Interview: Motorola CIO on recruiting and retaining talent

Motorola CIO Patricia Morrison talks about recruiting and retaining talent in the global marketplace, innovation in IT and developing a process for integrating acquisitions.


You mean their fathers instilled in them a sense of confidence?

Yes, because IT is hard - not that business isn't hard or nursing isn't hard. Confidence is a leadership quality. What the profession is about is problem-solving. It's not about computation so much; it's not only about programming, but about solving problems. Some of them are big, hairy business problems you are solving. Some are usability problems for products. There's a lot of art and finesse that we don't talk about when we try to attract women to the profession.

Is IT worker retention a concern for you?

We talk about retaining people every month in my operating reviews in China and India. In those regions, there's a lot of job-shopping going on, so much that it reminds me of the heyday of the IT bubble, where people changed jobs every two months. For our growth and what we're doing at Motorola in those regions, we need leaders on the ground and in IT. We need to support the growth of R&D, and we need to be where the work is. It's very important, but it's hard to retain them.

Any ideas on how to deal with that?

We don't really know yet. It's an emerging trend. We know that what motivates IT people is, "Does my customer really appreciate my work?" But how did we get to the point where we train a person and suddenly they go down the street for 20% to 30% increases in pay? It's the nature of the markets there right now.

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