Study finds worker training key to retaining IT employees

Giving IT workers tranining opportunities is the number one motivator, a US survey finds. By Linda Rosencrance

IT workers who don't feel they're getting the training necessary to do their jobs are more likely to be looking for new jobs, according to a survey by The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), an information technology industry trade association in the US.

"If their employer isn't supporting them at all in their training, 56% [of 462 IT workers surveyed] said they were just going to look for employment elsewhere, and only 33% or so said that they were going to stay put," says CompTIA spokeswoman June Keszeg. "[By contrast], 66% of employees who are reimbursed 100% for their training by their companies said they're not looking for new jobs. They're staying put and only 22% are looking elsewhere."

CompTIA did the survey to better identify how IT professionals are being trained, including issues such as who pays for that training, what workers expect of their employers and what they are trying to achieve personally and professionally, says Neill Hopkins, vice president of skills development at CompTIA.

"The survey highlighted that a lot of the IT professionals pay for their own training," he says. "Clearly, the employers don't seem to have good career paths planned for the IT professionals. And a lot of these IT professionals are furthering their training to further their careers in order to find other jobs. They're job hopping."

Hopkins says CompTIA believes there is a clear lack of understanding among employers about what an IT professional needs in terms of skills in order to be successful.

"Most employers don't understand what an IT professional needs to be successful in their own organisation," Hopkins says. "And those that do will gladly pay for that person to go and get trained, and subsequently that professional, according to our research, will most likely stay with that company."

Hopkins says it's clear that a lot of IT professionals want to further their careers through training, adding that the survey also indicates that employers don't have a clear understanding of the IT roles within their organisations.

"Those that do will gladly pay for their IT professionals to get trained. [They] understand that IT is an absolutely critical part of their business success," Hopkins says. "Those that don't will probably go through a high turnover in IT staff [with the] understanding that IT is a necessary evil rather than a critical asset. I think those that get it will be the bigger companies, whereas the small-to-medium[-size] businesses still don't quite fathom that IT is actually as important as having a certified accountant on their staff."

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