With product quality and innovation being top priorities for organisations in the IT sector, leaders are growing increasingly worried about a shortage of critical skills in the industry.

Other sectors, such as banking and finance, retail, pharmaceutical, and healthcare are ready to pay top dollar to hire from a skilled talent pool.

As a result, attracting and retaining talent becomes a big issue for tech enterprises. Little surprise, then, that according to the Aon Best Employers report, the voluntary attrition rate of 18 per cent for tech organisations is among the highest in all industries surveyed.

Even more alarming is the steadily declining engagement rate, which is now at just 54 per cent (down from 60 per cent). So how can tech sector employers become more attractive to jobseekers and encourage their employees to be more productive and engaged?

Employers in the tech sector today are experiencing breakthroughs faster than ever. Disruption is the norm, and organisations—both large incumbents and small start-ups—are creating new markets and controlling consumer experience like never before.

For tech organisations to thrive and have a competitive advantage, speed and agility is the driving force. Only people with the right skills can help these organisations to identify new opportunities quickly, and decide on and implement strategies swiftly. Understandably, with the rapidly changing work environment, talent’s expectations from employers are changing too.

Increasing connectedness, mobility and social media are making organisations more transparent to the outside world. In such an environment, current and prospective employees are impacted by an employer’s stated purpose of existence or the lack of it.

What should the tech industry do to engage its employees?

With changing economic conditions, new workplace trends and talent expectations, the main factors in engagement change quickly, which makes measuring it regularly an absolute imperative.

However, measuring engagement is not enough. Regular employee feedback is futile if actions are not taken based on these insights. According to Aon’s Best Employers report, only 70 per cent of the tech industry has a structured action plan to use the insights of engagement surveys. Even worse, only 63 per cent of these organisations communicate their plans to their employees, leaving them to question the purpose of these engagement surveys.

Reward and recognition programmes were ranked as the number one creator of engagement for staff in the tech industry by the report. It also showed that when employees are paid fairly but not recognised, the engagement is at 62 per cent; but if they are recognised yet not fairly paid, the engagement score jumps to 66 per cent. Most importantly, engagement levels soar to 88 per cent for tech employers who pay fairly and have effective recognition programmes.

Structured career development frameworks

Only 48 per cent of tech employers provide assignments to develop leadership talent and a mere 41 per cent adopt structured succession planning or even seriously focus on career conversations. As a result, only half of employees in tech organisations see good career development opportunities, and it is hardly a surprise when good talent leaves.

Tech sector or not, organisations need to think about the employee experience. That means how exciting the job content is, providing opportunities for learning, development and career advancement, and last but certainly not least reward and recognition.

Shruti Chhibber is the regional lead for Best Employers Asia at Aon Hewitt.

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