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A recent study by IT job search specialist Dice found more than half (54 percent) of hiring managers and recruiters anticipate that tech talent poaching will get more aggressive this year, while just three percent of respondents expect a let-up. That expectation is amplified when looking at hiring managers working in the technology or consulting industries. In those markets, 62 percent of those surveyed said talent skirmishes would get more aggressive, against one percent in the less aggressive camp.

The survey suggested hiring managers are taking frequent steps to keep technology talent from departing to the competition. The most popular tactics were accommodating flexible work hours, offering work on new or emerging technologies, and increasing salaries. Still, a majority of hiring managers (54 percent) said they believe they can tell when a technology professional is about to exit.

The most frequent sign is a change in habits related to work or a noticeable lack of engagement with colleagues or projects, but other signals include employees that are taking large numbers of single-day absences, changing to more formal dress, and getting up-to-date on expense accounts. Hiring managers also said they believe hiring multi-skilled, experienced technology professionals with industry-specific experience helps diminish the potential risk around making a poor hiring decision. Nearly three-quarters of corporate respondents were doubtful that the requirement for industry experience would be relaxed in 2011, saying that relaxing the requirement would be unlikely or there would be no change.

"Meanwhile, there are few consequences for technology professionals should they decide to jump to a competitor,” the report noted. “Only 11 percent of hiring managers said they would not allow a former employee to return after being poached, while one-third indicated the opposite. Most hiring managers say it would depend on the individual employee.”

For more, read the eWeek article: IT Talent-Poaching to Increase in 2011: Report.