Aharon Ragowsky published in Communications of the ACM

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Mike Ilitch School of Business Associate Professor of Information Systems Management Aharon Ragowsky has had an article published in Communications of the ACM, a monthly journal of the Association for Computing Machinery, which publishes articles for readers with backgrounds in all areas of computer science and information systems.

The article, “Managing IT Professional Turnover,” was co-authored by David Gefen and Kelly Idell, both of Drexel University.

Introduction

IT employee turnover is a major concern of CIOs and senior IT managers. It has been for many years. The most recent annual Society for Information Management (SIM) survey of IT managers confirms that concern and attempts to get to the bottom of the issue. Since 2014, IT employee turnover has been on the rise—9% in 2014, 8.6% in 2015, 8% in 2016, 7.3% in 2017, and 8.2% in 2018, with 69.9% of those being voluntary. As if that were not troublesome enough, 6.9% of the IT workforce is projected to retire in the next five years. These trends have a direct impact on the bottom line of organizations employing IT professionals. Some managers believe the 'revolving door' of IT adds an estimated 20% to their expected costs. Overall, compensation accounts for 35%–37% of the entire IT budget. When an employee leaves a company, it bears the burden of selecting, recruiting, and training a replacement, which amounts to up to 150% of the employee's annual salary, considering the time spent to search for, recruit, and interview a replacement. Maybe partially reflecting these costs, the percent of IT budget spent on training has accordingly been rising in recent years, standing at a projected 5.9% in 2019, up from 5.1% in 2018 and 2.9% in 2017. When trying to explain why IT professionals are leaving, IT managers surveyed by SIM blame a strong job market. Indeed, IT talent retention has consistently been ranked in the survey as the second or third "Most Important/Worrisome IT Management Issues" since 2013. Only the combined category of security/cybersecurity/privacy outranks it.

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