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What is Your Best, Tactical Advice for HR and IT Teams Seeking Top Talent?

April 08, 2021
Zane Schweer

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.


"What is your best, tactical advice for HR and IT teams seeking top talent?"

This was one of the questions I was asked during an interview by CIO Dive's Katie Malone about what's next for IT hiring based on data from our IT Skills and Salary Report and what we see as global training company who works closely with organizations of all sizes developing their people. Katie's article is here, and I wanted to provide a couple additional thoughts.


IT pros want to see a future in their jobs.

In 2020, the no. 1 reason IT pros changed employers was the lack of opportunity for growth and development. Salary was a distant no. 2.


If I put my feet in the shoes of an HR pro or when I put on my hiring manager hat, here’s what I’m highlighting:

  • On-going professional development and formal training.
    • It's a serious job perk. Smart organizations focused on longevity, relevance and resiliency are viewing and protecting their training budgets as some of their most strategic investments. Technology doesn't run companies. People do.
  • Your approach to professional development.
    • Specifically, how is it handled? What learning resources available to employees? Are employees given an on-demand training subscription and left to fend for themselves? Or are there requirements for them to learn? I was talking with an IT manager recently and he requires his team to set aside at least an hour a week to learning something new. And it contributes into their annual reviews. He gets it.
  • Job growth opportunities, learning and/or certification paths.
    • Show that you have a vision and plan. In most cases, you don't have to reinvent the wheel, they already exist.
      Share success stories of other employees. If you don’t have any...that’s a red flag. So, do something about it! Acknowledge that internally, evaluate why it's that's the case and develop a plane on how to change it.

If these programs aren’t available yet, as an HR or hiring manager I'm advocating for them and building my business case. If they’re not offered company-wide, I’m saying let’s pilot a program. You must start somewhere.


The most important step after hiring people is...

...retaining them. The hard and soft costs of replacing an employee are vastly higher than providing continuous learning opportunities for an employee. In an article I wrote about How to Convince Your Manage of the Benefits of Training, one of the data points from the Center for American Progress calculated that the costs for replacing employees starts at 21% of their salary. This hurts when the well-skilled IT pros are making six figures.


Good news, in only one year we’ve seen a huge shift in IT decision-makers approving training.

  • In 2019, 59% of IT decision-makers approved formal training. In 2020, 80% of IT decision-makers approved formal training for their team-- a 21% increase!!! This is a big deal because 75% of IT decision-makers are dealing with skills gaps.
  • Only 63% of IT decision-makers said their organization provides formal training for employees. Up four percent from 2019.


More focus on skills. Less focus on degrees.

If companies aren't already, continue to prioritize skills and what people can do. Less focus on degrees. It’s time to permeate degree deflation in the technical hiring field. When we read reports such as (ISC)2’s Cybersecurity Workforce Study talking about the shortage of IT pros with the right skills, something needs to change. Degrees play an important role, but they shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all. Especially when new tech and processes aren't even covered in school.


If you have someone who can do the job, is a good culture fit, then why are you letting a degree get in the way?