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IT Directors most worried about talent drain in 2011 as skills shortages grow

IT Directors most worried about talent drain in 2011 as skills shortages grow
41% increased headcount in 2010
85% of IT directors concerned or very concerned about retaining staff in 2011
IT Directors have identified staff retention as their number one concern in 2011, reveals research* by ReThink Recruitment, the business and technology staffing company. 85% of IT Directors surveyed were either very concerned or concerned about staff retention in the year ahead.
Demand for IT skills escalated throughout 2010 as projects which were mothballed during the downturn were kick-started. This caused a surge in workload, which meant that increasing numbers of IT departments were actively recruiting throughout the year. 
41% of IT Directors increased headcount in 2010, compared to just 32% in 2009.
ReThink Recruitment says that the growing concern about retaining staff as demand for IT skills recovers will put further pressure on IT Directors to increase pay in 2011. 80% of IT Directors expect headcount to either increase or stay the same in 2011. 
Wages have already started climbing, with over half (51%) of respondents confirming they had increased pay for permanent staff in 2010. Just 5% of IT Directors cut permanent salaries in 2010. 
Michael Bennett, Director of ReThink Recruitment, comments: The good news for IT professionals is that the recovery in jobs and pay is accelerating. However, this is creating a different kind of headache for employers as they now face the very real challenge of holding onto key staff.
There isnt a vast pool of unemployed talent for IT Directors to go fishing in, as skills need to be very specific and regularly updated.
This will propel retention strategies to the top of the priority list. These strategies are not necessarily just about throwing cash at the problem. The opportunity to manage a team or some investment in their training can often cement an employees commitment to a business for the immediate future.
The research also revealed that staff turnover is on the rise again, hitting 11% in 2010, up from 9% in 2009.
The vast majority (85%) of IT Directors also voiced concern about attracting a higher quality of candidate, compared to 77% who were polled twelve months ago. 
Says Michael Bennett: As competition to recruit the best candidates intensifies, employers will be forced to increase pay, which will add further pressure to IT budgets.
Outstanding candidates with the right skills are always difficult to find but in the current market employers will be fighting tooth and nail to attract the best staff. While we are unlikely to see a return to the aggressive bidding wars that were rife in the dotcom boom, candidates are increasingly juggling multiple job offers and getting counter-offers from existing employers.
ReThink says that demand is far outstripping supply in some particular niche areas.
Michael Bennett concludes: We have recently been placing candidates on Solvency II projects a new regulatory requirement for insurers on 900 a day, a pay rise of up to 50% in some cases.
We are anticipating demand for candidates with these as well as other niche skills including experience in multi-channel and e-commerce IT projects to continue to accelerate throughout 2011.
*This is the fourth annual survey by ReThink Recruitment looking at the staffing and budget trends of IT departments. 66 IT Directors responded to this survey from a broad cross-section of organisations, including several global companies with IT departments in excess of 250 staff.


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