There were several interesting articles from The Staffing Industry Analyst on IT hiring in 2018 and 20191, future predictions on the amount of hiring in 20192, and hiring organizations’ challenge to find qualified IT professionals.

The theme is that there will be an increase in the number of available positions, and due to a shortage in the talent pool, a high number of managers will reskill a portion of their staff. Rather than laying off employees of their firm, some technical managers will reskill staff because they have employees who are technical, but whose skills may be outdated or need to be expanded into new technical areas. What stood out to me was a striking piece of information on the salaries of skilled IT professionals; they are not dramatically increasing with demand. One would think that if there is a shortage or competition for skilled workers, that an increase in pay would be a good and effective lure.

For US Technology Professionals, it is reported that salaries in IT were roughly flat in 2018. Some individual skill areas which have the highest rising salaries year over year is Drupal (9.8%), Puppet (9.1%), Heroku (7.8%) and Gradle (7.6%). You would think that companies across the board would be paying higher salaries and bonuses, to acquire or maintain talent. So far, they are not seeing or expecting widespread hiring with escalating salaries, like we did in the late 1990’s.

In today’s environment, salaries are not the only driving factor motivating candidates to switch positions. The other motivating factors are things such as better working conditions, remote work or the ability to work from home, flexible hours and better corporate culture. A large number, around 35%, said they would leave their position for another that would offer them more responsibility, and 22% said they will pursue new opportunities because they anticipate that they will most likely lose their current position.

70% of technical professionals said training and education (re: reskilling, returning to universities for higher education and on-the-job training) are important to them, but less than half have on-the-job training offered through their current positions. Technical professionals are more likely to be satisfied in their position if they receive training, rather than those who do not and are unsatisfied, by nearly a 2 to 1 margin. Remote and flexible working choices are important to nearly 75% of respondents, who have stated that they would like to have that option.

81% of technical professionals reported feeling burnout in 2018. The factors that contribute to burnout are a lack of recognition, too heavy of a workload, a lack of challenges and monotony. Unfortunately, many of these issues land at the feet of the group manager. Managing is not easy, and is at times a thankless job, but managers do share much of the blame for unhappy teams or employees. Managers over-stating their team’s capabilities or mishandling the delivery dates of a project can cause many employees to feel burnout, because it is the team that is required to deliver. Unrealistic delivery dates, overly complex projects and having teams short-staffed are significant problems in today’s business world, and one that falls on the manager and their teams that are expected to ‘make it happen’ - on time and within budget.

Compensation is not solely responsible for an employee’s happiness, especially after the newness of increased compensation wears off. For hiring managers to attract, build and maintain talented team of technologists, they should appreciate their team’s work, share the workload among team members, foster a collaborative and nurturing group culture, offer adequate time off for employees to regain their energy and give support when their employees need it. Compensation is not a bad place to start when trying to attract and retain talent, but it’s not the only place.

  1. “IT HIRING TO INCREASE IN FIRST HALF BUT FINDING SKILLED PROFESSIONALS IS A CHALLENGE: ROBERT HALF TECHNOLOGY” Staffing Industry Analysts, Jan 8, 2019
  2. “US TECH SALARIES FLAT IN 2018, DICE REPORTS”, Staffing Industry Analysts, Jan 29, 2019