Recruiting And Retaining Developers

Issue 49

Erin Kirtley; regional manager of specialist recruitment consultancy Concept highlights what developers are looking for in a job and how employers can retain great talent.

It’s no secret that the UK is facing a major talent shortage in the digital and tech sectors. Everyone is looking for great developers and this skills gap is growing all the time, which means attraction and retention of great people is becoming harder and harder.

The typical length of time spent within a creative or digital role is usually three years. However, with developers in today’s industry, their heads could be turned before their probation period is complete.

To get to the root of the problem, we conducted some industry research. We spoke with hundreds of developers to figure out what attracts them to roles, which benefits really matter and what keeps them satisfied at work.

Job satisfaction

When asked for information about what factors made them leave their last role, a huge 70% of the respondents stated a lack of job satisfaction. Although salary and career development were mentioned, they weren’t the main drivers behind candidates actively looking for new opportunities.

We then asked participants to provide details of something their last company could have done to make them think twice about jumping ship. Of the many answers, there were two main themes – the provision of both regular training and up to date technology.

Developers love to learn, so offering an annual budget that can be spent on any relevant learning and/or tech is quite an interesting proposition for most. If you want to keep employees for the long haul, make sure they get the greatest information and the best tools to do their job.

Employee benefits

We asked respondents to consider a long list of employee benefits, selecting those they deemed interesting. Friday beers, health insurance and free fruit, food and drink are all nice things to have, but they all ranked low on the list.

A huge 80% marked great holiday allowance most important. A good work life balance is important to every member of staff, but with such an intense and all-consuming job, developers want to make sure they can fully switch off.

A handful of our clients now offer unlimited holidays to staff members, a bold move that is paying off. They don’t struggle with recruitment and their teams are fully invested, not taking half as many holidays as you would expect – could be something to consider!

Developers are increasingly conscious about pensions, with 50% selecting them as important. While pension provision is a legal obligation in the workplace many employers don’t offer a private pension.

Flexible working hours came out high on the list too. Interestingly, this is one of the most frequently requested perks for developers in fulltime, permanent roles, as they often work late or start early. Coding isn’t limited to standard office hours.

Although important to match or increase salaries for development roles, these additional perks can make the job all the sweeter. The best tip I can give would be to communicate with the team, get them to complete a quick and usually free personality test online to decipher what it is that drives them. You can then tailor rewards and perks that matter to the individual.

The above findings have helped us identify the motivations behind developers when they’re on the hunt for a new opportunity. This information arms us with the knowledge to advise our clients on how best to attract, retain and incentivise the best developers in the region. High staff turnover can be one of the most costly factors when running any business or operation, if you would like any advice or support when it comes to recruiting the best members of staff for any part of your digital and creative teams please do get in touch with us to discuss your requirements.

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