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How to Hang on to Your Tech Talent in 2018

Sunday Dec 17th 2017 by Pedro Hernandez

A third of IT professionals plan to pursue new career opportunities in 2018, according to Spiceworks. Here's some advice on keeping your techies happy.

Spiceworks' 2018 IT Career Outlook report has arrived, and small business owners that are concerned about retaining their tech talent will want to have a look.

The good news is that IT professionals are largely satisfied with their jobs (70 percent). The bad news is that many aren't thrilled with the size of their paychecks.

Spiceworks recently quizzed more than 2,100 IT professionals in North America and Europe and found that nearly two-thirds of them (63 percent) felt underpaid. Among millennial IT workers, the feeling is even more acute (68 percent) while slightly fewer Gen Xers (60 percent) and baby boomers (61 percent) believe their compensation comes up short.

Spiceworks' 2018 IT Career Outlook

In North America, the median IT salary is $60,000 per year. Individually, that figure can vary wildly depending on many factors, including years of experience and a worker's role. Nonetheless, a significant portion of the IT workforce will be looking for jobs that improve their earning potential.

Heading for the Exits

Nearly a third of respondents (32 percent) said they are planning a job search or will take a new IT job in 2018. Millennials are likelier to jump ship (36 percent) than Gen Xers (32 percent) and baby boomers (23 percent).

Where does this leave budget-conscious small and midsized businesses (SMBs)? Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks, shares some insights into how smaller organizations can cope.

But be warned, it might be time to loosen the purse strings a little.

"According to Spiceworks' 2018 IT Career Outlook, the top two reasons IT workers will seek new employment opportunities next year are to find a job where they can make more money and advance their IT skills. Therefore, small businesses need to offer competitive salaries and provide continuing education or training opportunities if they want to attract and retain skilled IT workers," Tsai told Small Business Computing.

"But more pay might not be an option for all small organizations," Tsai continued. "Spiceworks research shows that on average, full-time IT professionals working in large enterprises earn approximately 10 percent more per year than those working full time in SMBs."

Work-Life Perks

As in life outside the office, money can't always by happiness, reminded Tsai.

"Thankfully, for smaller companies, money isn't everything," he said. "Our research also shows that IT professionals working in smaller businesses report higher levels of job satisfaction and lower levels of stress than their peers at larger companies, which can be important for job potential candidates that prioritize quality of life over higher pay."

In terms of the skills that IT pros deem important in the New Year, it's no surprise that cybersecurity ranks first (81 percent). 2017's seemingly endless barrage of data breaches and ransomware attacks has IT departments on edge and on the lookout for skilled workers that can help keep their networks and data safe.

That said, computer networking skills (80 percent) are a close second, followed by expertise in infrastructure hardware (79 percent) and end-user devices (76 percent). Data storage and backup skills (75 percent) round out the top five.

Check out the rest of Spiceworks' 2018 IT Career Outlook here.

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