Tech hiring has been growing over the last few years, and Robert Half Technology’s State of U.S. Tech Hiring points to more of the same in the first half of 2019.

Sixty-three percent of technology leaders surveyed expect to add members to their teams in the first half of the year; another 95 percent of those surveyed said they will bring on interim or project professionals. (See the infographic below for more survey results.)

The survey results also demonstrate that the hiring environment continues to be active and many businesses are struggling to find the people they need to fill open jobs and advance their technology initiatives. Eighty-seven percent of IT executives in our survey said it's challenging to find skilled technology professionals today.

Hiring? We can help:

Top tech priorities and skills in demand

Nearly all (97 percent) of technology leaders in the U.S. are confident in their companies’ prospects for growth in 2019. Top priorities for them include maintaining IT systems security, investing in new technology, and focusing on innovation to help grow business and cloud projects. 

It’s no surprise then, when asked to identify the skills needed most urgently by their organizations, tech leaders said: 

  1. Cybersecurity
  2. Cloud security
  3. Cloud computing
  4. Cloud architecture

Retention is key in a competitive hiring environment

The most effective IT staffing strategy starts with a strong retention plan. Ninety percent of IT leaders surveyed are retraining or upskilling current employees for in-demand skills. That’s a good approach because it shows an employer’s commitment to each person’s professional growth. It doesn’t hurt that retraining can also help meet the company’s need for hard-to-find skills. 

Here are some retention strategies to consider:

  • Schedule regular one-on-one sessions with employees to increase communication and address job satisfaction proactively. It’s important to recognize that IT team members have many options in the job market and will look elsewhere if their career needs aren’t being met.
  • Conduct a thorough compensation analysis to ensure your salaries are competitive. Again, your staff probably has options in the marketplace, and if they feel they’re not being compensated competitively, they may move on.
  • Know what else engages your employees in addition to salary. Top benefits and incentives might include the ability to learn and grow (see reskilling mentioned above), the opportunity to work on interesting projects, bonus or stock options, advancement opportunities and more vacation time. 
  • Don’t forget how important your company culture is. Check out our report to find out what you can do to make sure your employees love where they work.

Finally, when it comes to hiring IT pros, streamline your hiring process as much as possible. Make sure you’re offering a competitive salary and don’t drag out the hiring process waiting for the “perfect” candidate. You may lose promising tech professionals to other firms.