As rapid digital transformation and advanced technologies continue to impact our personal and professional lives, the demand for software engineers grows. Software engineers and programmers are currently the most sought-after IT professionals worldwide with businesses struggling to find talent to bridge the skills gap in this sector.
The software engineer’s role in developing, upgrading applications, managing workloads and providing solutions is more critical today than ever and this trend will continue as new technologies emerge. Software developers, globally, have a pivotal role in digital transformation. To remain competitive and stay abreast of innovations, businesses must develop strategies to hire and retain software engineers within their organisations.
Why is there such a shortage of software engineers?
- The hundreds of advertised software engineer jobs indicate a range of employment possibilities on a global scale. Competition to recruit talent is intense.
- Some jobs require particular skills and knowledge of languages that not all candidates have.
- Cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain and cybersecurity require very up-to-date skills and new programming languages are developing quickly. The Internet of things/behaviour and augmented reality are rapidly transforming how we work. As yet, there are not enough engineers with the updated skills to match roles in these sectors.
- Universities and IT training Institutions are not attracting high enough numbers of students to meet the demand for IT professionals. Learning centres cannot deliver the training and education as quickly as required.
- Smaller companies are not managing to offer the salaries and packages that more prominent and prestigious companies can afford to attract candidates.
- Staff shortages in the profession mean many software engineers have unmanageable workloads and often leave jobs and look for new possibilities elsewhere.
- Ageing tech workforce. Not all software engineers are willing to update their skills and embrace new software developments.
What steps can companies take to attract software engineers?
Companies need to prioritise the recruitment and retention of software engineers which means coming up with creative ideas for attracting tech talent. Tech organisations are in strong competition to offer attractive salaries and working environments for software engineers. Read these tips for attracting tech talent. You might also want to consider the suggestions below on how to improve the situation:
Ensure that the salary your company offers is in line with current salaries. Check out our IT salary guide here. Salary is a motivating factor and qualified IT personnel expect good financial compensation.
Positive company ethos
While a competitive salary is important, many software engineers aspire to perform exciting and fulfilling projects within an inclusive company culture. Be clear on the type of projects candidates will be expected to execute within the IT team. Candidates today expect company values to align with their own. Inform candidates of how your company promotes teamwork and supports staff well-being.
Offer career development pathways
Career progression and development are critical aspects of the profession so be clear about the pathways your company offers. Micro-skilling, mentoring and training on the job are good incentives for attracting ambitious candidates. The rapidly evolving world of technology means IT professionals expect to upskill and continue learning throughout their careers.
Offer reduced hours
Consider offering a transition to a four-day working week. Staff shortages and overwhelming workloads have led to a high burnout rate among IT professionals. Software engineers and coders require periods of intense focus and often perform best with reduced daily hours and breaks. Companies that care about staff well-being are more likely to attract quality applicants and will often get greater productivity and loyalty from staff.
Support your software engineers at work by minimising distractions and enabling them to work on problems in a quiet environment. Encourage automated coding where possible and provide tools to facilitate the process. Outsource contract workers during critical periods to meet deadlines and support your permanent workforce.
The need for clarity and authenticity is a growing trend among today’s professionals. Tell potential hires what the recruitment process will entail and give them a timeline so they will know when to expect to hear of the next steps in the hiring process. Be clear about the culture of the company and salary expectations
Develop a presence within online communities like stack overflow which is frequented by software engineers and advertise jobs on channels that will reach potential candidates. Curate career pages carefully on your website and market your company to appeal to IT job seekers. Advertise software engineering jobs to make them as appealing as possible to talented software engineers. Engage in social media with software engineers. All of these strategies are essential and effective but time-consuming. Consider using a recruitment agency with access to an IT talent pool and the know-how to reach valuable candidates.
Write a unique and appealing job description
This is an important step in attracting the right candidates. Job descriptions should motivate candidates to apply for the tech job advertised. Individualise the job role to make it stand out and highlight the personal benefits that the role will offer candidates.
Offer flexible working patterns
Working remotely or on a hybrid basis is what workers have come to expect from employers. Where possible, offer this solution. If software engineers prefer working outside the 9-5 parameter, facilitate this pattern.
Appraisal and evaluation
To attract and retain staff, companies need to meet their needs. Regular employee feedback is important for gauging what keeps workers happy and productive. Regular appraisals and evaluations are essential for keeping staff engaged.
A smooth recruitment process is critical in hiring high calibre software engineer candidates. It’s best to keep recruitment as timely and simple as possible. While candidates appreciate the professionalism and a competitive process, long waiting times for a response may be a deterrent. Keep in touch with clients between stages of the recruitment process to update them.
What are the differences between recruiting permanent IT professionals and IT contractors?
Recruiting top IT talent is crucial for any company to remain competitive and most companies today engage a mix of permanent employees and specialised IT contractors. As every project and situation in the IT workplace is unique, organisations need to decide whether they require the specialised skills of a contractor or the dedication and long-term commitment of a permanent staff member.
The key differences between recruiting processes for permanent hires and IT contractors are listed below:
- IT contractors can be recruited quickly. They are hired for specialised skills and tend to tackle projects quickly. Ascertaining their skillset and IT background is usually straightforward for recruiters.
- While it’s important for IT contractors to work well with team members and co-workers, if they don’t fit in with the company’s culture, it shouldn’t impact the short-term project they’re working on. With permanent hires, a good fit can optimise employee engagement and productivity long-term. It’s important to ascertain whether or not a candidate will fit within the company culture and it takes time to evaluate candidates’ suitability.
- A package including holiday pay, sick pay, a pension plan, and other perks is required for permanent recruits. It can be costly and time-consuming if the new recruit decides to leave the company or is a poor match for the organisation. When a contracting role doesn’t work out, the company can easily engage another contractor.
- Companies expect to invest time and capital in permanent employees and provide training opportunities for them. For this reason, the company will often spend time trying to find the most valuable person for the position. Contractors usually come on board with the right specialisms, complete the project and move on.
These are some of the measures you might consider taking to prepare your organisation for further software developments. Upskilling existing staff is also an option worth considering. Another avenue worth exploring is looking at alternatives to university degrees and researching employer-accredited courses and qualifications.
Companies that are prepared to research and invest resources in adapting to the changing market and advancing technologies are the most likely to sustain a competitive edge and thrive in this dynamic sector.
For more information on how companies can attract software engineers in Ireland, feel free to get in touch with Kieran Tumulty.
+353 1 649 8510