What Top Developers Are Looking For In Their Next Job: A Data-Backed Answer
The tech industry was one of the hardest hit industries due to the Great Resignation. More than 4.5 million people in the U.S. voluntarily left their jobs in November, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Post-pandemic, the tables have been flipped and employees are now asking more from their employers. Simply offering competitive pay is not enough to keep your workforce motivated.
Employees want more purpose in their life and work. They are holding up employers to higher standards of empathy and understanding, especially now. In a 2022 Salesforce study, 93% of CIOs say this phenomenon has made it harder to hire and retain skilled developers.
Another reason for this crisis has been chalked up to burnout. Stress has been at an all-time high at the workplace due to short-staffed tech teams, tight deadlines, and adapting to new models of work like the hybrid model.
Ask yourselves this—What do developers want from their job? Is it a better work-life balance? Good career growth prospects? Or flexible schedules? Walk a mile in a developer’s shoes to understand what they look for in an ideal job opportunity and what makes them happy. Then you’ll be one step closer to attracting and hiring the cream of the crop out there!
Sidebar: Here are some insightful tips for developers experiencing burnout.
How do you deal with burnout?
— ⚡️Favor⚡️ (@heyOnuoha) September 1, 2021
What Do Developers Want
The pandemic has fueled soul-searching sessions over whether employees feel valued in their work or not. Dissatisfaction with the answers increases the likelihood of them leaving and looking for a new job—a more purposeful one at that. What can employers do about this?
Listen to what your employees are asking of you. Here are a few things studies revealed that employees, in this case, developers are zeroing in on when looking for opportunities:
Q: Why was the developer unhappy at their job?
A: They wanted arrays.
— Amelia Warner (@facetimeJS) February 22, 2021
According to the StackOverflow report, the primary reason that makes devs happy is monetary compensation (60%). You have to shell out the big bucks if you want to land a talented developer, especially in today’s market that is purely candidate-driven.
Coupled with a competitive pay package, also look at the benefits that your company can offer. Stock incentive programs, structured performance-based compensation, paid vacations, and so on are some attractive perks that you can bake into your job offer.
Better work-life balance
I don't know a single software developer or coder with work-life balance.
They work 18 hours per day or more and are the most unhealthy people I've ever seen. No hobbies. No relationships. No life.
When can this change? Or is it just what you sign up for when you go that route?
— Nick Huber (@sweatystartup) May 22, 2022
Recent findings from Glint and StackOverflow show that work-life balance is the second major reason for developers to be happy at work. Work-life balance is inherently tied to your company culture. A healthy workplace culture begets a good working environment, productive work life, and motivated employees.
A top-down approach sets a good example for the rest of the company when promoting work-life balance. Enforce company policy to give a long vacation to your employees and shut down early before the holidays. Empower your people with flexible scheduling of workdays to accommodate their needs.
Related read: 7 Ways To Reduce Burnout In Your Tech Teams
Doing impactful work
A 2022 Gartner Study talks about how Great Resignation is no longer a worry, rather Great Reflection is. While the former describes the effects felt by employers, the latter speaks volumes about how employees are reflecting on their lives and purpose at work.
Employees, (in this case, devs) are wondering what makes them happy, what satisfaction means, and how much the impact their work has. Experienced developers are looking to make a difference, tackle interesting challenges, and be appreciated/recognized for the same.
Seeing their work contribute to the bottom line of your company and have a positive impact on their colleagues, and the community is a huge motivator for highly talented devs.
Flexible work schedules
Flexibility, whether it’s the number of working hours or where the devs want to work from is no longer a bonus—it is expected.
Remote work and freelance jobs are stealing the spotlight due to the after-effects of the pandemic. They offer greater flexibility and devs do not have to be tied to specific working hours. The graph taken from our Developer Survey shows developer happiness is correlated to their working hours. It is interesting to see that developers who work less than 40 hours a week report the highest happiness index.
With the home becoming a make-shift office, devs’ priorities have changed. More than 50% of employees report they would like to work from home at least three days a week post-pandemic, as seen in a McKinsey study.
Offer remote/hybrid working models for your employees with the option to structure their workday around their needs—the 9-5 model is slowly becoming a thing of the past by now. The Great Resignation is a reminder that people will switch jobs if their company stood by rigid work schedules and returned to working from an office full-time.
Career growth curve
Our annual Developer Survey revealed that both newbie devs and experienced professionals can be wooed by offers of a good career growth curve (∼60%)—it’s a must-have requirement when looking for a new job.
Developers are naturally curious and given the rapid pace at which the tech industry changes, it’s important that they stay on top of things to grow professionally. What they knew a year or two ago might not be enough for them to continue to be an expert in their field. They need to be continuously upskilling and learning new programming languages, frameworks, and upcoming technology in general.
Provide learning and development opportunities for your devs to enable them to build their portfolio as well as keep them satisfied enough to stay with your organization.
Autonomy and creative freedom
Developers have a natural ability to be creative and if they cannot explore new ideas at their workplace, they would want to find a different job that values their input.
A greater level of autonomy, impact, and creative freedom attract top talent in the market while simultaneously encouraging developer retention. Enable your devs to play a larger role from ideation to launch—to speak up when they have an opinion and make them feel heard when they have an issue.
Foster a developer-first culture
The era of working 9-5 and taking home the month’s earnings, is over. Developers and other employees across the world want a more human employment value proposition. Monetary compensation is the expected minimum now—acknowledgment, purpose-driven work, growth opportunities, and some more factors as detailed in this article are essential to thriving. This is the value that employees expect their employers to provide.
Showing that you care about your people makes them more productive and as studies indicate, makes them more likely to stay at their current job. Which just happens to be what everyone wants, right?
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