Companies Will Have to Meet the Individual Needs of IT Employees to Keep Them on Staff, IDC Says

FRAMINGHAM, MA – JUNE 6, 2000 – Companies in the 21st century not only have to deal with a momentous lack of skilled IT workers, they also have to learn how to manage a significantly changing workforce. According to IDC, the way work will be accomplished this millennium will be very different than in the past because of a very different workforce.


"Gen Xers don't seem willing to make the traditional commitment to a business enterprise and work as the highest priority in life, and baby-boomers are leaving the corporate life at an increasing rate. Their relationship with a company is based more on an individual than a group agreement," said H. Michael Boyd, Ph.D, program manager for IDC's Human Resourcing Strategies research program. "As the century progresses, only those firms that understand and meet the expectations and needs of workers at the individual level will continue as long-term business entities."

Individual interests have replaced trust and loyalty as the primary reasons for employees' association with companies. According to IDC, downsizing, resizing, rightsizing, and reengineering employee jobs for the sake of improving the bottom line contributed to eroding employee trust and loyalty.

"The available workers in the 21st century will expect and demand individual accommodation with regard to their needs for security, predictability, and dignity," Boyd said. "The balance of power will shift entirely from the employer to the employee in the United States."

This shift in power will intensify the already-fierce competition for skilled IT workers, and companies will have to work even harder to attract and retain IT professionals.

"The shortage of sufficient IT workers to meet the continuing increase in the number of openings shows no signs of lessening," Boyd said. "It is consistently identified as the first or second most critical business issue in corporate America."

U.S. companies will have to go the extra mile to be considered employers of choice. Common perks already being offered include plush offices and onsite day care, banking, restaurants, dry cleaning, and automotive repair.

IDC's recommendations for attracting and retaining IT talent include transferring organizational power to the employees and sharing profits. IDC also suggests companies and employees take extra time to make sure the employee and company fit well together during the hiring process to reduce attrition.

"Attrition is the single largest contributor to the IT skills and staffing shortage in the United States," Boyd said. "Fifteen percent of the U.S. workforce is continually in transition between jobs, which creates an intensely competitive labor market, pushing up the cost of staffing, the cost of hiring, the cost of retention, and the overall cost of business."

IDC recently published two reports that discuss the 21st century IT workforce. The Future of the IT Workforce, 2000 and Beyond (IDC #B21937) looks at the changing IT workforce and the way the IT industry must respond to it. The report defines an IT worker, discusses the lack of skilled workers and recruiting efforts, looks at the causes of the crisis, and analyzes the changes in the workforce. The 21st Century IT Workforce: Success Depends on Skill, Experience, and Fit (IDC #B22029) analyzes how job candidates and companies can determine if they are a successful match. To purchase these reports, please contact Cheryl Toffel at 1-800-343-4952 extension 4389 or

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, high-impact insights and advice on the future of ebusiness, the Internet, and technology to help organizations make sound business decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends and analyzes business strategies, technologies, and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC provides global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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