More than any other concern as it relates to hiring and retention, finding and hiring top tech talent keeps executives up at night – more than keeping the team they have in place and more than staying competitive with regard to salary and bonuses. According to the just-released Harris Allied Tech Hiring and Retention Survey for 2017, half of all executives report that this is their biggest worry and that number has continued to grow by 11 percent in the last three years alone.
So what are executives doing to attract top tech talent? While being able to offer excellent compensation and benefit packages were most often cited as important recruiting tactics, being able to attract new employees with an amazing corporate culture or a company’s unique industry position ranked as the next most important strategies.
An environment that is creative, inspiring and fun (63.4%); being industry-leading and innovative (54.8%); and having the chance to work on interesting projects (51.6%) were cited most often as contributing to an exceptional corporate culture.
Corporate culture also plays a critical role in employee attrition. Nearly 26% of survey respondents said that people left their company for more exciting opportunities and the chance to work with new technology; another 16.7% said they thought it was because their corporate culture was very challenging. Competitive compensation and benefits packages always play a role, too, with another 19.2% citing that as a reason people had left the firm.
What should executives be doing?
Kathy Harris, managing director of Harris Allied, which conducts the annual hiring and retention survey within the technology space, concurs. “Candidates often cite better compensation or benefits being offered elsewhere when they give notice to their employers. We know from experience that many factors contribute to an individual’s desire to change jobs. It’s very important for technology professionals to have opportunities for professional growth, as well as to work on exciting projects and contribute to the success of an organization.”
So what do executives feel they should be doing, or doing better, to attract and retain top tech talent? Of the 120 executives that were surveyed, the answers were fairly evenly split among improving professional development opportunities, increasing employee compensation, improving corporate culture and employee morale, and improving benefits, vacation and PTO time.
“All of these are important elements of a sound recruiting and retention strategy, because they influence how a prospective or current employee views the company. At the end of the day, an employee won’t change jobs solely because they are being offered a few thousand dollars more or more PTO. Companies that offer exceptional corporate cultures and are well positioned in their industries are highly desired by job seekers. Employees want to know that they are contributing to an organization that is successful and growing,” notes Harris.
Among the other key findings of the Harris Allied Tech Hiring and Retention Survey are:
- Social media plays an important role in a company’s recruitment strategy, said 86.7% of those surveyed.
- Offering both competitive compensation packages and outstanding benefits packages were cited most often as important (ranging from slightly to extremely) as a recruitment strategy. Offering employees the opportunity to telecommute came in as a close second.
- On 2016 year-end bonuses, 35% said that their bonuses would be 1-5% higher than last year’s.
- Nearly one-third of respondents said their hiring plan for 2017 would grow by 10-15%. But another 27.5% said their plan was still being worked on as of the end of Q4. Another 18.3% plan to hiring aggressively, citing 15% growth or more in their hiring plan for 2017.
- User experience design and web development projects were cited most often as driving corporate hiring needs in 2017. Software application developers/architects were the roles that employers expect to recruit most aggressively for in 2017.
“The 2017 survey results confirm what our clients have been saying: the demand for top talent is at an all-time high, and companies are stepping up to attract and retain the best and brightest stars,” Harris says. “With 65% of respondents predicting moderate-to-aggressive tech hiring in 2017, we anticipate a very competitive marketplace.”