The IT ‘war for talent’ has been over-exaggerated but CIOs still need to show a little “love” towards their best performing staff or lose them to the competition, according to UK IT chiefs.

Researchers claimed last week that escalating IT “talent wars” are forcing employers to become more creative with staff retention policies, offering perks such as additional holidays and professional training to stop their best techies being poached.

The 12 IT chiefs on’s CIO Jury user panel largely disagreed that there are staff retention problems – just three said it is difficult to hold on to the top-performing workers.

Andrew Leaning, group IT director at publisher Huveaux, said recruitment and retention problems come from poor leadership by managers.

He said: “So-called talent wars are trumped up by those that aren’t thinking long term, pay dirt and then complain when they lose staff. Train your team, give them stretch assignments and interesting projects, work with them to develop and they’ll stay. Also, if we as IT leaders are doing our job correctly we shouldn’t be worried when we do lose talent to elsewhere as we’ll have nurtured other stars coming up through the ranks.”

Yawar Murad, CIO at GE Life, warned that IT bosses who only pay lip service to developing their team will quickly lose credibility among their staff “with dire results”.

He said: “You have to ‘love’ your star