The competition to attract and retain information technology professionals in the United States is not going to ease up anytime soon. The results of a study just released by Hewitt Associates LLC, Lincolnshire, Ill., show that companies are having to pay more for IT talent and wait longer to fill IT positions. The Hewitt Associates 1999 HOT Technologies Survey of 224 companies found that IT professionals with the best skills are receiving base pay increases in the 10% to 20% range per year. That compares with the 4% to 5% average for non-IT salaried exempt U.S. employees. According to the survey, IT employees currently commanding the highest pay are those with skills in implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. On top of base pay, IT professionals also are receiving bonuses. In 1998, 57% of IT employees received a bonus of some type, compared with 42% in 1997. The study found that turnover of IT employees averages about 16%, but some companies reported turnover rates as high as 35%. The average time for filling an IT position was three months.