Conducting the survey in the first quarter or early second quarter would have shown more businesses calling for greater hiring, he said. Now, with an uncertain market, "we're seeing a little bit of trepidation in the marketplace."
"As we see the market edging up, as what we were seeing in October, I think the optimism becomes greater," Cullen said. "Whenever we start seeing some follow off and the market is down, that's where people are starting to get a little bit worried."
Cullen added that hiring depends on the industry. Large financial institutions are "tentative" with plans to increase headcount, but technology companies "have a very positive outlook for the hiring in 2012."
For their part, employers realize that attrition and turnover are not healthy for a business and are attempting to create positive work environments, he said.
Keeping employees happy means allowing them to manage their own projects, said 70 percent of those polled. This edged offering a competitive salary and benefits, which ranked second at 62 percent. A premium is also placed on receiving technical training and being able to telecommute, with both categories being important to 61 percent of workers.
"I think companies are really doing everything they can to retain the services of their good workers by creating those environments with flexibility, with great challenges and with empowerment," Cullen said. "Companies that put an emphasis on training their high-end tech workers are going to have a high chance of retaining them."
Replacing a worker with specific domain knowledge acquired by several years of job experience is especially challenging, he added.
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