  • Recognize and embrace soft skills
  • Get employees out of the office
  • Recognize performance

It goes without saying that employers must also offer competitive salary and benefits to keep top performers from jumping ship.

Retain top IT talentReducing turnover in 2011 will be paramount as IT leaders search for highly skilled workers to fill new positions within their organizations. These job searches may take longer to fill than previously, therefore, keeping those employees who consistenly produce and generate results will help to move the organization forward until additional staff is in place.

Early next year, Agile will publish a whitepaper that will go much more in-depth about today's transformed IT job market, and hiring strategies technology leaders will need to consider to remain competitive. Until then, what will you do in 2011 to ensure retention while focusing on hiring new top talent? Do you have a plan in place?

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