By John McCormick
Attracting and hiring talent remains a top priority for chief information officers. And the pressure on CIOs will likely increase this year as businesses look to their information technology staffs to help drive the business, according to a recent report by IT research company Gartner.
But with the intense competition for business technology talent—especially IT project managers, enterprise resource management software specialists, and others with hot IT skills—CIOs will need to work with their human resources departments to develop competitive pay practices, according to Lily Mok, research director for Gartner's human capital management content development group.
"Such practices must respond to key workforce trends, which include demographic shifts in workforce composition, increasing virtualization and globalization of the workplace and workforce, and a tightening job market," she says. "Being competitive is more than adopting market-proven practices. Pay practices that align with and support the changing IT strategy, as well as workforce expectations, result in higher productivity gains, which ultimately improve business performance."
There are four key IT employment trends in particular that, if fully understood, should improve a company's chances of finding and keeping workers, according to Mok. They include:
- Shifting IT workforce demographics. Different generations of workers possess different needs. Younger workers might be looking for a paycheck and a flexible work schedule. Older workers might be more interested in retention bonuses and job security. CIOs, says Gartner, need to consider whether to do away with single, generic pay practices in favor of compensation methods tailored to meet workers' different needs.
- The virtual officer. The workplace, not just the workforce, is undergoing tremendous change, with remote workers making up larger portions of most staffs. "The pay-for-performance system thus needs to be based more on results than on processes. Team-based reward programs that drive collaboration of virtual teams will grow in importance," Gartner says.
- Outsourcing and offshoring. As companies try to tap into the global talent pool by working with outsourcers and offshore contractors, Gartner says companies need to make sure they get the most out these arrangements. Whatever service level agreements are entered into must be aligned with the goals and compensation plans of the company's full-time workforce.
- An increasingly competitive job market. According to Gartner's Mok, only 28% of the CIOs the research firm recently polled said that they had the right people with the right skills, which means the pressure to find good people isn't going to lessen anytime soon. To continue to attract and retain IT workers, companies will need to consider basing pay not just on the job, but on the worker's skill level, competency, and potential.
"People want to work for companies that share their success in the form of salaries and incentives. Therefore, changes in pay practices get people's attention," Mok says.
But, while pay is important, she adds that compensation isn't just about pay. "You have to look at other rewards," she says, and organizations need to try to match their offers with what employees want—be it job flexibility, security or other remuneration.
When developing pay practices, Mok advices, "take a total approach."
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