Colorado's a great place to live, but is it a great place to work?
Even with fast growth, Colorado remains one of the toughest states to find tech talent
Colorado has recently been identified as one of the hottest new tech hubs beyond the Silicon Valley. Overall, the tech industry is rapidly expanding with forecasted national job growth in tech to be up 18-21 percent by 2024, according to studies from IT Tech Jobs Forecast & Growth Analysis and IT Security. Colorado will likely take a big slice of this growth pie. With starting tech salaries some of the highest for new graduates – typically starting around $62,000 per year – not to mention the cultural draw that Colorado has for so many, we should have top tech talent flooding the state, right?
In Colorado, tech startups are having a hard time finding talent, according to a recent study from Monster.com. Despite market growth and high starting salaries, the tech industry, in general, sees one of the highest rates of employee turnover with the average tenure estimated at just three years, according to PayScale.
So why is it, then, that we have a strong local job market and a high demand for talent, but we see such high rates of job dissatisfaction?
While Colorado is one of the best places to live, it's not necessarily one of the best places to work.
As a matter of fact, a recent study from Indeed.com showed that the Front Range was rated as the worst place to work in the country, and it's primarily because the small business community here does not know how to create great work environments for people to thrive.
At Turning the Corner, a Colorado-based training, HR and recruiting firm, the most common reason people leave their jobs is because of management issues.
This is magnified in Colorado, as local small businesses make almost no investment in leadership and management basics, resulting in low engagement and high turnover.
With a very competitive market presently, employers have to think about offering more than just salary to attract and keep talent. For example, they need to offer more holistic benefits like a flexible work schedule, a seat at the table to help define strategy, and continuing education.
People crave non-traditional work schedules and offering a flexible work schedule would be an added benefit to an employee. If employees believe in the mission and share the same values, worker satisfaction will be high. Getting team members to help define the company's mission will increase success. Offering professional development opportunities such as continuing education and online learning can increase job satisfaction.
There are also steps that job seekers can take to find the company and position that will be the right match. A strength and skills assessment can help discover someone's unique assets and how someone is wired. Turning the Corner provides the OPQ32 assessment, which looks at people from 64 different perspectives including behavioral and interpersonal styles, the job requirements and working environment that are a best fit, the way a person naturally thinks about people, approaches projects and more.
The good news is that because Colorado is one of the best places to live, we are attracting some talented individuals in every industry – especially in tech. Tech companies just need to work to keep them engaged in order to retain them.
I recommend that companies work to differentiate themselves as places striving to have the most mindful leaders in the country by truly investing in training that promotes better management. We need to make Colorado the place that creates the most emotionally intelligent leaders, and if we do that, we'll have no problem attracting the best to any industry and any job.