Career Watch: An epidemic of poaching hits IT

Q&A: Bill Hayduk

The president and CEO of software quality assurance firm RTTS discusses IT staff poaching.

How prevalent has poaching of highly skilled employees become in the tech sector? Very. The perceived shortage has caused a carousel of experienced tech people going from one place to another.

What are companies doing to keep their best and brightest? Companies are trying to make the workforce more employee-friendly and flexible. Work schedules have become more suited to employees’ lifestyles, and the best employees are having their pick of the tasks at hand.

Billy Hayduk

Bill Hayduk

Are employees more likely to be offered great benefits and other positive retention methods, or to be required to sign a noncompete clause? Upfront, they are likely to be required to sign a noncompete. Once they are employees, if one was not already in place, signing one leaves a bad taste in employees’ mouths. Increased benefits, including bonuses, flex hours and work-at-home schedules, are being added quickly.

From the perspective of a sought-after worker, the benefits of popularity are clear. What are the drawbacks? Drawbacks are significant if the poachee is attempting to break a noncompete. Bad blood between the current employer and the poacher — in our case, our client — spills over to the employee. Also, IT is a small community, and word can spread that someone has minimal loyalty. The poachee risks long-term damage to their reputation for perceived short-term financial and benefits gain. Some find that the grass is not always greener.

Maybe Money Does Buy Happiness

Buried in Dice’s 2006 IT salary report are the following figures correlating job satisfaction with salary. There’s no way to know, though, which came first, the big bucks or the happiness.
Number of respondents who said they are...   Their average Salary
Very satisfied 14% $91,234
Somewhat satisfied 39% $80,046
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 14% $70,497
Somewhat dissatisfied 21% $62,845
Very dissatisfied 11% $50,180

Note: Percentages do not add up to 100% because of rounding.

Source: Online survey of 19,182 registered Dice.com job seekers and visitors, Aug. 2 to Nov. 30, 2006
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