Firms forced to strike deals to secure IT skills

Employment contracts between high-tech employers and professionals with sought-after skills are increasingly becoming “deals”.

Alison Sawdey, vice-president of HR at UPC, the largest cable provider in Europe, told the conference that getting people on board with “gold dust” Internet and programming skills is a case of striking a bargain. The employee can demand a massive salary with benefits as long as they deliver on time.

Java programmers can start on a salary of £100,000 plus stock options, but in return will think nothing of working a 20-hour day to meet a deadline, she said.

Companies are expected to provide perks that fit the lifestyle of employees. UPC provides a dog-walking service, a laundry facility and a gym. Work hours are flexible, as are benefits packages.

“These are specialist people who want to work in a specific way and that requires very open-minded management,” Sawdey added.

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