The employment market for IT professionals is finally back in full swing. After about 4 years of outsourcing, downsizing and complete businesses going down it is an employee market again. Many IT employees were holding on to existing jobs to wait out the rough times for employees. Others were not so lucky and had to find a new job - either in the same field or in a different career path. In most cases an employee ended up with less money and a smaller benefits package. Employers had the choice and could push their requirements and options knowing that the employees had not much choice.
But now in late 2005 things are changing again and if a company was using the low salary approach with no benefits for the last few years he better is prepared for the backfire. Employees read the same publications and the same statistics as the employers does. The IT employees know everything about outsourcing, right sourcing or best sourcing or whatever acronym employers came up with to disguise the fact that work can eventually be done for less by someone else. Employees also know when the market starts picking up again and an employer turning a blind eye to that fact can shoot himself in the foot this way.
So, what should companies do to retain talented people when the market picks up again? In some cases there is nothing they can do. If the employer added insult to injury (meaning: treating the employees like slaves during the market downturn) the employees will leave as soon as a better opportunity comes their way - especially if the opportunity is provided by a company that treats employees with respect and offers a fair salary. If the losing employer thinks they can fix the problem by now offering a little more money they are in for a surprise. If you kick a dog into the guts for 5 years he will still shy back even if you are mow offering a cookie. The money saved by offering no benefits and low salaries will now have to be spend on hiring a new employee for a higher market value (remember: the market picked up already) and the loss of productivity for a while until the new employee is properly trained cuts into the margins. It would have been cheaper and better to avoid low-balling right from the beginning.
Businesses that value their employees usually have much fewer problems retaining the talent. They even get new employees referred by existing ones which often proves to be a good choice when hiring new talent. Small treats during hard times can pay off easily. If an employer explains that overall money is tight due to market conditions, but then shows appreciation when the market picks up gains much more respect than somebody trying to squeeze employees to the last drop. Free pizza lunches every once in a while or a gift certificate for Best Buy or the movie theatre help in keeping morale high and people motivated during hard market conditions, too.
Mr. Christoph Puetz is a successful entrepreneur and international book author. Websites of Christoph Puetz can be found at Credit Help and at Highlands Ranch Colorado.
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