About two-thirds of IT executives are taking steps to prepare workers for leadership roles, according to a recent survey by Robert Half Technology.

The firm surveyed 270 Canadian CIOs about succession planning and moulding future leaders in an industry faced with low unemployment among tech workers and the impending retirement of baby boomers.

The unemployment rate is at a 30-year low and as a result there’s more turnover in IT, said Igor Abramovitch, division director of consulting services with Robert Half Technology. To retain staff, companies should offer management training, mentoring programs and other forms of skills development, he said. But if they do lose a senior IT professional, they want to make sure there’s continuity in leadership.

Succession planning could include internal courses on topics such as budgeting, conflict resolution, time management and project management. Or, a company could offer up some business knowledge about the company or allow an IT worker to sit in on management meetings.

“A third of companies in our survey didn’t do much about succession planning,” said Abramovitch. “They swept it under the rug because they are busy with other things.” If this is the case, he added, an IT worker could take an external course to develop those skills.

Of those companies undertaking succession planning, management training, mentoring programs and soft-skills training top the list of measures to prepare staff for advancement.

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