Brace yourself for new competition in IT hiring

The most talented employees in your IT department could soon be in high demand, according to recent reports. Here are some steps you can take to keep retention problems at bay.

While the IT job market has been steadily improving over the last several months, hiring is set to take a big leap soon, as 71% of companies plan to add IT staff in the second half of 2010, according to a recent survey by IT job board

More than half of those businesses say they’ll add 10 or more new IT staffers.

Those findings are backed up by a similar study from IT service provider CDW. According to that survey:

  1. 37% of large companies plan to add IT staff in the coming months (up 11% from a year ago), and
  2. 29% of IT decision makers in the federal government plan to hire new tech staffers this year (up 9% from April).

Also, pay for all employees is set to raise next year, according to a survey by consulting firm Mercer. Nearly all (98%) of employers plan to raise base pay in 2011. Just 2% plan to enact or continue wage freezes, compared to 13% in 2010 and 31% in 2009.

On average, pay will increase 2.9%.

The bottom line for managers: Employees who have dealt with decreased or frozen pay, along with increased job responsibilities, may feel the grass is greener on the other side as more companies offer open positions.

IT departments should take steps now to keep their best employees:

  1. Review salaries to make sure they’re still in line with market data
  2. Talk with execs to plan salary budgets for next year, and
  3. Consider boosting retention efforts to grab top talent now before competitors do.