Pressure, Pay, and the Changing Landscape for Tech Teams


by John Reed
January 11, 2016

Each year, in addition to the Robert Half Technology 2016 Salary Guide, we survey technology leaders about their hiring plans, skills in demand and other trends impacting their tech teams. Technology is still a leading industry for career potential and demand within organizations, and according to the 2016 Salary Guide, technology salaries, on average, will increase 5.3 percent this year. This number even rises dramatically for specific roles, like wireless network engineers, who will see a 9.7 percent increase in starting pay and help desk professionals who will see up to 6.2 percent increases in salaries.

And even with this growth, a recent survey from Robert Half Technology of CIOs found that one in five (20 percent) agree that tech professionals’ salaries are too low given their workload, which supports the 81 percent of respondents who indicated that pressure on IT professionals has increased from five years ago. The pressure on technology professionals to innovate and implement solutions is at an all-time high. And given the fact that 60 percent of CIOs say it’s somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals right now, it’s no surprise that their teams are feeling the pressure and are likely doing much more to meet expectations.

The changes impacting tech teams also mean there is additional pressure on IT leaders. In addition to keeping up with organizational demands, they must manage their teams effectively in order to execute, while remembering to pay extra attention to avoiding burnout. Managers are further called upon to put an increased effort behind recruiting talent in a tight candidate market, coming up with new and innovative solutions for retention and learning how to shift strategies to manage a multigenerational workplace (especially Generation Z, which I will be discussing at HDI 2016 in April).

Below are some tips for managers who are working to meet demands and keep their workers happy despite the changing landscape:

  1. Stay on top of salary trends. Keep track of compensation levels for professionals in your area—not only for new hires, but also for current team members. In such a tight candidate market, offering a salary that meets or exceeds industry standards gives you an advantage when recruiting and working to retain your team members. Salary guides, like the Robert Half Technology 2016 Salary Guide, provide average starting salaries that can be adjusted by geography.
  2. Keep tabs on stress levels. Most CIOs agree that pressure has increased for their team, so it’s especially important to be sure to keep regular check-ins with team members. Use your face-to-face time to offer time management or prioritization advice. Ask what other help you can provide to relieve growing responsibilities and be sure to adjust your tactics for your various team members. While some may want more flexible work options, others may want to discuss vacation days, additional training or even taking on different responsibilities based on current projects.
  3. Set a precedent. As a manager, it’s vital to exhibit the same work-life balance that you are encouraging your team to have. Plan your vacation time, and prepare for it effectively, in order to foster a team who does the same. While some projects or deadlines may lead to longer hours or late nights, but it’s important to strike a balance.
  4. Know when to provide support. If new projects or implementations are putting a strain on teams, consider bringing in project professionals. Using consultants can help your full-time team meet deadlines and avoid burnout. Your meetings with team members should be a good gauge on whether or not you need to bring on additional help. Be sure to make it a point to ask your team whether they think the team could use additional resources and what skills will help make the team run more efficiently in order to get projects done.

While there won’t likely be a shortage of projects to be deployed, implementations to lead and issues to resolve, it’s also a time for great innovation for technology teams. As IT plays a larger role within organizations, now is the time for IT leaders to ensure their teams feel supported in order to achieve success!


John Reed is the senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. In this role, he manages operations for more than 100 Robert Half Technology locations worldwide. John has an extensive background in both IT and staffing, including thirteen years in IT product sales and more than sixteen years in the staffing industry. He is a frequently quoted expert on employment trends in the IT field, and he has been featured in various media and research outlets.


Tag(s): workforce enablement, workforce enablement, hdi conference, people, leadership

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