Employers Are Concerned About Finding IT Talent, Employees Are Concerned About Pay Disparity

By Chelsea Babin

It’s no secret that IT job growth has been steadily rising over the last year. In August, the overall tech-unemployment rate was 2.9%, coming down from 3.4% in July. Even the general unemployment rate is now at a relative low of 5.1%. With more workers, particularly technical workers, already employed it’s easy to see why IT employers are scrambling to find the technical talent they’re still desperately searching for.

However, there is one way that IT employers can easily get a leg up on the competition. A recent study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute found that from 2000 to 2014 American workers’ total productivity increased 21.% while the median worker’s compensation, including pay and benefits, only rose a mere 1.8%. While the gap between productivity and average compensation is at an all-time high, this trend has actually been building for decades, with the first recorded break between productivity and compensation showing up in 1973. With a presidential election looming, the issue of the widening income gap is being repeatedly addressed in various media forms and employees, particularly in demand IT employees, are taking notice.

With the miniscule rise in the median worker’s compensation under a giant spotlight, talented technical professionals are wondering if they can find better compensation elsewhere. This does not, however, mean that they’re looking to jump ship at the first sign of a higher salary offer. Instead, technical employees are getting savvy about searching for employment opportunities that compensate them in more valuable ways, in addition to having a competitive salary they can survive on. Many workers are willing to trade overwhelming salary increases for life improving benefits that help them regain more of their free time and more freedom to develop their skills in a variety of areas on the job.

These other desirable forms of compensation can be found in work/life balance improving benefits like flextime, telecommuting, and unlimited PTO. They can also be found in increased focus on training, tuition reimbursement, and mentorship programs. Additionally, some talented technical employees are looking for fun office environments with onsite perks like gyms or movie theaters, while others are looking for higher 401k matches and profit sharing.

Talented technical employees are intelligent, so they’re never going to be attracted simply to salary boosts. Instead, to curb the fear of a poorly rising median worker’s compensation, they’re looking to companies that offer unique life-improving and skill-developing benefits. If IT employers want to find the technical talent they’re looking for in this IT shortage, they’ll need to reevaluate their total compensation package and maintain a competitive edge to get the best candidates on their team.