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Roundtable: Winning the IT Talent Wars (Toronto)

On April 28, 2016, The IT Media Group hosted its CIO Master Series roundtable “Winning the IT Talent Wars” in Toronto, attended by 13 IT executives from the private and public sector. John Pickett, IT Media Group VP Executive Programs, moderated the discussion, while Chris Makkreel, Head of Solution Engineering, represented event sponsor Salesforce.

All of the executives at the table acknowledged the challenges they face in attracting and retaining skilled employees, and all shared excellent ideas and insights around dealing with the many issues impacting HR.

The conversation covered a wide range of topics including: finding and developing people with a blend of technical and soft skills; understanding employees and giving them feedback; the importance of training and mentoring; creating a culture in which it is okay to fail;

the pros and cons of telecommuting; clarity and consistency in messaging; and the use of contract versus full-time employees.

The subject of millennials got a thorough airing during the discussion. While their long-term contribution to the IT organization is considered vital, millennials do not feel the same kind of long-term commitment to the job as previous generations did. That being the case, CIOs are looking for strategies to keep millennials around for at least a few years. These include giving them access to advanced tools, allowing them enough rein to tackle initiatives that give them job satisfaction, and showing them how their work is having a positive impact on the organization.

You can find out more about managing millennials and other key topics from the discussion in the highlight videos below.

Session Highlights Videos

Skill Sets in Demand

Technical skills, while clearly important, are emphasised less than soft skills such as relationship management and 'design thinking'.


Hiring Challenges

Hiring managers find it difficult to devote the time needed to hire successfully.


Staff Retention

Greater mobility of IT professionals and generational changes in outlook add to the challenge of staff retention.

Care and Feeding of Millennials

A growing segment of the workforce, millennials, like generations before them, display different strengths, weaknesses and values than their predecessors.


Post session interviews

Chris Makkreel - Bridging the Old and New Technology Domains


Peter Carr - Understanding Millennials


Greg Williams - The Role of Direct Manager in Staff Retention


Chris Ward - Hiring with Security and Soft Skills in Mind


About CIO Master Series roundtables

The IT Media Group’s CIO Master Series is the most successful roundtable program for IT executives in Canada, bringing together scores of senior level peers for thoughtful private discussions around the top issues facing enterprise IT. Based in Toronto, The IT Media Group’s leadership team includes some of the most experienced and well respected technology, media and business professionals in the country.