Training Best Way to Improve IT Staff Retention

August, 2008

(IRVINE, Calif., August 11, 2008) IT organizations with the strongest education and training programs also have the lowest average turnover rates, according to a recently released Computer Economics study.

The study examined 11 factors commonly perceived to influence turnover and found that organizations rating their education and training programs as good or outstanding have average turnover rates that are 3.6 percentage points lower than those rating their programs as poor, fair, or non-existent.

“While IT managers often worry that investments in training will be reaped by other organizations when IT workers shop their new skills around, this study indicates that investing in training is actually the best way to retain employees,” said John Longwell, director of research for Computer Economics.

The survey, involving 71 U.S.-based organizations, also found that non-economic factors such as flexible scheduling, paid time off, and social environment have a stronger correlation with lower turnover than factors such as base salaries, retirement and savings programs, and incentive pay.

“The study indicates that the best ways to retain good employees are not necessarily the most expensive ways,” Longwell said. “While offering competitive salaries and benefit packages may be important for recruitment, providing quality-of-life incentives and enhancing working environments are more important for retention.”

The study also found that while typical turnover among IT staff has remained relatively steady over the past three years, IT managers perceive the problem to be getting worse. This indicates that some IT skills remain in short supply or that IT managers may be finding it harder to gain approvals to fill vacancies.

The full report, Factors Influencing IT Employee Turnover Rates, is the first in a three-part series on recruitment and retention.