META Group released its annual report on America's IT job market. Results were compiled from 600 large American corporations. META Group's 2002 IT Staffing and Compensation study shows that qualified people are leaving the IT world for other ventures. One major discovery was that during the economic downturn and plague of job cuts of the past year, the voluntary departure rate among IT employees reached upward of 20 percent in some sectors, where a turnover rate of 9 percent is considered healthy. Another fact that surfaced was that it became more expensive to retain the current workers last year: the rewarding of retention bonuses for IT workers increased 32 percent from this time last year. The fact that more than 50 percent of the current federal IT workforce will retire by 2009 will leave thousands of IT positions open.

The bottom line is that with the high IT employee departure rate, those employers who don't aggressively court and develop IT staff through the downturn into the long term, will find themselves in crisis mode.

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