Booming IT jobs market leading to increasing employee turnover

The development and implementation of new technologies is creating both opportunities and challenges in the IT job market. Read more here.

  • 71% of Australian CIOs say voluntary employee turnover among permanent IT professionals has increased over the last three years, and is highest in large organisations (83%). 
  • Of the CIOs who say voluntary employee turnover has increased, 46% say it’s because of more IT jobs in the market. 
  • The average tenure of permanent IT employees is currently 4.6 years. 

The development and implementation of new technologies is creating both opportunities and challenges in the IT job market, according to new independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half. More than seven in 10 (71%) Australian CIOs say voluntary employee turnover – defined as employees freely resigning – among permanent IT professionals within their organisation has increased over the last three years, with one in five (20%) saying the increase has been “significant”. Only 3% states it has decreased. 

With reports suggesting the number of IT workers in Australia will increase from 600,000 in 2014 to 722,000 in 2020 [1], IT professionals are presented with an increase in job opportunities to move to more lucrative roles in a market characterised by a burgeoning skills shortage. And with 31% of IT employees leaving the organisation in two years or less according to Australian CIOs, employers need to continue to focus on staff retention initiatives to keep their top performers long-term amidst a booming IT jobs market. 

The research, which surveyed 160 Australian CIOs, reveals voluntary IT employee turnover is highest in large organisations (83%), followed by medium (77%) and small-sized organisations (52%). 

Of the CIOs who say voluntary employee turnover has increased in the past three years, the top five reasons are: more IT job opportunities in the market (46%), poor career progression prospects within the company (41%), concern over company performance and fear of redundancies (36%), poor work-life balance (34%), and a desire for more diverse career experiences (32%). 

Andrew Morris, Director of Robert Half Australia said: “The technology market is booming, creating an abundance of opportunities for talented IT professionals as companies increasingly adopt new technologies that require specialised skillsets to manage them. In this market, in-demand IT professionals who are ambitious to explore new career opportunities will seek to move elsewhere – simply because they can.” 

“Losing top performers can negatively affect a company’s bottom line in many ways, from reduced productivity and staff morale to increased recruitment and training costs, as well as the loss of company knowledge and experience, highlighting the need for companies to have a proactive and well-developed staff retention strategy.” 

“Whilst exploring new career opportunities is the prerogative of the individual employee, IT employers can take certain steps to reduce staff turnover by listening and addressing their employees’ concerns before they escalate. Regular salary benchmarking, providing challenging projects and career progression opportunities as well as employee recognition are all effective retention measures,” concluded Andrew Morris. 

[1] Deloitte, 2017, Australia’s Digital Pulse 2017

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About the research
The annual study was developed by Robert Half Australia and was conducted in June - July 2017 by an independent research company. The study is based on 160 interviews with CIOs/CTOs from companies across Australia, with the results segmented by company size, sector and geographic location. 

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