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What CEOs need to do attract and retain tech talent

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More than eight out of 10 tech professionals have a favourable opinion of CEO activists, i.e. those business leaders who take a stance on issues they believe are important, according to a survey commissioned by Weber Shandwick in partnership with KRC Research.

Leveraging on tech professionals’ preferences towards CEOs who take a stand on issues they care about, employers have the opportunity to make an impact on tech talent, who can be a hard to attract and retain segment.

Weber Shandwick’s chief reputation strategist Leslie Gaines-Ross said: “Although this tech segment acknowledges the risk of CEOs speaking up, they expect their leaders to be public advocates when it comes to issues that impact people’s lives.”

About four years ago, attracting and retaining talent was cited as one of the top HR challenges that employers worldwide faced. In light of this, here are five ways in which CEOs can successfully make use of their activism to retain their tech talent:

1. Recognise the advantage of CEO activism 

Tech professionals are highly enthusiastic about CEOs speaking out on today’s hotly debated issues. Notably, they express increased loyalty to an employer whose CEO is a public advocate. 

At a glance, job training, equal pay and data privacy are all ranked as the top three issues by tech workers in and outside of the technology sector, which they would like CEOs to address.


2. Make company values crystal clear, both internally and externally

CEOs and companies are finding that they need to be accountable to their values. Technology employees are particularly values-driven, with nearly nine in 10 believing a CEO has a responsibility to defend the values of his or her organisation.

3. Take into account the issues that resonate most with tech professionals

While tech professionals care most about issues that directly affect their jobs, they are also likely to consider the impact of technology on future generations of advanced technology professionals.


4. Understand the wide reach of CEO activism

The desire for CEOs to speak out is highly desired by high tech professionals across the seven markets in the survey, which include the U.S., U.K., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, India and China, without being limited to a single market.

5. Don’t overlook women technology professionals

Women technology professionals are significantly more likely than their male colleagues to agree that CEOs need to defend company values, to have a more favourable opinion overall of CEO activism and to feel CEOs have a responsibility to speak out.

Eight out of 10 women say their loyalty to their employers would increase if their organisations were led by CEO activists. At a time when companies are looking to attract more women technologists, CEO activism may be an advantage to promote in hiring activities.

ALSO READ: NTUC forms tech talent association to keep ICT professionals employable

Infographics and lead image / Weber Shandwick  

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