Stackflow surveyed developers in March, and 70% noted they were “happy at work.” How do we keep them happy?
With software developers being a sought-after role for many organizations, it’s a stable choice for a career course. According to the BLS, software developer jobs are expected to rise 22% by 2030, and the role is listed on practically every top-10-tech-role list we can find.
Deloitte & DataWheel shows upwards of 47K computer science degrees and 15K computer engineering degrees awarded in 2019 – both of which are just two of the educational degrees that often translate into a software developer occupation post-grad. And if pursuing computer science in school was not the top choice, talent is also starting to get new opportunities due to the growing trend of “experience over education” – meaning hiring managers are asking for a broader pipeline that might not necessarily rely on formalized education to find much in-demand talent. Think of certifications, specialized training, experience, cross-over skills, and additional avenues to becoming a software developer.
In most scenarios, a career as a developer is a safe bet. After all, with the acceleration of digital transformation across most sectors, the role of a developer has become more paramount in achieving desired results. Yet, a recent Reveal survey also notes that 53% of IT professionals say hiring the right developer remains a “major challenge.”
So, what are hiring organizations to do to overcome the shortage? And further, how do they retain the developers already in place? If 70% are happy, well, first and foremost, we need to keep doing more of what we are doing!
Listen to what developers say makes them happy at work and expand on that for all tech talent
The happiness survey results were clear and in line with what most talent across industry spectrums and job titles want. The top items include: a fair salary, flexibility, an opportunity to grow, and the ability to be productive (and we submit also challenged.)
Sounds easy enough, but it isn’t always as it seems. Organizations still struggle with developing and effectively communicating their EVP to attract top tech talent. If you have the foundation built, think about how each element applies to the top attractors that talent is looking for…
- Salary. Is what you are offering at least respectable in the market? Yes, some organizations may not have deep pockets. That can sometimes be overcome by hiring outside your geo-location in areas with lower salary ranges – which often means offering a remote option. A remote option is also high on the list of what talent is looking for!
- Remote/Hybrid/Flex Lifestyle. Develop a work environment policy that satisfies your existing talent and would entice new hires, too. Only your company will know what works best, even if it means fully remote, a mix, or even modified workweeks. What’s important is that the policy for remote/hybrid work is built on what your company wants, and when we say ‘company,’ we mean the team members that comprise your company. Employee feedback is critical in determining this. Remote/hybrid options can also help in the salary arena, too. What you save in overhead, facility costs could be allocated to wages. Or, for an employee who no longer has to commute or won’t have increased work-day costs, that is money in their pocket.
- Growth. Did you outline what a candidate’s career path could be during the hiring process? It might be a good practice to do so as it provides a long-term vision of their place at the company. Using technical assessments and skill simulator tests (which developers prefer during an interview, by the way), you can also uncover what skills can translate to other roles they may be a good fit for or one that they can grow into for the future. Most top talent is not satisfied with stagnation. Identifying movement early on can help continue to challenge and engage them.
- Productivity. Speaking of challenging, developers also indicated their need to be productive. And while the priority expectation of our teams is to be “productive,” it’s important to give them the space and not hinder their ability to do so. Especially in the tech world, tools and the latest innovations must be made available to your tech team to keep them engaged and in a continual learning cycle. As one CTO noted, it’s important to defragment your toolkits and give complete visibility to developers over their entire stack.
In addition to the above ‘happiness factors’ for developers and all tech talent, we would also weave in learning opportunities, collaboration, and simple appreciation.
- Offer opportunities for training and continued education. Technology is one of the fastest-moving disciplines. Developers and tech specialists are continually upskilling, reskilling, and refining their crafts against new innovations. Employers who offer access to these opportunities increase their chances as a preferred work brand.
- Collaboration is also key to successful technology transformations. Many innovative developments result from a team mindset – all contributing a specialty towards a final product. Providing tools to bring thought leaders together and working efficiently and cohesively through streamlined communication tools and within clearly defined strategic parameters leads to project success and personal satisfaction.
- Finally, no matter your industry, specialty, or pay grade, most workers appreciate being appreciated. Once a long time ago, technology was a “background” role –cloaked in mystery and not something thought to affect the business trajectory significantly. Today, technology is almost the sole catalyst to a successful outcome for businesses – because technology is the product, the driver, the foundation, or a critical component of nearly every industry.
As you navigate your career, whether just starting out, making a change, or taking the next step, it’s essential to do your research and select a role that will leave you fulfilled. At SSi, our mission is to connect you with those opportunities that will also lead to your ‘happiness factor.’