While positions remain unfilled, the projects are piling up for current IT employees. Some 26% of respondents said that in the past year their working conditions were significantly affected by unfilled open positions, compared to 20% in 2013. One-third of survey takers said they were affected by new understaffed projects.
Solutions architect senior manager Dane Bamburry received a 3% raise this year from his employer, Cox Enterprises, the same pay increase he had last year — but he also got an 18% bonus for his efforts on two major internal cross-divisional projects that required him to work an extra five or six hours several days a week.
"In my immediate department we have a shortage of employees right now," says Bamburry. "I'm trying to procure funding to add additional staff."
Bamburry, who oversees a staff of five, says he fields eight to 10 phone calls a year from headhunters looking to poach employees with technology strategy skills — especially people focused on mobility and cloud. "Those are the buzzwords of today," he says.
But he chooses to work the extra hours and stay with the company because he likes his team. "We have a good group of people, very collaborative, and a positive environment," he explains. "The career and growth potential so far have been good. If you have a good working environment with people you get along with, that's always a big plus."
Skills cooling off
Even as the need for some tech skills rises or stays steady, demand for others is cooling off. Staffing firm Robert Half Technology sees the biggest declines in mainframe and midrange computing skills like Cobol and AS/400 as the migration away from mainframe computing environments to Web and mobile systems continues, says John Reed, senior executive director at RHT.
Mainframes aren't disappearing, of course, but employers won't be paying top dollar for mainframe support. "I have mainframe guys on my team who clearly have not begun to recognize that they haven't maintained skills that are marketable outside of a small subset of the world," Abla says.
Tips for keeping the talent you have
While many IT workers are choosing to stay with their current employers for now, the trend may not last much longer. "Recruiters are very active now," says David Foote, CEO of Foote Partners, "so companies that have never had retention problems are really having problems now."
John Reed, senior executive director at Robert Half Technology, says companies can encourage employees to stay by creating an environment where open communication is welcomed.
He advises managers to build career road maps for the key people on their teams and then offer them the training and experience they'll need to reach their goals.
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