Corporate Tech Units Have Spinning Doors

May 15, 2002 ( - Despite the dramatic downturn in the technology sector, firms are battling to keep their IT staff from jumping ship.

According to a new survey, more than 600 medium- to large-sized American companies said they now spend more time trying to hang on to their techies than they do recruiting new ones as they labor under voluntary IT employee departure rates as high as 20%. Researchers from the META Group say that anything over 10% is normally thought to be worrisome.

After the voluntary departure rates of IT workers in the transportation and distribution industry which topped the list, the META Group’s 2002 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide also included IT worker departure rates of:

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  • 18% in media/publishing, and
  • 17% in health care

To explain the departures, respondents cited:

  • economic conditions at 33% of the companies included,
  • organizational restructuring at 18%, and
  • available skills at 18%.

Approximately one-quarter of this year’s respondents report 11% to 20% turnover.

Not surprisingly, companies said they were increasingly turning to IT staff bonuses as a retention tool. Some 44% of respondents reported using bonuses in 2002, up sharply from the 12% from a year earlier.

Among the IT skills considered most difficult to retain were e-commerce/Internet skills, cited by 24% and application development skills, by 20%.

Although companies are trying to keep current IT staffers, that doesn’t mean the door to new workers is closed. In fact, more than a third or 34% said they have increased their IT staff.

Read more about the 2002 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide .