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IT Hiring Still Hampered By Salaries

While rising unemployment has loosened the tight supply of IT workers, companies are still having a hard time coming up with salaries that attract and retain the good ones.
While rising unemployment has loosened the tight supply of IT workers, companies are still having a hard time coming up with salaries that attract and retain the good ones, according to a study by IT consulting firm Cutter Consortium.

The top three staffing headaches are salary demands, recruiting experienced people, and retaining staff, according to the survey. Forty-seven large and midsized U.S. firms responded. Only 24% of respondents say they pay above-average salaries to attract and retain staff. The most popular inducement was flexible hours, used by 71% of respondents. Chris Pickering, who conducted the study, says tight budgets and strict human-resources policies make it difficult for companies to pay better. "I've told client companies to be more flexible, but invariably they come back and say that human resources doesn't allow us to offer higher salaries," says Pickering.

It's worth noting that the study shows IT staffing ranks a distant fourth among the top concerns facing IT departments; an overwhelming majority ranked aligning IT with business strategy as the top issue, followed by IT budgets and legacy systems. But even though the greater availability of IT workers has companies less concerned about IT staffing than other issues, Pickering thinks now is a good time to get competitive with paychecks. "Companies willing to pay higher salaries will be able to take their pick of applicants," he says. "Once the economy improves, many of those people may not be available."