How to attract permanent developers
With over 180,000 software developers employed across more than 26,000 businesses in the UK alone (Ibis World’s Software Development – UK Market Research Report), the software development industry is huge. In an industry worth £29 billion which has grown at more than 10% over the last few years, the demand for skilled developers to help businesses hit their technology goals is ever increasing. And competition for snapping up the best development talent is causing employers big headaches.
One of the biggest problems employers are facing is the growing reliance on a contract workforce, as developers with niche skills turn to a more flexible way of working and the huge earning potential that comes with it.
Although only 12% of developers in the UK described themselves as independent contractors, freelance or self-employed in the 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, the number of experienced developers with niche skills we speak to that are reluctant to take permanent positions is staggering.
Whilst a contingent workforce strategy works for some, many businesses are looking to reduce their reliance on a contract workforce and keep talented developers in their business on a permanent basis.
With nearly half of employers citing “not enough talent” as their biggest hiring challenge and experienced developers looking to explore the contract route, businesses need to work hard to bring talented developers into permanent employment and retain their existing development workforce.
The 2017 edition of the Stack Overflow Developer Survey showed that the majority of developers (56.5%) believe they are underpaid and in 2018, more than 18% of developers said that compensation and benefits was their highest priority when looking for a new role (the highest rated priority stated).
Offering salaries that can rival lucrative contract roles and selling the job security that comes with a permanent position, is a strong approach for attracting new developers to their permanent roles.
When it comes to retaining top talent, salary benchmarking and annual pay reviews are important for keeping your skilled developers working with you, rather than seeking a contract position elsewhere.
But if a business can’t compete with these sky high salaries, how can they attract the best talent?
Promoting exciting projects & innovation opportunities
For those employers that are struggling to compete from a salary perspective, offering developers the opportunity to work on exciting projects can be a real draw; 43% of developers look for interesting problems to solve when considering a new position (Hacker Rank developer skills report).
With almost every industry looking for developers to help create the next generation of products and services, the opportunities to work on something potentially industry changing or career-defining are abundant.
As businesses look to incentivise talented developers to join their organisations, the more forward-thinking ones are giving their dev teams the opportunity to work on their own side-projects during company time. Allowing this time not only gives developers the chance to continue learning and innovating with new software, languages and tools, but also develop products that could work for their business.
Creating a work-life balance
A growing area of interest for all workers, not just developers, is the opportunity for flexible and remote working, as employees seek a better work-life balance. Businesses looking to hire top candidates on a permanent basis need to bear in mind their flexible and remote working opportunities, as the vast majority of developers stated that flexible (89.9%) and remote working (80.5%) were the two most important factors in a good work-life balance.
Offering employees the opportunity to tailor their working hours and location not only keeps staff engaged, but opens up a new pool of potentially exceptional developers who may not fit with a 9-5 work schedule.
Attracting talent from outside the EEA
While there is a dearth of talent in the UK to meet the demand for permanent software developers, businesses may have to look outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to find the talent they need.
Businesses are able to apply for a ‘sponsor licence’ and take the first steps to be able to sponsor a worker from outside the EEA. Some programming and software development roles are currently listed on the Government’s shortage occupation list, which may allow businesses to follow a shortened process when hiring workers from outside the EEA.
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