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Key Takeaways: State of the Software Developer Nation 2021 Report

Companies who don’t raise the bar on their recruitment processes could miss out on more than half of developers. In fact, 63%  of developers have discontinued an interview process after a negative experience. On the other hand, startups can thrive at creating positive talent journeys. Want to know more? Read our blog on hiring developers!

Attracting top developers? It’s all about a positive talent journey!

How to help your startup scale! Learn about the dynamics of the developer community and the main takeaways for startups:

  • Developers are highly ambitious
    Junior developers are keen to learn new skills every couple of months, and more than half of developers code as a hobby. 

  • However, they’re worried about their career growth
    1 in 3 developers aren’t confident in their career growth at their company

  • In fact, 1 in 4 developers want to move jobs this year
    Startups and scaleups need to focus on employee growth and the candidate's hiring experience if they want to compete for the best talent.

We are strengthened by the idea that creative and impactful work offered by startups is highly attractive for software developers. Startups are known for offering flexibility, independence, and responsibility in their roles. Based on the insights in this report, we encourage startups to pay attention to their employee growth opportunities and hiring experiences.

Developers are highly ambitious - encourage them to accelerate your business scaling

Research by OfferZen, supported by Techleap.nl, shows juniors are keen to learn new languages every couple of months, and 95% wants to expand their skill set at least once every few years. That is why it’s important for startups to offer strong learning & growth opportunities. As your startup grows and develops, so will the needed skill set. By interacting with your employees, hiring what you must and teaching what you can, your company is set for the skills of tomorrow.

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The State of the Developer Nation Report shows that developers are not only ambitious in their jobs, but also inherently enjoy their job activities. More than half of developers also code as a hobby. Finding self-motivated employees is a gift. By offering them autonomy, flexibility in time and location, and purpose, you can offer a benefit package that is tailored to the type of talent that you want to attract.

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Developers are worried about their career growth, great startup culture lures them.

Software developers in various industries are worried about their career growth. 1 in 3 Dutch developers isn’t confident in their career growth at their company. Also, startups do not have a great track record on this topic yet. Research on SMEs shows that especially development of management skills is not initiated. Consequently, promotions happen without high clarity of experience, expectations, and role models, and the retention rate goes down. However, this also means that there is much growth possible for startups.

Research shows that mentoring, strategic leadership, knowledge sharing, and highlighting employee developments on social media have a great potential to foster competency development, which is critical to evoke effective commitment of young employees, which in turn results in intention to stay forth. 

Luckily, startups can leverage their noticeable ability to engage employees by enculturating. The unique and energetic culture at startups is one of its best selling points. Making people feel like they belong is shown to increase work engagement and job satisfaction, lower quit rates, and improve performance. It’s not surprising that startups account for higher job growth than any individual sector and have shown strong resilience during COVID-19.

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1 in 4 developers want to move jobs this year, is your next developer already looking for you?

Highlighting your company culture is a great way to retain and attract more talent in the dynamic developer space. The report shows that 1 in 4 developers want to move jobs this year. Next to employee growth, startups and scaleups need to focus on the candidate hiring experience if they want to compete for the best talent. 

Currently, the hiring experience for talent includes getting slow responses, or automated emails. Or a lack of time results in interview processes done completely by the hiring staff, and management fully delegating the task. This can increase the chances of scarce information collection, disregarding information & falling for candidates’ overpromise. It is therefore not surprising that this report shows that not receiving feedback after an interview or technical assessment is the number one pet peeve of developers in a hiring process. These insights lead me to underpin the idea of improving recruitment experiences by honestly connecting to the interviewee. Create a continuously positive interaction between you and the ecosystem, whether it is on your website, in an interview, a casual coffee, or a technical assignment.

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Startups are known for offering flexibility, independence, and responsibility in their roles, and when showcased this is highly attractive to software developers. Creative and impactful work offered by startups can increase talent retention and might seal the deal on your new employee. Based on these data insights, we encourage all Dutch startups to pay attention to their employee growth opportunities and hiring experiences. Together with OfferZen we empower the next generation Leaders in Tech!

This blog is based on the 2021 State of the Developer Nation report by OfferZen, supported by Techleap.nl. To highlight best practices other sources include: Roach & Sauerman, 2017; Stephen Jackson, 2000; Smith et al., 1999; Wong et al., 1997; Kerr and McDougall, 1999; EU, 2019; Cable, Gino & Staats, 2013; Johnson, 1999; Price 2001; Erasmus+ Sharpen, 2013; Lampadarios, 2016; Naim & Lenka, 2017.


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