What you'll learn

  • The state of tech talent today
  • Why offering a comprehensive rewards package is important for retaining talent
  • The value of a strong company vision for retaining and attracting talent

The current state of tech talent

Ask anyone in tech their view on the current jobs market, and you will likely get the same response across the board - that no one has experienced anything quite like it. Demand for tech talent is sky high, and companies cannot afford to lose software developers and engineers.

However, attrition is also a massive tech talent issue. According to Gartner’s March 2022 survey, “Globally, less than one in three tech workers say they have a high intent to stay with their current employer.”

Tech talent is in the driving seat, and tech companies need to take active steps to boost retention and make the tech function more attractive to new hires.

Based on Korn Ferry’s understanding of current market dynamics and employee expectations on tech recruitment and retention, we have identified five priorities for beating attrition and improving both retention and recruitment.

1 Salary packages: more than just the total reward

Pay is a big driver of attrition. Salary offers and pay rises continue to climb sharply. Employers should be transparent on what they can offer. But salary alone is not the deciding incentive. The detail of the benefits package is increasingly important to tech professionals.

Companies that think creatively and tailor their packages can boost recruitment and retention. The 2021 Metlife Re:Me report revealed that “50% of workers would sacrifice some of their salary for more tailored employee benefits.”

It is vital to benchmark salaries regularly to remain competitive on compensation. But, relevant benefits are worth more to employees than extra pay. Ensure you are promoting the total value of your package to existing and prospective employees – both in financial terms and how your benefits support a healthy, fulfilling life outside work. Survey your current developers and engineers to ensure your benefits meet their current priorities, then explore ways to personalize and tailor the offering.

2 Flexible hybrid working options

A Stack Overflow survey in December 2021 claimed, “65% of technologists named flexibility as an important factor in keeping them at their current employer — more than the 59% who said salary was important to them.”

Tech professionals definitely want the option for hybrid working, but feelings are mixed. Some want to remain at home full-time for good. Others want to spend more time alongside their colleagues.

Progressive employers are providing the flexibility individual workers want, without negative impact on collaboration and career development.

It is best to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach with hybrid working. Give the individuals on your team as much control over where they work as feasible. If you are concerned about the impact on collaboration and skills development, then adapt. Progressive tech employers are re-designing workspaces to make them more appealing places to be – and to ensure time spent in the office is focused on learning and co-creation.

3 A company vision your team can get behind

Workplace culture is a big push and pull factor for tech professionals; employees want to feel like they belong – and they want a purpose and direction for what they do. Social and environmental issues are also a higher priority than ever before.

In Gartner’s 2021 Survey, “70% of workers said they’d consider quitting their companies in favor of working for an organization with a stronger viewpoint on social issues that matter to them.”

When Gartner released their March 2022 Survey “Just 20% of IT workers between 18 and 29 years old have a high likelihood of staying with the current employer, compared to half of workers between 50 and 70 years old.”

It makes a big difference if your company mission is clear and compelling. Can your tech team see their impact on the business, customers or the planet? If you can give your employees a worthwhile purpose, it will strengthen their feeling of belonging and their desire to make a difference – especially if you have an inspiring CIO with a clear vision for the role of technology.

A Gallup report from 2021 revealed, “77% of employees who know what their company stands for, and what makes it different from competitors, plan to be with the company for at least one year.”

When it comes to social and environmental issues, listen to employees and encourage open conversations. Showcase the positive steps and actions you have taken – and involve tech talent in embedding sustainability. People are the catalyst for changing your organization for good.

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4 Positive day-to-day working experiences

In Stack Overflow’s 2021 Pulse Survey, “53% of tech professionals cited a focus on the developer experience as the factor that makes an employer most appealing.” If someone isn’t enjoying their regular working experience, they can confidently seek out a better environment.

Leading tech employers are putting emphasis on improving working practices, collaboration, DevOps support and the appeal of their tech stacks. To compete for tech talent, it is important to assess how effectively your organization is satisfying the needs and expectations of its developers and engineers.

Are the culture and working style bringing out the best in the team? Do they feel comfortable with key processes like code reviews? Are they equipped with the right microtools and tech stack to get the job done?

Where possible, engage with new technologies and involve the team in making changes and improvements. Take care of all the little details that add up to make software developers and engineers happy.

If your gender balance is heavily male-skewed, then take steps to make the culture more female friendly.

5 Career development: put learning at the heart of the working experience

Frustration with career progression is a big factor behind the “great resignation” across the tech industry. In a ClearCompany 2021 Survey, “34% of employees said better career development opportunities motivated them to leave their previous position.” Employers who make career development a priority are a magnet for skilled software developers and engineers.

What tech professionals want is a clearly structured career path, with transparency on their progression and promotion prospects. Yet, a 2021 Korn Ferry survey found that, “Only 29% of organizations have a clear learning and development (L&D) plan for their employees.”

Companies can stand out from the crowd by implementing or improving formal personal development plans. Ensure every individual on your team understands the specific requirements for reaching the next level. Set out a career path, which defines the skills, knowledge and behaviors associated with different roles and levels of seniority.

Then, ensure each employee is given regular opportunities to learn and practice those skills, especially if these are outside of their current job description. In addition, don’t put limits on what developers and engineers can learn. Give them free time to explore their interests and broaden their expertise. It will boost loyalty and can potentially add future value to the team.

Get the latest tech talent insight today

Korn Ferry views the tech talent market from both sides. We help tech employers to hire, engage, reward and develop their tech workforce. At the same time, we support tech professionals in navigating job opportunities and advancing their careers – as developers, engineers, architects, project managers, product managers and leaders.

Want to look more closely at tech talent motivations and expectations? This parallel article explores retention and recruitment from the employee perspective.

For more insight on tech talent retention, recruitment and performance, join our Tech Talent Community today.