5 Ways to Boost IT Employee Retention

5 Ways to Boost IT Employee Retention

By John Bemis On October 17, 2023 · In

Updated: November 2, 2023

It’s no secret that the turnover rate in the IT industry is high. In fact,  Gitnux data shows that the industry has a 13.2% turnover rate.That’s a considerable portion of the workforce constantly on the move.

There’s also a significant number of employees who simply aren’t engaged or satisfied with their jobs. They don’t find their work fulfilling or challenging and put in minimal effort. These people are known as “Quiet Quitters.

To combat this, companies must put in a continuous, creative effort to engage and retain their employees. This article will provide five tips for promoting IT employee retention in the IT industry, so your company can keep your best employees.

Employee Turnover and the Importance of IT Employee Retention

Amid the headlines about tech layoffs, it’s easy to assume the tech talent shortage has eased, but the data shows otherwise. For example, in November and December 2022, data from the research and consulting firm Gartner found that “86% of CIOs reported facing more competition for qualified candidates, and 73% were worried about IT talent attrition.” Gartner calls out the areas of data science, cybersecurity, and software engineering as being just as tight or tighter than before in the race for talent.

Having a low IT employee retention rate can have a profound impact on employers.. A report from the employee retention firm Work Institute revealed that the cost of turnover in the U.S. is roughly $15,000 per employee. Apart from the financial burden, the loss of skilled and experienced employees disrupts project timelines, reduces team productivity, and hampers innovation. It also creates a knowledge gap and can lead to decreased morale among remaining employees. Therefore, improving IT employee retention is essential.

Employee retention among tech workers is crucial for a company’s long-term success due to the stability and institutional knowledge these workers provide. By retaining talented employees, companies reduce recruitment and training costs while maintaining a skilled workforce. Long-term employees develop deep knowledge of the company’s processes and culture, allowing for smoother operations and effective problem-solving.

Common Reasons for Low IT Employee Retention

In the 15+ years we’ve been placing top tech talent in critical roles, we’ve found five key reasons employees leave their companies. Knowing these can help your company retain tech employees moving forward.

  1. Lack of career growth opportunities. Tech employees leave when they feel stagnant and see no clear path to advancement, causing them to seek opportunities where their professional growth can be nurtured and their technology skills enhanced.
  2. Poor work-life balance. When an employer prioritizes long hours and an “always on” culture, employees become burnt out and seek companies that prioritize a healthy balance, where they can have time for personal pursuits and well-being.
  3. Inadequate compensation. Tech pros often leave their jobs if they feel undervalued and underpaid, as they seek fair compensation that aligns with their skills, experience, and market standards.
  4. Limited benefits. When companies fail to provide comprehensive benefits packages, including health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks, employees may be enticed by organizations that offer better overall benefits.
  5. Toxic work environment. A toxic work environment characterized by a lack of support, poor communication, and negative attitudes can lead employees to seek a healthier, more positive work environment that fosters collaboration, respect, and well-being.

The Benchmark IT 2022 Tech Pro Survey revealed the following factors are key to tech employees when considering whether to stay in their current job/role. You can read the full report by downloading the Benchmark IT 2023 Salary and Hiring Guide.

Employee Retention in IT Industry

Read on to learn how to improve employee retention in the IT industry.

Top Employee Retention Strategies in the IT Industry

So what should companies with issues in employee retention in IT industry departments do? We’ve helped many companies hire top tech workers who happily stay in their roles for years. Below are five of the most impactful strategies for retaining top talent in your company.

Offer Professional Development Opportunities

To reduce employee turnover, companies should prioritize offering career growth opportunities for several reasons. First, top performers are ambitious and seek continuous professional development. By providing opportunities for skill enhancement, promotion, and new challenges, your company can keep these employees engaged and motivated.

Second, career growth opportunities demonstrate that your company values employees and recognizes their potential. This fosters loyalty, encourages top talent to remain committed to the organization, and attracts high-caliber candidates — enhancing your company’s reputation and competitive advantage.

Finally, by nurturing internal talent, tech companies can fill critical positions with skilled individuals who already understand the company culture and operations, saving recruitment costs and minimizing disruptions. This promotes your company’s success in the long run.

Encourage Work-Life Balance

Another way to increase IT employee retention among tech employees is to actively encourage work-life balance.  Employee well-being reduces burnout and leads to increased productivity and job satisfaction. Tech employees with time for personal pursuits and family are more likely to feel fulfilled and motivated. By retaining valuable employees longer, you can build greater institutional knowledge and a positive company culture that fosters innovation.

Companies can encourage work-life balance by implementing workplace flexibility arrangements such as remote work options, flexible work hours, compressed workweeks, and asynchronous communication instead of frequent real-time meetings. Employers can promote clear boundaries between work and personal life, encourage employees to use their vacation time, and prioritize mental health support. Additionally, company leaders should model work-life balance, e.g., by working just as hard as their employees but making a point not to send emails after 6 pm or on weekends.

Provide Competitive Compensation

Providing competitive compensation is crucial for companies to retain top IT talent. Gallup research shows that pay and benefits are the leading reason employees voluntarily leave their companies, accounting for 20% of all turnover.

Offering candidates and current employees a competitive salary ensures they feel valued and fairly rewarded for their skills and contributions. It helps companies attract and retain top performers, reducing high employee turnover costs and maintaining a high level of expertise within the organization. By aligning your compensation with market standards, you’ll prevent talented people from seeking higher-paying opportunities elsewhere. This retention strategy has become extremely important since the Great Resignation.

Enhance Employee Benefits

A comprehensive benefits package goes beyond salary and plays a significant role in attracting and retaining skilled professionals. Offering perks such as health insurance, retirement plans, flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities, and wellness programs improves employees’ quality of life, contributes to retention, and attracts top talent.

Foster a Positive Work Environment

In a survey by McKinsey & Company, 35% of respondents cited “uncaring leaders” as one of their top three reasons for leaving a job. This highlights the importance of companies promoting a positive work environment to retain top talent. How? Cultivate caring and competent leadership, foster open communication, encourage collaboration and teamwork, and recognize and appreciate employee contributions.

Find Top IT Talent With BenchmarkIT

Employee retention among tech professionals is critical, both for qualitative reasons, such as employee satisfaction, and for quantitative reasons, such as each turnover costing a company $15,000. Pay and benefits are vital, but retention goes beyond financial rewards. IT professionals value career growth opportunities, work-life balance, a healthy work environment, and comprehensive benefits.

To retain top talent, companies should implement strategies discussed in this article, such as providing career development, allowing for flexible work arrangements, fostering a positive culture, and encouraging work-life balance. By doing so, companies can improve employee satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity.

Benchmark IT specializes in finding top technology talent talent for Fortune-ranked companies and middle-market, start-up, and growth-phase firms. We aim to find workers who will stay with your company for the long haul. Contact us today to collaborate on creating a thriving work environment that attracts and retains the best IT talent.


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