Training, Development May Help Retain IT Professionals

Compiled By Gina Protopapa Growing demand for information technology (IT) professionals is far exceeding the supply of skilled workers. According to Kelly IT Resources, a division of Kelly Services Inc., the results of the nationwide survey of 500 IT professionals point to advanced technical training and career-development assistance as necessary incentives to retain and attract skilled employees. The volatile IT job market, resulting from a shallow talent pool, will likely leave half of the 1.6 million open positions unfulfilled, according to the Information Technology Assn. of America. The remedy? Some 70% of IT professionals in the Kelly survey believe that more technical education and training are the best solutions. The other option posed to respondents was to increase immigration of qualified foreign nationals into the U.S. to ease the demand for skilled IT workers; only 40% of those surveyed supported this idea. Not surprisingly, 90% of consultants, software engineers, and other IT professionals feel directly affected by the shortage. One side effect is that the IT job market favors employees over employers; thus the majority of IT workers will change jobs, even though 95% of respondents claim job satisfaction. For instance, 60% of surveyed IT professionals expect to change employers. Of these, 40% were "very certain" and 35% were "somewhat certain" that their job switch will come within three to five years. Ninety-three percent are confident in their ability to find another job with equal or better compensation. The seeming lack of employer loyalty may be attributed to the fact that IT workers identify with their profession more than with their employer. For example, when asked what they do for a living, 74% of those surveyed said they would first refer to their job by its title or the skills involved rather than by the name of their employer.

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