Career Watch: Employers focusing on retention

Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader

Linda Zafonte

The CIO at the NYS Insurance Fund answers questions about bailing out on a "toxic" workplace and more.

I work in a smallish IT department, and I've always liked it. A few months ago, a big wave of layoffs took us from about 50 employees to under 40, and a new CIO was brought in. Now the atmosphere seems toxic, with suspicion and backbiting replacing our old camaraderie. Can this situation be turned around, or should I bail out? A decision to leave or stay at a company should take multiple factors into consideration. If you were previously satisfied with your employer and challenged in your position, it would be best to wait and see if things calm down. You could also approach the new CIO and ask how you can help him achieve his objectives. This would help you see the larger picture, and it could position you to become a trusted member of the new CIO's team.

My company's attitude toward training is that IT employees make good salaries, so we should be able to pay our own way. And we should invest in ourselves if we want to stay employed. Needless to say, this is an unpopular policy, and I know many good people who have left because of it. Personally, I don't like to give up without a fight. How can I, one IT director among many, effect change? Has anyone tried to present training in terms of the return on investment? It's always good to use data as a means to persuade. I would consider doing a comparison of the costs of internal full-time employees vs. the costs of consultants, if this is relevant to your company. Also, how does the attrition rate in IT compare to the rate in other departments? And how much does it cost to recruit new employees (in terms of advertising, website services, placement fees, etc.)?

What are the most valuable skills to possess in a cloud-dominated IT world? It's becoming very critical to have people in IT who can communicate with cloud providers and determine how to integrate the services into business processes and existing internal systems. IT needs to help the business find solutions that take time-to-market, cost, risk and long-term planning into consideration. It's becoming crucial to embrace external cloud offerings for both business process and infrastructure.

If you have a question for one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders , send it to askaleader@computerworld.com , and watch for this column each month.

Green With Motivation

Among the interesting bits of information contained in Dice's annual salary survey was data suggesting that employers are doing more to hang on to talented IT staffers . In the 2011 survey, the percentage of respondents who said they were given no motivation was lower than it was in 2009 and 2010. And when respondents were asked to name their primary motivators, the percentages of those who cited increased compensation or a promotion or new title were higher this year than in the past. Dropping as primary motivators were more interesting or challenging assignments and flexible hours.

What was the primary motivator your employer provided you in the past year?

Source: 2012 Dice Tech Salary Survey, conducted online with 18,325 employed technology professionals in the fall of 2011.Note: Percentages for each year may not add up to 100 because of rounding.

Hiring Expectations

Do you plan to hire in the following categories during the stated periods of time?

Source: Janco Associates Inc., January 2012 survey on hiring trends among 107 U.S. organizationsNote: Percentages may not add up to 100 because of rounding.

Read more about management and careers in Computerworld's Management and Careers Topic Center.

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