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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – IT professionals have fond memories of the late `90s. Those were their glory days when IT demand outweighed supply, allowing these employees to call the shots with employers. Things have changed. “While IT staffing continues to be a challenge, things are much better than during the heyday of the NASDAQ at 5,000,” said John Schooler, senior vice president and chief technology officer for USERS. “We have seen quite an improvement in the number and caliber of resumes following the dot.com collapse. For a time we were finding it difficult to respond when employees were being promised huge potential stock options, but that phase has definitely waned,” said Schooler. He said at one point there was an exodus of USERS employees leaving to join small start-ups where they were promised the world – no more. Michelle Porath, senior staffing representative with Liberty Enterprises and who has been a technical recruiter for four years, said the IT employment scene has come back down to earth. “It is my opinion that the technical work force market has corrected itself. Technical workers can no longer expect inflated salaries that were the norm only one year ago, and `job jumping’ is a thing of the past,” said Porath. The wants of job seekers has really changed, said Porath. “When speaking with technical candidates now, more of them describe their ideal company as a stable company with good benefits and a pleasant working environment. A year ago, most candidates were looking for flexible schedules, work-from-home options and other perks that are now seemingly unimportant,” she said. IT people are certainly looking for jobs. After a posting on popular online job seeking engine Monster.com, Porath received almost 200 resumes within one day. “It has become difficult to manage the resume flow and ensure all qualified applicants are screened,” said Porath. But what the CU vendors are seeing in comparison with CUs is quite different. Eric Janda, vice president for D. Hilton Associates, which specializes in recruiting, said CUs have much more stable work environments. “In this industry you have people who don’t bounce around quite as much. This industry is just different from others in my opinion. People don’t necessarily jump ship to get the highest dollar,” said Janda. Janda worked as a technical recruiter in the Austin, Texas area prior to joining D.Hilton. Working with such large tech firms as Dell and Motorola, he said he could see the contrast with the CU industry. “One of the first questions I asked IT execs, CEOs, CFOs and others when I got in this industry was, `why do you work in this industry when you could go and make 20 to 40% more somewhere else?’ They said it’s not about the money. They like the environment. There’s not the stress of stockholders breathing down your neck. It’s a refreshing attitude to see.” Janda said he has been helping CUs attract IT people this year, and one clear trend he sees is that they prefer to hire IT employees from other credit unions. “Whether it’s a larger asset credit union with more IT programs, employees will tend to jump to another CU, rather than out of the industry.” He noted that with very specific salary data available from CUES and CUNA, IT professionals know what to expect based on the size of the CU. Demand from credit unions for IT employees doesn’t appear to be ultra-high right now. Callahan’s online job center (www.creditunions.com) allows employers to post employment opportunities, and job seekers to post their resumes. At press time, Callahan’s reported that since June and with 300 CUs registered to post jobs, only 15 jobs listed have been in the IT realm. David Reis, director of technology for the $200 million Atlantic CU, Newtown Square, Pa., said his CU takes pride in low IT staff turnover. “We haven’t had any turnover in the last five years. We had a good deal of turnover in years previous to that,” said Reis. The CU has a staff of six IT professionals, with a seventh coming on shortly. Reis said there are plenty of high-tech companies in the area, but competitive pay and working with new technologies helps keep staff in place. “We’re constantly doing new things. People are motivated by the challenge,” said Reis. Still the power IT people yield in the industry is seen in dollars and cents. According to CUES 2001 compensation survey, IT executives saw the largest total compensation increase among all executive positions, even among CEOs where a shortage is expected (see chart). [email protected]

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