If and when the job market opens up in 2010, you can be assured that senior technology management will be concerned about keeping talented employees. Avoiding losing the best employees is a key issue for many CIOs, according to a recent survey by staffing company Robert Half Technology. Other recent studies from 2009 predict that small raises and professional development training will occur next year.
Supply and demand for technology jobs follows the economy, and when more job openings start to appear you can bet that bidding wars between competitors for the best employees will take hold. Senior technology managers, including CIOs, understand this all too well. In the Nov. 17 Robert Half Technology study, 43 percent of 1,400 CIOs surveyed said they see talent retention as one of their top priorities in 2010.
"Companies may have to work at 'reselling' themselves to existing employees in much the same way they would when promoting themselves to prospective hires," RHT Executive Director Dave Willmer said in a statement.
When retention strategies arise, compensation always seems to be in play. But is that all there is?
For those companies that can't give raises in 2010, Willmer suggested opening up areas like professional development training, developing formal career advancement discussions and communicating with employees about the direction they want to go (aka "re-recruitment"), and publicly showing appreciation for jobs well done. Willmer also encourages more team-building, hiring contract workers to help alleviate workloads and consistently communicating with staff on balancing workloads, changes to projects, and appraisal of work.
In the RHT survey, 21 percent of surveyed CIOs said they plan on offering more paid training and tuition reimbursement in 2010-something that has dramatically decreased or has been eliminated in 2009 in many companies.
"Technology teams, in particular, are experiencing rising workloads as businesses move forward with projects previously put on hold," Willmer said. "Employers need to focus on preventing burnout and keeping their best people engaged at work. This may be a challenge, given that staffing cuts and the reduction or elimination of benefits have left many employees feeling overworked and undervalued."
As far as raises in 2010 go, however, there is some good news. Compensation expert Hewitt Associates asserts that most companies will be increasing salaries, though they are expected to be meager. Salary increases will range from 2.3 to 2.5 percent, said Hewitt Associates, and in a recent Wall Street Journal article looking at the Hewitt survey, 83 percent of companies polled will increase salaries in 2010. Any increase in salary will be seen as a good thing by workers-as long as those raises get employees above the inflation rate, something professor Peter Cappelli of U. Penn's Wharton Business School pointed out in the article.
According to another recent study by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a staffing company, nearly half of companies are reversing hiring freezes and will be looking to give raises to top performers. Laura Sejen, practice director in strategic rewards at Watson Wyatt, told the WSJ:
"Since there wasn't much money to go around in 2009, in 2010, you can expect employers to focus on delivering larger pay increases to their top performers. These are the employees who drive company performance and are likely to be targeted by competitors who are selectively looking to hire away talent."