CIOs are under increasing pressure when it comes to finding technical talent. Not only do rising salaries put pressure on P&Ls, but CIOs also face the burden of finding people who possess the right skill set in an extremely competitive tech talent market.
In 2015, average technology salaries in the United States saw the biggest ever year-over-year increase, up almost 8% to $96,370 annually, according to an annual salary survey released by Dice earlier this week. On top of that, the average salaries in seven metro areas reached six-figures for the first time since the survey began more than a decade ago.
“It’s more and more difficult for CIOs to find talent with skills in key areas such as cloud development, data science (and) security,” said Bob Melk, president of Dice, a career website for technology and engineering professionals. “Now, with salaries going up, CIOs are wondering, ‘How are we going to find that talent affordably?’”
Beyond attracting the right people at an affordable price, CIOs must keep an eye on technology trends when building their talent pool, particularly as companies grow more and more dependent on technology to remain competitive.
Strategy to talent building
“There needs to be more strategy to talent development,” Melk said. “CIOs need to map out what skills they'll need to grow to fill the needs that they have today or will have in the future.”
When it comes to a hiring strategy, Melk said, savvy CIOs may want to bring in more junior people and create plans to develop their skills to meet evolving business needs.
“It’s not just getting people in the door, it’s mapping their growth and development so when the next big technology area comes along, they are ready,” said Melk. “CIOs and their teams need to be taking a thoughtful approach to understanding how they can grow talent that have skills in key baseline areas such as data science.”
Companies like Dice specialize in helping business leaders understand skill sets and the trajectory of employee development. But companies can also do this internally by looking at skill sets and determining who would be the best fit to become a security analyst, a database administer, or a security engineer, for example.
“This is valuable not just to business leaders and CIOs, but also to potential candidates themselves,” said Melk. “One of the things technology pros are increasingly asking us for is help in understanding how a software developer, for example, becomes a data scientist. There are a number of paths for that. It’s about helping CIOs and tech professionals understand the skills needed for a particular job and then understanding what the journey to getting there looks like.”
Not just about the money
Attracting and retaining IT professionals in a competitive recruiting environment is not only about money. Though salaries are rising, tech professionals have a growing interest in perks like bonuses, unlimited vacations, flex time and telecommuting, according to Melk.
More than anything, people are looking for a work-life balance.
“Work-life balance is a priority for many IT pros today, and particularly millennials,” said Melk. “The talent crisis only further exaggerates the need for companies and CIOs to address work-life balance issues.”