Bridge the IT Hot Jobs Skills Gap With Aggressive Salaries and Strong Culture

By Christie Summervill

Bridge the IT Hot Jobs Skills Gap With Aggressive Salaries and Strong Culture

With 13% projected growth through 2026, this is a talent pool financial institutions can’t wait to hire for.

Some of the hottest jobs right now are in the information technology sector, and it’s creating a boon for talent and a skills gap for recruiters. It’s not industry-specific, because everyone from banks and credit unions to retailers and manufacturers needs this talent pool in spades. And this “problem” isn’t going away anytime soon, with lofty projections through the next decade.

One million jobs

That’s how many more open positions than college graduates are projected in the IT sector by 2020, per

There’s a talent shortage and simultaneous spike in demand. Employers have to compete against one another for employees, only driving up the wages of IT positions. And because these positions are transferable across industry, competition exists not only between banks and credit unions, but across unrelated industries. Banks are just as likely to compete with an aviation firm or food startup!

It’s a buyer’s market

…and the buyers know it! A strong demand for eligible talent coupled with the healthy economy make these costly, yet essential, positions to fill for the organization, and lucrative jobs for the talent.

In 2016, the median annual salary for all computer and IT occupations was $83,000, compared to a median annual salary of only $37,000 for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They project 13% growth through 2026, with some specific positions, like IT security, projected to grow at a much faster rate of 28%.

Don’t spend more than you have to

Hyper-inflating job titles in the IT department is a prevalent practice, and it can contribute to elevated salaries. It’s a difficult situation for HR personnel being pushed by internal stakeholders to pay higher salaries while thoroughly unpacking a technical position description.

What we’re seeing is someone receive a title like Network Engineer for a position that only requires a high school diploma with on-the-job training and a job description to troubleshoot software and hardware issues, make repairs, and perform scheduled updates. With a title like that, they want the salary to match.

A true network engineer has the complex task of constructing, architecting, and managing the organization’s entire computer network while also analyzing data, staying ahead of security and information standards, presenting to and working with senior management, and having the leadership skills to manage their own team. Hyperinflated titles lead to hyperinflated salaries to compensate for the discrepancy between positions and experience.

Adding value to the workforce

This is no longer the world where one guy who “does computers” works in the basement and helps you “turn it off and turn it on again.” These are educated, highly motivated, insightful professionals with a unique talent and specialized skill set that grows more and more essential to the organization every day. Where financial institutions are concerned, they’re responsible for ensuring your customers have a seamless online banking experience, maintaining account security, and making the organization more efficient through data-supported decisions.

How do we recommend hiring for these hot positions? Anthony Bieker, economist and compensation director for BalancedComp says:

  • Bring talent in at a higher compa ratio, even with limited experience
  • Progress through the ranges faster than average. Perhaps get them to midpoint and above in 3 years.
  • Add a 10% premium to the midpoint
  • Invest in their additional certifications to show a commitment to their development
  • Consider allowing them to flex overtime
  • Consider allowing them to work remotely

This year’s annual BalancedComp Salary Survey included additional IT functions for the first time, an occupation we’ll continue to monitor. This is what our 431 bank and credit union respondents shared about these positions in their organizations:

Managing turnover of in-demand jobs

The problem facing this and all industries is that there simply aren’t enough qualified people. For the talent that is available, you’ll have to woo them with more than just cash. A survey shared by showed that 45% of IT professionals were not actively looking for a job, and only 39% were passively looking.

Expensive positions become more so when there’s high turnover. These individuals are certainly swayed by total compensation offers, but a company’s location, mission, and culture also provide a lot of reason to stay…and stay in lieu of larger bonuses or comp packages, too.

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