From President Obama’s State of the Union address to the Consumer Electronics Show, cybersecurity and emerging technology continue to be headline news. However, behind the scenes, the tech sector is persistently challenged by the need to hire and retain the best talent.
According to the just-released Harris Allied 2014 Tech Hiring and Retention Survey conducted by Manhattan-based executive search firm Harris Allied, finding and hiring top technology talent is the biggest concern for 42% of managers surveyed. This is consistent with the findings of Harris Allied’s surveys conducted in 2013 and 2012, when 39% and 41.8% reported the same biggest concern respectively.
In addition, retaining this talent was the second biggest worry among those surveyed, and this, too, was consistent with the surveys of the prior 2 years (23.6% in 2013 and 19.1% in 2012).
According to Kathy Harris, managing director of Harris Allied, “The tech arena remains a pain point in many ways from a hiring and HR perspective, as the demand for top talent continues to grow. This presents exciting opportunities for technology pros that are in demand by companies of all sizes and in all industries. It’s a great time to be looking for a job in technology right now.”
In an effort to attract these top technology professionals, 36% of survey respondents said they offer excellent compensation and benefits packages as their most important recruiting tool. In addition, 14.5% of respondents also believe their company’s position within the industry and the ability for employees to work on incredible projects is a key recruiting tool. These findings are consistent with Harris Allied’s 2013 survey, which ranked excellent compensation and benefits packages and company position and exciting projects as their first and second most important recruiting tools.
Compensation was also ranked the most important retention tool in the 2014 survey, with 28% of respondents saying this was their most important strategy. Corporate culture and work/life balance for employees was ranked the second most important retention strategy (24.8%). This was consistent with the 2013 survey in which 36.6% said compensation was their most important strategy to retain key technology employees, and 26% of those surveyed said corporate culture was the most important factor in employee retention.
The 2014 Harris Allied survey confirmed that compensation is still the most critical factor in talent acquisition and retention in other ways. For example, 40.4% of those surveyed said that when a candidate rejects their job offer, it is most often because better compensation is offered elsewhere. And when asked what the most common reason was that employees leave their organization, 27.5% said it was because they were not paying their employees enough or offering competitive enough benefit packages.
“While companies have come a long way in appreciating the importance of providing their employees with exciting opportunities to work on interesting projects and for professional growth, as well as offering a healthy work/life balance, ultimately their salary and benefits package must be competitive for top talent to consider changing firms,” Harris says.
Among the survey’s other key findings:
- Year-end bonuses for 2014 will be higher than 2013’s, with more than half (50.8%) saying that their bonuses will be 1% to 5% higher; 14% will offer bonuses that are 6% to 10% higher than 2013. Another 15.5% said that theirs will be 1% to 5% less than last year’s bonus amounts.
- Corporate culture means different things to different employers. The majority (64.9%) said their corporate culture was exceptional because their environment was fun, inspiring and creative; 51.2% said their employees have a chance to work on interesting projects; and 44.6% said that professional development opportunities made their corporate culture exceptional.
- The most sought-after technology professionals in 2015 are predicted to be software application developers/architects (37.3%) and Web/IOS developers (21.8%). Only 2.6% said DBAs.
- In 2015, more companies plan to increase their use of technology consultants, with 34.7% indicating this. Another 29.5% said they would keep their consulting headcount at 2014 levels, and 15.5% said they plan to actually decrease the use of consultants next year.
“Our 2014 survey respondents continue to identify finding and hiring top talent as their greatest concern. We anticipate the talent crunch to continue in 2015 as competition heats up in the tech sector. Our clients are gearing up by streamlining their recruiting processes and benchmarking their best practices for talent retention against competitors,” says Harris.
About the Survey
The Harris Allied 2014 Tech Hiring and Retention Survey was conducted in November 2014 among 193 executives ranging from C-level to middle-management executives within the information technology sector. Survey participants represent a mix of perspectives ranging from large industry leaders to small start-up companies in the United States, India, Israel and Germany.
To see the complete findings of the 2014, 2013 and 2012 surveys, visit www.harrisallied.com/Research.html.