If you’re going to attract the right talent, first you need to fully understand who they are, and their aims and aspirations. The majority of techies are no longer simply chasing a paycheque. Instead, they now value a role that challenges them and offers the opportunity to progress their skills over a role that pays exceptionally well. You also have to consider other factors, such as their personal values or working preferences, which will also have a significant impact on whether they find a role attractive.
You also need to react to the way the job market has changed. As we’re all aware, the COVID pandemic brought remote working to the forefront and techies have been particularly reluctant to return to the office - so much so, that a recent survey of our users found that only 1.3% would say working in the office full-time was their preferred method of working. Alongside this, with groundbreaking tech like AI becoming increasingly prominent, many techies are aware of the need to hone in on specialist skills - that is, the ones that can’t be easily replaced by artificial intelligence. If you overlook these factors in your hiring process for tech talent, you’re likely already deterring many high-quality techies from applying.
Attracting the Right Talent…
The first place to start when it comes to attracting the right talent is with your employer brand and the message you’re projecting to techies before they even apply. First impressions are key, so make sure you’re showcasing your organisation’s commitment to diversity, inclusivity and innovation, as this is what a lot of techies will want to know about. We found that outside of salary, techies want to know about company culture, opportunities for progression and what projects they’ll be working on before they apply for a role. Interestingly, factors such as company size and employee benefits were not considered as being that important by Haystack users. In short, they don’t want to hear about your beer fridge and ping-pong table; they want to know what it’s really like to work at your company, and what they can expect to get out of it. Make sure you’re putting your company's values and culture at the forefront of your tech hiring to ensure you’re attracting talent that resonates with it.
The most important piece of info techies look for before applying is, unsurprisingly, what they’re going to be paid. We know there are a lot of legitimate reasons why you can’t always put salaries on a job ad, but we’ve found that job ads with explicit salaries receive up to eight times more applications, and our surveys have found that 58.4% of techies won’t apply for any role that doesn’t give the salary. It’s evident that if you’re unable to provide details about salary, you’re massively limiting the number of techies you’re going to reach. Furthermore, you need to consider your employee benefits package and look at whether you’re truly offering benefits that will attract techies. As previously mentioned, ‘traditional’ benefits, which ultimately aren’t that beneficial, aren’t going to move the dial when it comes to landing the best talent. However, you can give prospective employees a very good indication of your company's values by offering benefits that resonate with techies’ values - think holistic wellness programmes, flexible working arrangements, learning and development budgets, and perks that genuinely enhance their work-life balance. You also have to look at whether the salary you’re offering is competitive in today’s market. If you want to attract the best talent, you have to pay them what they’re worth - or somebody else will. Check out our Salary Guide from last year to ensure you’re paying techies what they’re worth
Another factor to consider is career growth opportunities - the tech world moves quickly, and as such, so do techies. Clear progression paths that are set out early in the process will help attract the most ambitious techies to your company. If you’re leaving this until they’re already through the door, you’re losing ground to forward-thinking companies that are aware of the significance of this info and place it front and centre of their job ads. You also need to look at the opportunities for upskilling you offer. Techies need to be up-to-date with the latest tech out there, as well as constantly expanding their own skill set. Supporting this personal growth and development is a non-negotiable in the modern tech hiring landscape, and if you’re doing it, you might as well shout about it! Make sure your opportunities for growth and progression are explicitly stated in your job ads and on your careers website if you want to see the highest quality and most ambitious techies dropping in your inbox.
The final factor to consider when trying to attract the best techies is your tech stack. An antiquated and outdated tech stack does not give a good first impression to an audience that values and is well-informed about modern and cutting-edge technologies. Modern techs aren’t just the most effective when it comes to solving your business problems; it also acts as a magnet for top tech talent and paints your company as one that’s at the forefront of technical innovation. If you’re not seeing the quality of techies you’d like to see applying for your roles, consider whether your tech stack is attractive to the best talent on the market today. You’re not just competing against ‘traditional’ tech companies; in the age of digitisation, opportunities are popping up in areas that would never have previously been considered as viable destinations for techies. If your tech stack isn’t up to scratch, you can’t expect the talent you’re attracting to be either!
Don’t forget that tech can also be a powerful ally when you’re looking for the best talent. Utilising emerging tools like AI to quickly screen CV’s and shortlist the best techies can pick up on data that you might miss, save you time and eliminate a lot of bias from the search. You can use online platforms, such as social media, to reach a broader pool of talent that you wouldn’t previously have had access to, and engage with them in a more informal and engaging way. You could even try and find them where they hang out, such as industry-specific forums or relevant subreddits, as this shows you have a good understanding of tech culture. Lastly, the role of data analytics in recruitment cannot be overstated. Analysing trends in hiring, employee performance, and turnover rates provides invaluable insights. This data helps predict future talent needs and informs recruitment strategies, ensuring that companies are always a step ahead in the talent game. By understanding patterns and predicting needs, recruiters can create more targeted, effective recruitment campaigns. Using tech to your advantage can lead to a quicker, smoother and fairer recruitment process that is adaptable to the fast paced changes in the tech world.
…And Make Sure They Stick Around!
Attracting the best tech talent to work for you is one thing, but the hard work doesn’t finish once you get them through the door. Recruitment processes can be both timely and costly, and you don’t want to go through it unnecessarily. The best way to avoid this? Make sure your hires stick around!
There are a number of ways you can go about this. As previously mentioned, techies are now looking for more than just a paycheque. You should ensure your training and personal development programmes are up to scratch and actually giving your techies the skills they want to develop. This isn’t exclusive to the latest techs - soft skills such as public speaking, project management and effective communication can be just as valued and important in creating well-rounded tech professionals who excel at guiding projects to success and motivating their fellow techies. That said, techies also need to keep up with the latest developments in tech to ensure they retain their market value in an ever-evolving tech landscape. When it comes to techs, you should be looking ahead and trying to stay ahead of the curve, rather than merely reacting to the latest developments. Techies need to keep up with the latest technologies to ensure they have a flourishing career, and if you can help them develop those skills they’re much more likely to stick around long-term. This also helps portray your company as one that’s both tech-savvy, and genuinely cares about the development of their tech professionals. In the modern tech hiring landscape, paying a decent wage is no longer enough; you now have an obligation to develop their skills and help them progress. It’s not just in their interests - it’s also imperative to the success of your company.
It’s not just about personal skills and development though - the culture you create is also key to ensuring you retain your best talent. This starts from the top down, so you need to ensure your managers are approachable, provide regular feedback, and encourage open communication, as this encourages everyone else to follow suit and embed this attitude into the fabric of your company culture. When it comes to retaining tech talent, reward and recognition is arguably the most powerful tool in your arsenal. This recognition can take a number of different forms, from formal award systems to informal acknowledgements in team meetings. Whilst monetary rewards are important and always welcome, remember that other forms of recognition and reward can be just as powerful, such as public recognition of achievements, opportunities for career advancement, or personalised acknowledgements. You’ll often find innovative companies using a combination of these methods for the most effective results. Remember, recognition and reward are arguably the most powerful tools in your arsenal when it comes to retaining your best talent, so make sure you’re making the most of them!
One key part of ensuring techies stick around is making sure you have a flexible working policy. We surveyed over 50,000 techies, and 46% told us they’re only willing to work fully remotely. Alongside this, 43% wanted to spend less time working in the office, and 78.5% told us their current employer supported their working preferences. This paints an interesting picture, as it shows that if you’re not willing to support them, someone else will, so if you want to keep the best techies around, you’ll need to accommodate their preferences. This is particularly true in the post-pandemic era, as remote working was brought to the forefront and it became evident that techies don’t need to spend 40 hours in the office to do their job effectively. You also need to consider when they can work, and not just where. People have busy lives outside of work and a job that works around this will always be significantly more attractive than one that rigidly insists on 9 - 5. Core hours, where everyone has to be in, are entirely understandable and necessary, but outside of these hours, you should be looking at whether productivity would be affected by allowing people to work their hours flexibly. If it isn’t going to impact productivity, allowing people to work when best suits them will instantly make your company a much more attractive potential workplace for techies.
Coupled with looking at work-life balance, you should also be looking at what provisions you have in place to support your employee’s wellbeing and mental health. In the modern tech landscape, this isn’t just seen as another perk - it’s a necessity to ensure your team is as effective as they can be, particularly in a high-stress environment such as tech. Remember, this is the same industry that used pride itself on how hard they worked, with early tech companies in California labelling themselves ‘burnout shops’. In 2024, this is no longer seen as something to boast about, so if you want to attract the best techies, you need to ensure you’re looking after them properly. Initiatives you could put in place include access to mental health counsellors, offering ‘mental health days’, or offering subscriptions to meditation apps. It’s also important to look at whether your company has a culture and environment that encourages open discussion about mental health. If it still feels a bit taboo, look at how you can promote more candid conversations in the workplace around mental health and wellbeing. Showing techies that you support their mental well-being, and that as a company you’re actively fostering a supportive and open work environment is a great way to encourage long-term commitment.
In this rapidly shifting tech hiring landscape of 2024, we're seeing an undeniable shift in priorities. Tech talent today is driven by more than just a paycheque; they seek roles that challenge them and align with their personal and professional aspirations. For companies, this means rethinking their approach to not just attract but genuinely engage, and ultimately retain, tech professionals. It's about crafting roles and environments that resonate with their evolving values, from offering compelling professional development opportunities to ensuring a culture that genuinely supports work-life balance and mental well-being. Embrace these changes with a strategy that's as dynamic and innovative as the tech talent you aim to attract and retain. This is more than a hiring strategy; it's about building the future of tech, one talented individual at a time.