Posted by David Jones on 15 May 2014
Recruiting and retaining great IT staff can be a tricky process.
Skilled IT professionals are essential for keeping our increasingly digital businesses ticking, but how do you make sure you identify and retain the right talent?
The difficulties of finding skilled IT professionals
Recent research by Robert Half found that many businesses are struggling to keep their IT department adequately filled. According to the company’s Salary Guide, one-third of the companies surveyed said they found it very challenging to hire skilled IT professionals today, and an additional 62 per cent claimed it was somewhat challenging.
A mere 5 per cent of businesses claimed that they didn't have any difficulties.
Toughest positions to fill
The majority of businesses named software development as the most challenging position to fill. The top five functional areas most businesses struggled with included:
- Software development (37 per cent)
- Security (32 per cent)
- Data/database management (25 per cent)
- Networking (24 per cent)
- Applications development (23 per cent).
Most desirable IT skills
When looking at the technical skills most in demand in IT departments, network administration and engineering led the pack with 28 per cent. However, database management was a close second, with 27 per cent, and programming languages, wireless network management and telecommunications support all weighed in with 26 per cent each.
It's not only finding good IT professionals that can be tricky, there's also the worry that your staff will be tempted to jump ship for a better offer. The Salary Guide found that 58 per cent of businesses were somewhat concerned that their top-performing employees might be poached, and 27 per cent indicated they were very concerned about the prospect.
Good ways to secure new IT staff
If your business is struggling to find suitable IT experts, why not re-evaluate what you’re offering them? When looking for a permanent position, IT professionals will be tempted by solid salary offers and good benefits, but will also want to see the potential for stimulating projects and ways to engage their creative side. Does your company adopt the latest technologies or allow employees to engage in further staff training and development?
Organisations should consider holding innovation days - anything from annually to quarterly - in order to tap into creative ideas. This not only benefits the business, but more importantly, allows employees to contribute in innovative ways outside of their day-day work responsibilities.
Another option to fulfil staff shortages can be a temporary hire, particularly when it comes to one-off projects. Highly-specialised staff can be hired exclusively for the project, and it also gives you time to assess whether someone might be suitable for a more permanent role should the need arise.
At times you may need to call in the professionals, a recruitment agency that is highly skilled at candidate searches and strategic staffing. This will save you both time and effort in interviewing and screening candidates yourself.
For more insights into hiring and retaining staff, take a closer look at the Robert Half Salary Guide.