The Acquisition of High-Impact Technology Talent Concerns the C-Suite and Middle Management Alike

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Just-Released ‘Harris Allied Tech Hiring and Retention Survey’ Reveals Employment Best Practices and Trends

In the technology space in particular, concerns over the ability to attract game-changing talent has become institutional and are keeping all levels of management awake at night.

Finding, hiring and keeping good talent within the technology realm is the number one concern among senior executives, hiring managers, and team leaders, according to a new survey. According to the just-released “Harris Allied Tech Hiring and Retention Survey,” more than 41% agreed, while 19.1% of those surveyed said that retention was their biggest concern. Another 18.2% said that remaining competitive on salary and bonuses concerned them most, while 16.4% said having to do more work with fewer people was at the top of their list.

The survey was conducted by Harris Allied in September and October 2012 among 110 executives ranging from C-level to middle management at financial services, professional services, consumer goods, digital media, and technology companies located in the New York metro area. The findings are also illustrated in an accompanying infographic.

“The national employment numbers that are routinely reported are not a good indicator for every segment of the market. In the technology space in particular, concerns over the ability to attract game-changing talent has become institutional and are keeping all levels of management awake at night,” notes Harris Allied Managing Director Kathy Harris. “We see far more open positions than people with the technical skills and experience necessary to fill them. As a result, recruiting high-impact talent has become a legitimate challenge in today’s environment.”

When asked about what they are doing to attract this kind of top talent, offering great opportunities for career growth was the most popular response (38.2%). Another 28.2% said offering opportunities for professional development was the most important thing they did to recruit top tech pros; 24.5% said offering competitive compensation packages was their most important tactic; and another 9.1% said they offered competitive benefits packages.

The study also underscored how important retaining top technology talent is to the organization. Specifically, according to the “Harris Allied Tech Hiring and Retention Survey,” 33.6% of respondents said that opportunities for professional development was the single most important strategy they leveraged to retain employees; 24.5% said offering opportunities for career advancement was most important; and 23.6% said they offered competitive salaries to that end. Other responses included offering telecommuting as an option (7.3%); offering competitive benefits packages (4.5%); and offering competitive bonuses (2.7%) as being most important to their retention strategy.

“Worth noting is the fact that companies are really starting to ‘own’ the responsibility for cultivating the professional development and career advancement opportunities for their key technology pros, because they understand how much that can really impact their recruitment and retention success,” says Harris.

However, nearly three-quarters of all respondents also reported engaging in “unusual” tactics to retain employees, which included offering extra vacation days, flexible work schedules and additional vacation time, unusual compensation packages outside the industry standard, allowing spouses to travel with employees, free Friday lunches, fun employee events and other company-sponsored parties, building a fun and exciting corporate culture, and paying for home internet use.

Other survey findings include:

  • An equal number of respondents claimed they could not tell when one of their people was being pursued by a competitor -- 50.9% said yes versus 49.1% who said no.
  • More than four in 10 respondents (43.2%) said they would not try to intervene to retain one of their people if they learned the employee was being pursued by a competitor. More than 56% said they would.
  • More than 44% said that their own industry was the best source for recruiting top talent; 16.4% said they look to competitors; 12.7% said they recruited talent from other industries; and 14.5% said they sought out talent from within their own organization.
  • When asked for the primary reason they thought people left their organization, 20% said people left for more exciting job opportunities or the chance to get their hands on some hot new technology; 18.2% said their corporate culture was challenging and presented morale issues; while another 16.4% said they did not know why.
  • When asked what they thought their company should be doing or doing better to attract and retain top talent, increasing employee compensation was cited most often as the most important strategy (43.6%); 18.2% said improving professional development opportunities would be the most effective strategy; 15.5% said improving the corporate culture and morale was most critical; and 10.9% said communicating company plans for growth would be the best thing they could to that end.

The survey also assessed respondents’ hiring plans for 2013. “Most employers still were unsure of their plans toward the end of 2012,” notes Harris. “However, nearly half said they anticipated a less than 10% increase in or moderate hiring (10-15% growth) in the coming year.” This means that retention and highly strategic hiring will be the order of the day.”

About Harris Allied
Harris Allied provides premier executive search, technology and quant analyst placement services to the financial services, professional services, consumer goods, digital media and tech industries. The firm represents clients who are at a variety of growth stages: from tech start-ups to established industry leaders. Harris Allied’s client-centric approach allows the firm to objectively assess the strengths of qualified candidates and thoughtfully match them with the right opportunities.For more information visit To view Harris Allied’s corporate video, “For Each of Us, It Starts with a Moment,” visit

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Nina Dietrich