Application for employment
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IT professionals are increasingly seeking greener pastures, putting greater pressure on employers to retain existing talent, says a new report from online learning provider Skillsoft. For its 2022 IT Skills & Salary Report, Skillsoft surveyed almost 8,000 people, including IT pros and IT leaders. The purpose of the survey was to analyze IT salaries and certifications, find out what challenges the industry is facing, learn how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the field, and see how recruitment and retention issues are affecting employees and employers.

Why many IT pros are likely to look for new jobs

Employee retention proved to be one of the biggest challenges. Among the tech pros surveyed, 53% said they’re extremely or somewhat likely to look for a new job during the next 12 months. Only 23% of the respondents said they were somewhat or extremely unlikely to look for a new job.

In line with the desire to seek employment elsewhere, respondents specified a few items that they want or expect from their employers. In short, they want businesses to operate more ethically, sustainably and transparently. They want greater diversity, equity and inclusion, and they want more development and opportunities to grow.

“And if they don’t get it, they’ll take their skills elsewhere,” the report said.

SEE: Hostile workplace prevention policy (TechRepublic Premium)

On the plus side, most of the IT pros surveyed felt that their current employer takes diversity, equity and inclusion seriously. However, a small number of survey participants have run into DE&I-related problems on the job. Around 25% have been hit by microaggressions, a term for everyday interactions that intentionally or unintentionally result in a hostile or demeaning situation. Some respondents have experienced blatant harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

Why some IT pros have switched employers or job roles

IT pros who’ve already switched employers over the past year cited several reasons for doing so, with 38% pointing to increased compensation, 33% to a lack of training and development, and 25% to a lack of work-life balance. Other factors that prompted IT pros to jump to a different company included department or company management, a lack of equity in pay, a lack of equity in opportunities, the organization’s performance and a lack of company resources.

Almost half of the IT pros surveyed switched job roles but stayed with the same employer. Some 49% of them did so to achieve a greater opportunity for growth and development, 37% wanted to better use their skills and capabilities, and 29% received a promotion. Other factors for making this type of move included an increase in compensation, learning new skills to meet the needs of the organization, department or company management, the organization’s performance and a lack of work-life balance.

Talent retention and recruitment are the biggest challenges

IT leaders are keenly aware of the difficulties in retaining and attracting qualified people. When asked to name the biggest challenges in their workplace, 30% of them cited talent retention, while 24% pointed to talent recruitment. Many organizations are also consolidating jobs, making it harder to fill key roles.

Dealing with the challenges facing the IT field and the workplace is a responsibility for employees and employers alike, according to Skillsoft. Employees without the required skills may be overlooked for pay raises and promotions and will likely find poor opportunities for growth. Employers who don’t focus on training and other factors might suffer high turnover rates and lost productivity.

How employers can attract and keep qualified workers

To help employers better grapple with the challenges in retaining and attracting skilled workers, Skillsoft suggests they ask themselves the following questions.

  • Where do you want to take your organization? What’s stopping you from taking that route?
  • What skills do your employees need today and tomorrow to be successful?
  • What certification tracks or learning paths will help you attract new employees?
  • How can you upskill your employees without creating too much downtime?
  • How can your organization attract new talent in a competitive market?

If you plan to upskill employees or just offer more learning and development opportunities, TechRepublic Premium’s cross-training tool kit is an excellent resource for keeping your workers trained and engaged in their career development.

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