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Background: The software industry in Sri Lanka is still in its infancy. However, it is an industry which has shown one of the highest growth rates in the last five years. The revenue earned by the software exports has grown to Rs. 55 million in year 2000, from almost nothing from the year 1996. It has been predicted that this high growth rate will continue in the near future. There are about 30 major software firms in Colombo (with employee strengths more than 50) that cater almost entirely to the global market. One salient feature differentiates the software industry from any other industry is that the notably high dependability on the skilled human capital.
The success of any software firm is largely determined by the skills and the competence of its software programmers. For this reason the skilled programmers are usually offered impressive salaries and benefits, than what their counterparts in the other industries receive. Although no detailed studies have been done in this area the general belief is that most of the software companies show high employee turnover rates. This has become a major concern for the following reasons: The direct negative effect to the business continuity of the firm created by the programmers leaving in the middle of the projects The loss of the financial investment spent on training the programmers The cost and the effort necessary to find replacements from the highly competitive job market The possibility of the competitors getting the business and technical secrets of the firm from the employees who change over Objective: The objectives of this study are to: Assess the criticality of the employee turnover problem to the Sri Lankan software firms Find the reasons for the high employee turnover in the software firms Determine how such reasons can be eliminate by proper human resource planning to minimise the employee turnover rates Significance of the study: The findings of this study will be important to the managements of the Sri Lankan software firms and HR Managers of those firms for HR planning process. Methodology: The suggested methodology of this study involves: An Information gathering from the software programmers in selected software firms about their expectations, career objectives and working conditions offered to them to determine the reasons behind the frequent changeovers. (The information gathering will be done in the form of a survey using questionnaires) An Information gathering from the CEOs / HR managers of the selected Sri Lankan software firms (The information gathering will be done in the form of face-to-face interviews) An analysis of the contemporary IT job market in Sri Lanka to enable the HR Managers of the software firms to decide which job categories should be given more emphasis while preparing their HR plans. (For this phase the relevant institutions such as Council for Information Technology, Board of Investments ad Sri Lanka software vendors association will be approached.).
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