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July 28, 2000
90% of Large Co's Give IT Sign-on Bonuses: Rx for Turnover?

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Turnover self-fulfilling prophesy?

In case you've been in a time capsule for the last 2 years, IT workers are just about as hard to find as doctors who make house calls. The Information Technology Association of America(ITAA) and William M. Mercer, Incorporated recently did a study finding that information technology positions are substantially harder to fill than other types of jobs.

The most interesting part of the study concerned hiring bonuses and types of IT workers in most demand. The study, which surveyed 75 U.S. companies representing 34 states, found that IT and non-IT organizations alike reported difficulty in hiring IT workers, and an average of almost 37% longer to fill IT jobs than non-IT.

Hardest to find specialties

The most acute IT hiring difficulties reported were in SQL, E-Commerce, and Java / ActiveX competencies, although it is not easy find and hire qualified workers in almost every IT job category.

"The IT job shortage continues to impact virtually every sector of our economy. Organizations large and small, from diverse industries, all report difficulty recruiting and retaining qualified technology workers," commented ITAA President Harris N. Miller.

Sign-on bonuses - related to turnover

The largest contrast was reported in organizations offering sign-on bonuses. On average, 76.5% of companies offered sign-on bonuses to IT workers, compared to 52.5% for non-IT workers. Large organizations were most likely to give sign-on bonuses to IT workers, reporting they did so more than 90% of the time. Some experts believe sign-on bonuses could become a self-fulfilling prophesy for high turnover, as IT workers continue to move in order to collect them.

"Higher base pay increases, sign-on bonuses and other perks are reported for the average IT worker, all of which point to a continued shortage of skilled workers in the US," said Haig Nalbantian from Mercer's Human Capital Strategy Group, who conducted the study

The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) provides global public policy, business networking, and national leadership to promote the continued rapid growth of the IT industry.

Mercer is located at


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