> mentoring is a lost ROI in many cases.
What investment? Grads are cheap, and time to productivity as I argued isn't that long, before which they aren't merely learning. Most of the investment here is on the worker's part, and greener pastures aren't available as quickly as productivity sets in. If you're fresh out of school and working, leaving a company is unthinkable in the first year, unlikely in the 2nd.
This isn't saying that mentoring can't be a positive ROI - just that the person needs to stay long enough.
> If you're fresh out of school and working, leaving a company is unthinkable in the first year, unlikely in the 2nd.
You should check out reddit /r/cscareerquestions and consider how many people advocate leaving under a year.
I will also note that for my own experience, while there are some developers who stay for a long time, there are more than a few that start and leave within a year.
In trying to get two developers that would stay on, we went through six developers. Four of which left within a year. This is for public sector and the lack monetary compensation shouldn't be a surprise to anyone... still, had four developers that we trained up and left.
The investment of time in getting them to that point where they could be useful contributors if they had stayed was more than what it would have taken the developers who mentored them to just do those tasks and not have hired anyone.
That doesn't touch on the actual pay and paperwork to hire someone.
Likewise, the pay isn't anything hidden either. This number is well known https://projects.jsonline.com/database/2019/4/Wisconsin-stat... (much of the technology side gets classified as IS SYSTMS DEVMNT SVCS ...). Compare those numbers to the averages for the area https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Location=Madison-WI/Sal...
People applying and taking the job know exactly what they are getting and going to get for compensation and benefits. Pay is a bit on the lower side, vacation is on the higher side, the pension is fully funded (actually at 102.9%).
Thus the ability to juggle things to retain a person is very limited - especially when that person hasn't been there for a full year.
Consider then, that the person is accepting the job, knowing that this is the public sector, knowing the wage history, and looking for another job elsewhere (many have left to move out west). It is not exactly practical for state government to try to match west coast compensation.
It isn't, though there may be a sharp difference in cost of living and that's a strong consideration with wages. That, and a pension and benefits is taken for granted by younger people. Besides govt positions tending to be less exciting, you can really put some money away. Moving up, though, is a sluggish process.