Retaining Top Tech Talent in 2019: Certs and Pay are Key

When it comes to hiring and retaining tech talent, things like certifications and negotiating over pay (and being willing to pay) are key.

According to projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, developer employment will grow 24 percent between 2016 and 2026. That’s over three times faster than the national average for all occupations (7 percent). With coding skills in such high demand, recruiters and companies must do their best to snatch every single viable candidate.

How to increase your chances of hiring and retaining the right developers? Here are five key takeaways from industry-specific studies.

Be Ready to Negotiate Pay

According to The Dice 2019 Tech Salary Report, 45 percent of tech professionals anticipate changing employers this year. Of these, a whopping 68 percent want to do so in pursuit of higher compensation. If you’re a company unable to negotiate pay, not all is lost, though. Consider offering other benefits, such as remote work opportunities, education and training benefits, and an emphasized work-life balance.

These are extremely important to developers and can help you win the ones your company needs to grow. No matter how great these are, however, make sure the pay you offer is fair and in agreement with industry standards. You can use the salary calculator from Dice to get an estimate.

Address Developers’ Needs in the First Email

The 2018 Global Developer Hiring Landscape report from Stack Overflow explains how you can address developer expectations. When asked about what they’d like to see in a recruiter email, 21.7 percent of survey respondents said they’d like to learn the estimate of the compensation range, followed by details on the prospective company (21 percent). Fit for the role came third with 19.9 percent.

What this tells you is that developers want to be provided with the details of the prospective position early on. That way, they can make a conscious decision whether they want to devote time to the recruitment process or not.

Another valuable (yet somewhat depressing) insight from the same study: “job,” “interview,” and “recruiter” are the top three words used to describe the annoying part of the recruitment process.

Consider Your Timing

The content of the message matters, and so does timing. Findings of the Devskiller Global Technical Hiring & Skills Report 2019 show that coding tests sent to candidates on Tuesdays come with the fastest response rate. For all 112,000+ coding tests analyzed in the course of the study, the average time it took developers to complete a coding test was 2.88 days. Interestingly, of all candidates from the sample, 73 percent of candidates took the coding test sent to them. Of those who opened the test, over 90 percent decided to finish it. In some countries (such as Latvia, Armenia, Denmark, New Zealand, and the UK), completion rates were almost universal.

This shows that developers aren’t opposed to the idea of having their skills screened… as long as the screening method is relevant and objective.

Know Which Skills are Currently In-Demand

Knowing the desirability of a skill-set allows you to decide where you want to speed things up most.

Based on the Devskiller study, 70 percent of companies are on the lookout for a developer with JavaScript skills. Interestingly, 37 percent of all test invites comprisin the study were focused on testing Java skills. This makes Java the most popular language devs are tested in.

Make Certification Opportunities Your Key Differentiator

In 2018, 73 percent of employers used motivators to retain talent (the highest since 2010). One of the less popular (yet effective) ways to lock down highly specialized talent is to offer certification programs and courses.

Yet last year, only 3 percent of employers did so. Even so, 47 percent of tech professionals have a certification; and among those who don’t, roughly a third either blamed time constraints or employers unwilling to pay for them. This makes certifications a strong contender when it comes to attracting technical talent.

The best thing about providing education and certification courses as a benefit is that it comes with a number of perks for the company, as well. Not only does it make your employees happier, it also advances the skills available internally within your organization.

Conclusion: Fight for Talent

The consequence of the low unemployment rate in tech is that recruitment becomes hard for the employers. As a recruiter or hiring manager, knowing what your colleagues are doing gives you a competitive advantage and allows you to act faster than others.

Tom Winter is the CRO at Devskiller, a developer screening & online interviews platform powered by RealLifeTesting. Madly in love with everything tech, Tom specializes in streamlining the hiring process of tech talent and data-driven recruitment. He’s also an avid conference speaker.

2 Responses to “Retaining Top Tech Talent in 2019: Certs and Pay are Key”

  1. Salary & hourly rate are ALWAYS paramount with IT jobs. Anyone that lessens or minimizes that importance are kidding yourselves.

    I disagree on the criticality of certifications. The importance of certifications is falsely inflated. To have any certification in IT is a hock of crap!

    The only time a cert is important is if you’re a physician.

    Certifications are a solid money pit in IT. They’re not necessarily necessary to put it one way. They never separate the talented from the pool. We really need to stop the never ending certification blinder that has become a virus in the US companies!!