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The Key to Retaining (and Attracting) Top IT Talent

The Key to Retaining (and Attracting) Top IT Talent

As the Great Resignation gives way to the Great Retention, hiring managers across industries are all too aware of the ravages of high turnover. Not only does your company spend, on average, about 30% of the salary for a position to rehire for it1, but your workplace experiences a loss of skills, knowledge, and working relationships every time an employee leaves the team.

The pain of loss is severe when it comes to IT team members. These are the professionals who understand the technologies that make your business run, the ones who keep your systems healthy, safe, and operational. When you lose your top IT talent, you feel it. Compounding this situation, technology employees tend to turn over at higher rates compared with those in most other job categories. A study from 2018 found that technology workers had a turnover rate of 13.2%, which was the highest rate of turnover of all industries2.

Unfortunately, the turnover rate for IT employees has only continued to climb, reaching 21.3% in 20203. Furthermore, findings of a Gartner study in 2022 suggest that high turnover in IT will persist, as only 29% of IT professionals reported having a high intent to stay in their positions with their current employer4.

If you are like many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) competing for tech talent during the Great Retention, you are almost certainly looking for better ways to attract and retain top IT talent. When you start with an understanding of why technology workers leave, and what attracts them to new employers, you can design attraction and retention strategies that work:

Provide Opportunities for Advancement

In a survey of IT professionals that asked about their reasons for turnover, the most common reason for leaving previous jobs—shared by 45% of respondents—was lack of opportunity for advancement5. This makes promoting from within the company an important retention strategy to consider.

Support Career Path Development

In addition to promoting IT employees to higher positions within your company, it is also important to provide access to developmental experiences that help to strengthen an IT employee’s skills and capacities in their chosen career path. This is so important that 59% of IT professionals reported that this is what attracted them to a new employer6.

Offer Competitive Pay

If you guessed that pay was the most influential attraction and retention factor, you’re in good company, but the truth is that pay ranked below advancement opportunities and career path support. Interestingly, a higher proportion of IT employees (54%) felt that pay was compelling when choosing a new employer, compared with only 34% who reported leaving a job because of dissatisfaction with pay7.

Provide Opportunities to Make an Impact

Another factor that was important to IT professionals was the degree to which they are able to make an impact on their company. Specifically, 42% of IT professionals reported that this possibility is what drew them to new employers8. This indicates that environments in which IT employees are able to stretch, make improvements, and exercise their creativity are more attractive than those in which the IT role is more repetitive and focused on maintaining the status quo.

Avoid Work Overload

Finally, stress and burnout are known predictors of turnover among IT talent. Research established that work overload can influence IT workers to feel less committed to their organizations, which then increases the likelihood of turnover9. Even IT positions that seem attractive at first glance will eventually lose their appeal if job demands are too heavy on a chronic basis.

The Key to Strengthen Your IT Talent Attraction & Retention Strategy

Attraction and retention strategies are often developed using solely in-house resources, but many SMBs have found that partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) strengthens their ability to attract and retain their own in-house IT talent. This is because the MSP often assumes responsibility for routine, repetitive, time-consuming IT tasks, allowing in-house IT professionals to:

  • Pursue new training and mentorships that build their career path capacities;
  • Take on more challenging, creative IT projects that make an impact on their companies;
  • Increase their skillsets in ways that lead to promotion;
  • Avoid burnout by maintaining a reasonable workload and pace.

Co-managing your IT in partnership with an MSP allows you to create working conditions that are more attractive to top IT talent—and that help to retain them once they sign on. Containing turnover costs relieves pressure on your budget, allowing you to offer more competitive pay for IT employees. In these ways, partnering with an MSP can be key to retaining your top IT talent.

Interested in exploring managed services as an attraction and retention strategy for IT talent?


  1. Work Institute. (2020). 2020 retention report.
  2. Booz, M. (2018, March 15). These 3 industries have the highest talent turnover rates. LinkedIn.
  3. Silverman, R. (2020). Retail sector wages are rising due to higher employee turnover and e-commerce demand. Aon.
  4. Moore, S. (2022, March 9). Garnter survey finds only 29% of IT workers have high intent to stay with current employer. Gartner.
  5. 5. 6. 7. 8. Thomson, L. (n.d.). How to attract and retain top technology talent. LinkedIn.

        9.Harden, G., Boakye, K. G., & Ryan, S. (2018). Turnover intention of technology professionals: A social exchange theory perspective.Journal of                 Computer Information Systems, 58(4), 291-300.