Chief Content Officer,
Techstrong Group

The Great Resignation phenomenon affects almost every industry, but when it comes to retaining and recruiting developers, the current hiring climate is especially problematic. Most digital business transformation initiatives are dependent on the level of developer expertise that is readily available to an organization.

Developers, of course, can be hired on a contract basis, but the more a developer understands how a business operates, the better the digital business experience becomes. As such, many organizations prefer to hire developers whenever possible. The challenge is that competition for developer talent is fierce. Developers these days can find work with almost any type of organization, including not just the average enterprise IT organization but also Web-scale application services providers such as Facebook and Google, as well as a host of IT services providers.

Digital CxOs that want to hire developers not only need to make sure they are providing a competitive salary, they also need to promise developers they will have a quality experience once they are hired. The perfect Goldilocks developer candidate may not even exist. They will need to have the programs in place to make sure the developers they hire can become that developer.

The truth is, most organizations are not going to be able to hire the perfect developer. They will need to compromise. Unfortunately, a lot of human resources (HR) departments don’t always appreciate that need. A recent global survey of 2,500 engineering managers and HR professionals conducted by HackerEarth, a provider of a platform for training developers, finds more than 30% of recruiters said they would never compromise on candidate quality to fill a role. Conversely, 35% of engineering managers said they would compromise in order to hire faster. The challenge is many organizations are looking for developers that have, for example, expertise in emerging cloud-native technologies that most developers don’t yet have, said HackerEarth CEO Sachin Gupta.

Digital CxOs need to come to terms with the fact that many of these developers are not only demanding higher salaries as a function of supply and demand but are also voting with their feet for organizations that invest time and money in developing their skills. The paradox is, the more skills those developers gain the more expensive it becomes to retain them when recruiters start calling.

It takes time to build a software company that has the culture and skills required to drive a portfolio of digital applications. There’s an old saying that the battles are won with the army at hand. Savvy Digital CxOs will also realize they need to right-size the mission to the troops they have at their disposal. Attempting to boil the ocean is always going to be a bad idea. Expecting, for example, developers to build and maintain an application at the same level as Google or Apple is unreasonable. There are, however, plenty of digital business transformation projects that can make a massive difference that don’t necessarily require the most advanced developers available. Rather, they simply require a developer who is engaged enough to understand, in order to take the friction out of a tedious manual process that most everyone involved would happily eliminate.