A recent survey has suggested that half of all Australian ICT professionals have been headhunted in the last 12 months.
The survey -- an online poll by recruiter Candle ICT -- found that 51 percent of 1000 respondents across Australia had been targeted by headhunters in the past year.
However, only 14 percent of the respondents changed jobs as a result.
Trevor Taylor, national manager at Candle ICT, said headhunting would become more common this year.
"We see the demand for highly skilled ICT professionals rising, particularly those with rare skill sets," he said.
Employers needed to address staff retention issues as a top priority for 2005, Taylor added.
He said many "key" staff members would have been among the 14 percent that were successfully headhunted.
Losing such staff would negatively affect core business and projects in many businesses, especially because they were becoming difficult and "increasingly expensive" to replace, he said.
“Motivating people as well as building a positive team culture is crucial, not only to retain staff but to also increase productivity. Ignoring the needs of your current team is not an option,” Taylor said.
Candle ICT itself claimed an internal staff turnover of eight percent – a figure it said was an industry low.
Managers who wanted to retain ICT professionals must communicate their "vision, values and strategy" and outline how IT helped achieve those aims, it said.
Flexible working policies and management approaches that "empowered" staff to make their own decisions "where appropriate", providing opportunities for professional development, relevant training, recognition and reward for excellence, performance incentives and strong human resources support were key in keeping staff, Candle ICT said.