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6 Tips on Recruiting and Retaining IT Talent

by Samantha Kalany

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

More and more, top IT talent is hard to find – and keep. CompTIA reports U.S. employers posted 3.6 million tech jobs in 2021 and projects 178,000 net new tech jobs for 2022. Software skills are by far the most in-demand, followed by IT support specialists, cybersecurity and systems engineers, network engineers, and database and data scientists. Those job postings outnumber qualified people to fill them, and IEEE research found that filling open tech positions is “very challenging” or “somewhat challenging” for 73 percent of organizations.

Furthermore, The Great Resignation is creating additional IT workforce challenges. Employees are on the move, whether due to pent-up demand for job changes during pandemic shutdowns, taking advantage of new opportunities with startups, or getting a boost in title at a different company. The phenomenon that began in 2021 doesn’t show any signs of slowing yet, with 4.5 million people quitting their jobs in March 2022.

Although the IT recruiting landscape is competitive and employees may be tempted to leave to fill open positions at other companies, you can build a strategy that helps you find and retain the talent you need. Here are a half-dozen tips:

At a minimum, your strategy should include offering salary, benefits, and perks equal to or greater than other companies competing for the prospective employee you have your eye on. But IT talent looking for their first job or ready to make a change will be looking for more. Consider offering to support continuing education; Lorman Education Services research has found that employee retention is 30 percent to 50 percent higher in companies that support learning. Also, benefits focused on health and wellness, retirement savings and bonuses, and parental leave can also tip the scales in your business’ favor.

Just as your solutions are known in the market, information about what it’s like to work at your company also gets around. If you are struggling to find IT talent willing to interview, even if you offer an attractive employment package, take time to evaluate the impression job candidates have of your business. Asking applicants a few questions during the application or vetting process can provide insights. Also, consider how companies competing for IT talent compare to your organization as employers. If you discover negative impressions, make changes.

Although you should post job openings on every job board and employment site where IT talent in your market will look, you can do more to rise above the noise and get information out about the position you need to fill. One way is to encourage each person on your team to share information about the job opening with their networks – and, even better, to always keep their eyes open for people who would be good members of your team. A personalized invitation to explore working for your company can be more effective than a brief job description – and your employees can share first-hand how great it is to work at your company.

IT Talent

Take a pulse check on company culture to ensure your employees have great things to say about working for you. Make sure you have articulated clear company goals and that you share them with your team, get their buy-in, and set clear expectations for each employee. In addition to getting everyone on the same page to avoid confusion, frustration, and conflict, also ensure you minimize stress in other ways by fostering respect among team members, finding ways to acknowledge a job well done, and adding some humor to the workday. Keep this in mind: It’s harder to leave a place you genuinely like to be.

Forcing your team to come back to the office after pandemic shutdowns 8 to 5, five days per week may be hurting your chances to keep them – and may be a deal-breaker for new employees. The 2022 State of Remote Work from Buffer found that 97 percent of people want to work remotely at least part-time now and throughout their careers. Your operations may require in-person meetings and collaboration from time to time, but your employees may often work independently. Offer as much flexibility as possible in schedules to attract and retain IT talent.

Job candidates and your current team represent various talents, skills, and experience. Matching employees with jobs they do well will increase a prospective hire’s enthusiasm to join your team and allow your current team to experience success. This includes more than a person’s resume. Look at the soft skills they possess and their passions to determine where they can bring the most value to your team. Forcing the proverbial square peg into a round hole will only lead to job dissatisfaction.

It’s Important to Get It Right in a Volatile IT Talent Landscape

In addition to making good hires to keep production at a maximum and build continuity in your team, you also need a hiring strategy that protects your bottom line. Although the exact costs of onboarding a new employee will vary, recruiting, administration, processing documents, benefits enrollment, training, and mentoring all add up. A benchmark report from SHRM estimates the average cost per hire is about $4,125. It’s not an expense a business can withstand regularly – and it’s not time you routinely want to take away from your core responsibilities and your customers.

Ensure your next hire is a good fit for your company and work to retain all employees by creating an environment that provides the greatest possible job satisfaction and job success.

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