Why the tech industry is failing to retain talent

Kim Pullinger, Contributor · 13 May

The UK tech industry employs 2 million people and generated £180 billion in 2018 – but the cost to replace talent is increasing with staff turnover rates at 13.2%.

The challenges with recruitment in tech

High demand

An ethos of a tech company is to be at the cutting edge of making people’s lives easier and has to stay there to be successful. Innovation and expansion are crucial. This makes the best employees a coveted asset and a war for talent is already being waged.

Employee working with innovative tech

Research by LinkedIn showed nearly 50% of employees who leave their jobs in tech stay in the field. With the industry not being the issue, employees are leaving for companies who offer better wages, perks and working environments.

Rising compensation

In an industry where talented developers can be headhunted 20 times a day – combined with employees knowing their own value – potential employers have to stand out to attract the best.

The most skilled employees hold the power in the recruitment process and don’t have to settle for an unattractive offer. Companies who match those expectations will get the best.

A negative working environment

High stakes at tech companies can create stressful working environments which have a negative effect on work life balance. Research by Kapor found unfairness or mistreatment at work was a significant factor in leaving a job. While this was higher among BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic) employees, people from all backgrounds still cited it as their top reason for moving on.

Stressed employee at work

How HR can solve this

Diversity and inclusion initiatives

Further research by Kapor found that 62% of employees would have stayed in a role if the company had created a positive work environment. Diversity and inclusion initiatives ensure employees from all backgrounds are represented in their work culture. When the whole business is bought until this, it results in happier employees and less money lost to recruitment.

Diversity and equality notes

Career mapping and perks

Not every tech company can compete with huge salary offers, but career mapping and perks are innovative ways to retain talent.

Career mapping allows employees to set and discuss personal goals for their career development. Not every employee wants to end up in management so it’s important to map their career in a way which takes the company’s and employee’s ambitions into consideration. Help them get there and it’s a win for both.

Perks given on top of a meaningful career path will cement an employee’s engagement – and there are many examples: free coffee, free cinema tickets, social events, and unlimited holidays. While not a complete guarantee, perks enhance the employee experience and connect them to the company. Put it this way – no one has ever left a company because they had too many employee benefits.


Many are hesitant to upskill their employees through fear of losing them to a rival. But what if those employees stayed? Both the company and the employee will be in a better state.

Employees learning new skills

It’s a no-brainer. Employees will reciprocate the time, energy, and money spent on their development with increased loyalty to their employer. And when development programmes are offered with the other strategies above, the result is better-skilled employees who are much less likely to leave their jobs.

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