News | July 13, 1998

Wanted: 'User-Friendly' Tech Managers

CIOs Cite Ability to Retain Tech Staff as Critical Among Manager Candidates

The proven ability to retain IT talent has become a key factor in landing a management job in the technology field, suggests a recent nationwide survey of chief information officers (CIOs). More than 90% of CIOs polled said it is important for IT managers to show a history of retaining loyal staff. When asked to identify the single most effective incentive, other than compensation, for keeping employees on board, 37% of CIOs cited ongoing technical skills training.

The survey was developed by RHI Consulting, a leading specialized consulting firm that provides information technology professionals on a project basis. Conducted by an independent research firm, the survey includes responses from 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 100 employees.

CIOs were asked, "When evaluating candidates for information technology management positions, how important is it for them to demonstrate a history of retaining a loyal staff?" Their responses:

  • Very Important - 51%
  • Somewhat Important - 40%
  • Not too important - 4%
  • Not at all important - 3%
  • Don't know/other - 2%

CIOs also were asked, "Other than compensation, which one of the following is most effective in retaining information technology staff?" Their responses:

  • Ongoing technical skills training - 37%
  • Regular praise and recognition - 22%
  • Relaxed environment/casual dress - 18%
  • Flexible hours - 11%
  • Equity incentives - 8%
  • Don't know/other - 4%

"The ability to motivate, challenge and retain a dedicated team of technology professionals has become integral to a manager's prospects for success, particularly in the highly competitive and mobile IT job market," says Greg Scileppi, executive director of RHI Consulting.  Scileppi adds that ongoing exposure to new technologies through skills training is a key motivator for IT professionals, whose career advancement rides heavily on their proficiency with the latest hardware and software, particularly database and Internet applications.

"However, even the most aggressive technical training program must be supported by an equally strong commitment to ensuring employee job satisfaction or the effort will be compromised," he cautions.