CIO NewsletterRaises and Other Deal Sweeteners to Retain Top Talent

Two surveys indicating an uptick in IT hiring also spoke to the challenges of retaining key talent. Two other surveys, one by HR consultancy Mercer and one from Hay Group, say the average raise will be 3 percent next year, reports FINS.It quotes a partner at 3c Consulting in Chicago, saying: This year, everyone is getting a bump. There's a little bit of a make-up factor at play.

IT Salary SurveyStill, that's still not keeping with the 3.6 percent annual rate of inflation. This appears to be across the general work force, not specifically in IT. Indeed, Janco Associates recently reported that IT salaries continue to be essentially flat. In its midyear report, it found the total mean compensation for all IT pros in 73 job categories that range from CIO to data entry operator grew by just 0.35 percent to $77,873 from $77,604.

Yet the story mentions that enterprise software vendor Red Hat plans to give raises averaging 3 percent this month. This year and last, the company waited until midway through its fiscal year to better evaluate the economy and its budget. Its 4,000 employees also will receive quarterly bonuses of 5 to 30 percent of salary.

Of course, Google, amid a fierce talent war and in pricey Silicon Valley, doled out across-the-board pay raises of 10 percent late last year. Microsoft, too, has turned to cash, rather than stock, as a means to retain key talent. The recruiters I've been talking to overall have told me that hiring managers can expect to pay more for IT pros, especially those with the most in-demand skills and in markets where the talent pool is especially limited.

Meanwhile, in this article on HP's site, a writer talks about the push/pull mechanics of retention. You want to eliminate things that would push your employees away, such as lagging salaries or a bad boss, and minimize the pull from rival employers. They write: "When viewing a talented associate's compensation, view it in the context of how much you would be willing to pay to bring in that type of individual from a competitor," says a regional vice president of staffing firm Technisource. Would you pay recruiting fees or a signing bonus? Keep this in mind when considering an associate's annual merit increase. "If you are paying your associate well, it takes away some of the allure another company might be able to present by lessening the amount of additional compensation they could expect by leaving.

He also offers these five tips for making your staff "unpoachable":

  • Find deal sweeteners beyond pay that appeal to your specific workers
  • Make the benefits in working for your company crystal clear
  • Offer opportunities to learn
  • Let them finish projects
  • Let them create

The one rule to remember is that you are trying to attract and retain human beings, not robots or slaves. Offer them a way to live their lives, work with pride, and create, and you will not only retain a talented staff but the company will likely benefit far beyond your dreams.

IT Median Salaries June 2010 vs. June 2011

Mean IT salaries
Updated with the latest data

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