New business growth will mean increased headcounts for IT departments, but it's equally important to retain employees through strong rewards programs.
Posted Jul 12, 2006
CIOs are shifting their priorities from managing costs to supporting business growth, according to the latest study by Gartner Executive Programs (EXP), and IT headcounts will increase as a result. The survey of 188 U.S. businesses revealed that 61 percent of survey respondents have projected some level of increase in IT staff for the next 12-month period. At the same time, the survey also reported a one percent increase in employee-initiated turnover rate across the board compared with last year's survey results. The average FY06 base salary increase for IT employees is expected to rise as well, to 3.6 percent, a 0.1 percent increase over the FY05 budget.
For the past five years companies have been under severe pressure to halt or decrease investment in recruitment and development of the IT workforce. That's no longer the case, says Lily Mok, research director for Gartner EXP's human capital management content development group. "The high demand for project management in recent years and an increasing need for seasoned professionals in architecture and planning support are the CIO's strategic priorities," Mok says. "This includes delivering projects that enable business growth, link business and IT strategic plans, and improve IT governance."
The survey also reported on some of the hard-to-fill IT positions as well as hot skills in the current market. Project manager remained the hardest position to fill, followed by database administrator, which was number four on the 2005 list. Enterprise architect, network architect, and Internet/Web architect are among the top-six difficult-to-hire positions. Perhaps surprisingly, security analyst dropped from the third position last year to seventh place this year. ERP software and Internet/Web-related development skills (for example, Java, J2EE, and Microsoft .NET), as well as IT compliance skills are among the top skills to recruit.
Mok says part of the reason why security analyst fell isn't because security is not an important part of the CIO's strategy: "Many organizations have already staffed up the security function in the past couple of years."
While locating and hiring the latest IT experts is important, Mok says it's equally important for IT directors to keep who they have due to their experience and familiarity with the company's systems. "If CIOs are to meet and exceed the business expectations placed on them, they most continue to develop and retain their IT workforce."
To keep who they've got, Mok says businesses should offer their IT employees a total rewards strategy, which means offering their IT staffers more than just yearly raises. "This includes short and long-term incentives, benefits and recognition, and advancement up the IT ladder."
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