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Resolving the developer shortage crisis

You are undoubtedly familiar with the problems surrounding scarce developers hiring – tight deadlines combined with the scarcity for devs skilled in particular technologies and skills, competitive rates and long hiring cycles.

As it always goes, what is in high demand has excellent value, and it’s hard to find too. By 2030, the global engineering shortage will continue to rise and reach 85.2 million, according to the US Labor Department.

If we consider a sooner date, then by 2026, it’s estimated that there will be 1.2 engineering job openings in the USA. Initially, it sounds good, but how will all positions be filled unless there are skilled independent developers with scarce skills anywhere to hire?

The concerns for CEOs and CTOs rise as the possible monetary losses increase globally due to the shortage – with a lack of skilled independent developers and more job openings, $8.5 trillion of revenue would likely be lost. Overall, all of the stats and numbers are incredibly significant to ignore.

During these challenging times in the IT industry, it’s good to have a helping hand or advice to navigate you to the right decisions and help you hire the scarce developers you need.

But sometimes, it takes a fresh perspective and openness to change.

In the words of Socrates, the secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.

What’s unknown, like such crises, might be intimidating, but it’s far from unresolvable. So, let’s try and help you deal with developer shortages successfully.

Setbacks and challenges that cause a shortage of developers

To resolve the developer shortage crisis, first, you need to identify all the obstacles that hinder the process. With conscious and continuous efforts to understand the challenges, you can prepare and prevent a shortage of developers in your company.

You must consider several significant factors for assessing this problem.

Which technologies are in demand? How are your competitors doing? Is it important where the developers are located? Do you need a new recruitment strategy? Are your current employees happy? Do they feel a sense of belonging? Are you the best CTO you could be? Too many questions that need answers.

The Covid-19 pandemic shifted many things in the IT industry, and developers got the opportunity to choose where to work and which working conditions to accept. During the shortage crisis in recent years, developers often take or refuse a job position because of the company’s reputation and the popularity or complexity of the niche.

In post-Covid times, developers and tech experts can freely choose where to work provided they are scarce and most in demand. But, despite the vast job opportunities for developers, for CTOs, finding and hiring the best developer experts is still challenging. As mentioned, the company's reputation and industry background, or how companies handled adverse times and still progressed, plays a considerable role.

The same applies to different industries and their popularity. It’s a fact that some sectors may compensate heftily, but their popularity is poor due to the job's complexity. And some sectors that are still quite popular for developers are consumer electronics industries, gaming, and online casinos, mobile app development, web design, data engineering, and similar. A mismatch between industries occurs when there is no significant overlap between the attractive fields and the sectors that need to hire developers fast, such as research, healthcare, government, and others.

For example, by 2031, it’s expected that employment will rise in software development sectors by 25%. This is crucial to keep in mind because more vacant spots don’t necessarily mean they’ll all be filled with the top quality you expect initially. But, with this fact in mind, you can take action to narrow down and streamline the finding and hiring of scarce developers much better. Or at least, you’ll be equipped with essential information to try and avoid having unfilled job positions.

What to do with these facts and information? Companies and CTOs might reconsider their next steps or evaluate their efficacy for the future. For example, you’ll maybe need to reshape your recruitment and hiring strategy or increase the benefits and possibilities you offer, among other things.

1.2. Scarce skills and technologies of high demand

When we talk about the developer shortage crisis, it means that several developer roles are the hardest to fill in certain countries.

Which skills and technologies are in high demand due to their scarcity? Based on Proxify’s data, according to Victory Fernandez, technical assessment lead at Proxify, our most sought after skills as per the database, are:

  • Software engineer

  • Software developer

  • Designer UI/UX

  • Information security engineer

  • Fullstack developer

  • Data scientist

  • Data engineer

  • AI developer

  • Backend developer

  • DevOps engineer

  • System analyst

  • Network security

  • Countries with the most major shortage of developers

  • The US

The demand for developers in the US seems to rise continuously. The situation has worsened since 2019, especially for software engineers and developers. As mentioned, by 2026, there will be a need for 1.2 million developers/engineers in the US.

Statistics show that 72% of the IT workers in the US responded they think about quitting their job altogether, thus increasing the shortage number. This is not an impulse decision for developers, as they state lack of progress, flexibility, and culture are among the main reasons.

On the other hand, there was an increase in job postings in 2019 by whole 34%, when that same year, circa 1 million tech positions were not filled.

It’s safe to presume that the demand for tech will grow in the US. More precisely, every year, the demand will be increased by a whopping 22% in the US, mainly in this current decade of 2020 to 2030.

DevOps, AI, and software development are the most scarce skills and roles.

  • The Nordics – Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark

The Nordic countries seem to be in a similar situation of developer shortage. Despite being countries at the forefront of innovation and progress, thousands of developers are deficit here.

  1. In Sweden, The need for IT talent there is quite significant. An astonishing 68% of employers reported a developer applicant shortage back in 2021. There is a massive mismatch between shortage and surplus professions, with engineering roles being the most scarce among others. Despite this data going back to 2016, the shortage is not expected to rise exponentially in post-covid years – there is an actual deficit of 70,000 developers in Sweden. They mostly need Java developers, process engineers, laboratory engineers, and project leaders.

  2. In Finland, there are above 1000 graduates in IT yearly, but only 300 continue to pursue a tech career in software development. The shortage numbers need to improve, provided that out of 1100 IT experts, less than 300 choose software development. The most scarce roles are system analysts, software developers, web and multimedia developers, and telecommunication engineers.

  3. The situation for Norway sounds quite alarming when we consider the predictions – the shortage spikes to nearly 10 000 tech roles. The most scarce ones are robotics, digitization, network security, and product innovation. By 2030, the shortage number is expected to reach 4,000 experts.

  4. Denmark mainly needs more mechanical engineers and software developers. By 2030, they’re expected to have a spiking shortage of 19,000 IT experts. The Nordic countries are obviously in need of IT experts and developers in the following years and beyond, considering the alarming numbers of the above.

  5. Israel

The percentage of Israeli companies lacking developers comes down to 60%, mainly focused on software and research & development. Despite this, one of the measures they take to resolve the shortage is encouraging additional education, training, and growth.

  1. Germany

In Germany, there were 96,000 vacant IT job positions in 2021. The numbers didn’t stop rising, and there was an increase in vacancies by 12% annually, with 86,000 vacant positions. What they need to hire the most are software specialists, software developers, and software architects.

  1. UK

The developer shortage in the UK doesn’t seem to cease for the time being, and the risk of the IT industry having hindered success is evident. Whether due to Brexit, low salaries, or economic uncertainty, more IT experts do not rely on being hired there.

On the upside, it’s believed that training and courses play an excellent role in attempting to resolve this shortage.

Software developers, enterprise architects, project managers, and data analysts are the most scarce roles.

1.3. Compensation and geographical location

There is a notable shortage of developers in some countries, but also, those same countries offer a more significant compensation than others. This could result from high living costs there, scarcity of skills in demand, and advanced digitization that pushes out many roles as obsolete as AI and machine learning get more advanced.

And, as the scarce talent becomes more critical to find, at the same time, technologies advance further. With this said, there will undoubtedly be more roles to fill and fewer expert developers for those roles as well.

Now, we’ll take the example of software engineer salaries across countries.

Average software engineering salaries by country in 2022

Let’s refer to one example from the list for comparisons and clarification. Despite the US being at the top of the list, with the highest software engineering salary, there is still a shortage of developers. Interestingly, almost all countries with predominant developer shortages are the same ones that offer higher salaries in general.

So the dilemma now is – how can countries with shortages reduce the talent crisis? What can be done when you’re ready to pay for scarce skills but still struggle to find and hire those developers?

  • Research the salary standards of different regions where you could hire independent developers – When you research the living standard and salaries in the countries of many developer applicants and compare them with your salary propositions, you’ll get a better idea of what you can afford for those developers in demand.

  • Find a midway between location-based salary and the salary you offer – Let’s say you are from a place of high living standards. Still, you try to hire (remotely or hybrid) a developer from another country with a low living standard. Imagine they are incredibly skilled and equipped with the expertise you need, but they ask for a salary that’s a bit higher than what you offered initially.

If you urgently need a skilled developer that’s hard to find and hire, you might want to reconsider how much you can afford to pay them to the set salary you offered.

  • Value the scarce skills of the developers primarily – When you opt for skill- based pay, you might need to splurge more for the salary the developer wants since they’ll be trained or highly skilled in more than one technology you need. The more someone offers compared to your job ad, the more compensation would change in the process to a higher one

  • Be ready to rethink your salary strategy – Consider all factors when you decide on the salary based on geography. Don’t immediately dismiss the salary a developer requires from a low-living-standard country. You can still have them working remotely and get the salary you intended for onsite work, provided that they have exceptional and very scarce skills of demand.

As you recruit and hire scarce developers, you’ll know what salary you can both agree to once you evaluate how precious are their skills and expertise for you.

  • Consider different hiring strategies for optimal results – You can consider team augmentation and outsourcing because you never know where the ideal developer is from. If there is no local potential for filling tech jobs, the next best and obvious solution would be to rely on experts outside of that country. In times when remote work is still rising, access to developers is no longer tied to location exclusively.

1.4. Recruitment obstacles

There are specific recruitment challenges arising around the shortage of developers. These obstacles define the whole process of finding, recruiting, and attracting developers.

  • Costs of recruitment – When you do things yourself, you need to ensure that you have the absolute best professionals, i.e., tech recruiters, to find developers for you to hire. The sum for the recruitment services cost is not to be neglected, as it reaches a hefty amount you must plan for in most cases.

If the hiring process takes more time than planned, there will be more recruitment costs that follow, and the new hire won’t start too quickly as you want them to.

  • Lack of recruitment talent – There is a shortage of developers worldwide, but that is also an obstacle to recruiters who need to find developers. When a recruiter is in charge of this, you and them both lack control over the process and its outcome.

You never know how much it will take to complete this, and it can be as short as a few weeks up to even months. A longer time to complete the recruitment process means work is on hold, and you spend more for the pre-hiring stages that still don’t promise quick and complete success.

  • Passive candidates – When we say passive candidates, we mean those who don’t actively look for a job and need to be approached and who don’t respond to recruiters most of the time.

The solution is somewhat easy in the first scenario of developers not looking for anything but would still be interested. Here it’s crucial to have an excellent tech-expertise recruiter with a keen eye for skilled developers on the job platforms.

Things are slightly different in the other case of not responding to recruiters. Even with a good and experienced recruiter, developers still might choose not to reply to recruiters.

The reason for this could be unrealistic relocations and strict on-site requirements, suspicions of fake companies, and, most importantly, an unattractive company reputation overall. If the developer thinks the company is dull or the management style is not their preferred one, they’ll like to pass on the offer.

Developers will also ensure to accept offers from companies that offer them many benefits and perks. The initial interview between the recruiter and developer must be informative, helpful, and pleasant, and anything opposite deters candidates.

Now more than ever, developers choose where to work. They know what working conditions they prefer or what benefits and growth opportunities they need in their workplace. Remote working, for example, has enhanced the focus on culture, work-life balance, and productive, focused work. And developers strive for that primarily, so we can conclude that outdated micromanagement and general, strict-sounding job ads are a thing of the past.

  • Lackluster job ad and offer – Think about all the opportunities you might have missed because of a dull job ad. Many developers must have seen and passed it as they continued scrolling to other jobs.

If you offer perks and benefits, always include them. If you have specific requirements for hybrid, remote, or onsite work, include it all, as long as you refer to all facts and truthfulness. Make sure to accentuate all the positives for the job position, and for any challenges, you can tactfully and suitably weave them into the job ad context.

Be as transparent and captivating as possible when creating the job ad. This is especially important for scarce skills in demand – you don’t want a perfect developer to pass you by just because the job ad doesn’t mention all the positives and perks you offer.

  • No flexibility or remote work – Speaking of job ads, one of the most essential aspects developers value is flexibility and remoteness. During the pandemic and the shift from onsite to remote work, developers, and many other professionals, realized that the quality of work is not dependent on office premises or strict working hours (with minor exceptions like obligatory and regular meetings attendance and similar).

  • What could be done to reduce the recruitment obstacles when hiring developers?

An incredibly efficient option to consider is staff augmentation and outsourcing through other agencies. But what would staff augmentation mean for you amidst developer shortage crisis times?

1.5. Workplace culture that attracts or deters developers

The workplace culture is something that makes or breaks a deal sometimes. And this is not applying just to developers too. Developers thrive with a good company culture, but with a bad one, they might recognize it early on, skip the job offer, or even quit.

So how do developers know what to refuse or accept from job offers and ads?

Criteria that developers use to accept or refuse a job

They research, evaluate and choose companies carefully, and consider the interview process or what impression the whole interview has on them. The company's lousy rep or unfriendly, inexpert, and impolite recruiters will surely lead the developer in another direction. This only accentuates how critical first impressions are, whether through ads or interviews with the recruiter as the first company representative that developers meet initially.

  • What is it that developers dislike about a job or workplace? What contributes to developers leaving companies or being deterred by a job ad?

  • No progress or growth opportunities.

  • Unpleasant company culture

  • No flexibility or remoteness

  • No motivation or morale boosting by management

  • No significant recognition

  • Low salary

  • Lack of challenging tasks

  • What attracts developers to a particular job and company? What things do developers like that make them apply for or stay with a company?

  • Good salary

  • Work-life balance

  • Flexibility

  • Productivity

  • Growth opportunities

  • Autonomy

  • Pragmatic management style

What makes developers happy and unhappy at work

What can overcome the negatives developers point out for a workplace and company culture?

  • Value the ambition and expertise of developers. They all want to take great pride in their work, so ensure you include growth opportunities for that job role. When you allow developers to progress, they know they have a future with your company and won’t be out of the picture anytime soon. It means you like how they think and work, and you’d like to see more of it in the future.

  • Don’t stop focusing and working on the company and team culture values. A positive, productive, and cohesive team environment makes developers happier and more likely to stay longer with the company.

  • Remember that flexibility and remoteness are crucial to attracting any employee, and tech experts have highly valued them in recent years. This conveys trust and leaves no room for micromanagement, which can instantly rob you of the best developers.

  • Ensure that management reflects good culture and company values. A good manager doesn’t control. Instead, they motivate developers. Good managers nudge developers toward progress and challenges, and they play a massive role in the retention of employees.

  • Be generous with compliments or recognition of the developer’s work. A good word goes a long way to help developers be happier in the workplace. Kindness, respect, and appreciation motivate developers to work even better and learn more.

  • Be ready to offer a competitive salary and outsmart the competitors. This shows that you value the expertise of the scarce skill developer and that you’re transparent and fair.

1.6. Delegating tasks and obligations

How does the work dynamic play out in the shortage of developers? How do you delegate tasks to the developer in the correct way that leads to retention in the long run?

The way CTOs and managers closely follow the work of developers should be a relaxed and cooperative way of micromanaging and piling up tasks. Delegating should always be done to propel productivity and open communication between both sides. It shouldn’t feel pressured. But, for this to feel pleasant for the developers when you need to delegate, think of the following factors that every developer needs in the workplace:

  • Assigning compelling and challenging engagements and building new things

If there is one thing that undoubtedly will chase away the developer straight into the competitor’s company, it is stagnation in the workplace. While this may not be the case with most occupations and job roles, it’s a solid rule for scarce developers in demand.

Since you’re hiring an in-demand developer, you’re expected to give them complex, challenging, and unique tasks.

A good rule of thumb is that the tasks you delegate will be a prominent part of the developer’s portfolio in the future. Valuable and unique experiences would open more opportunities for these developers in the future.

  • Leading toward career opportunities

Let’s put it this way. Why would a highly sought-after developer stay in a company that doesn’t offer learning and growth opportunities? To achieve retention, you need to think broadly about the developer's future in your company.

This can range from courses to training or additional qualifications that will make the developer happy to be considered for such progress.

Allowing a team member's growth and career progress doesn’t mean you’ll lose them from the team. It means you trust them enough to provide growth opportunities, you like their mindset, professionalism, and expertise, but you’d gladly upgrade those aspects in the developer to boost your workforce for the better.

  • Ensuring the developer is a good team fit

A developer that feels pleasant and happy in the workplace and the team is a productive developer that will most likely stay with you for longer. Imagine if anyone, not just a developer, feels out of place or doesn’t quite belong in the team. Chances are that those developers will not be there in the company for long.

  • How to delegate masterfully and retain developers for longer?

How you delegate tasks and obligations show the developers how much you value them. It’s all about whether the developer receives meaningful tasks assigned to them and whether you delegate tasks with respect and reasonable demands among the rest.

To delegate better and improve a team's cohesion and work dynamic, you’ll need to understand which aspects are good to implement and improve. Good delegating relies on

  • Transparent communication – No team member likes sketchy communication with vague statements and demands. Give specific instructions and requirements, and listen to the developers carefully for any issues or concerns they face too.

  • Good time management and setting reasonable deadlines – Unrealistic goals for the workload deadline will hinder the workflow. No developer thrives in a rushed and disorganized work environment.

  • Training and course opportunities – Once you start delegating tasks and managing the developers' team, you’ll notice their concerns, if any, but only if you listen carefully and communicate. In such cases, you can refer to additional training and courses to reduce the uncertainties of developers who are eager to learn.

  • Regular and constructive feedback – Try to follow the developer's work in a non-invasive way. When you’re aware of the successes and setbacks for developers, you can offer assistance and feedback constructively.

  • Trust and trustworthiness – By building trust with the developers, you ensure that the developer you want to retain will stay with your company for longer.

To retain developers, you need to improve your delegating skills accordingly:

  • Know the strengths and weaknesses of the developers
  • Give clear instructions and valuable materials
  • Set reasonable deadlines
  • Allow learning of new skills
  • Promote good work-life balance
  • Offer constructive and helpful feedback
  • Empower the team members and nurture good relationships with them
  • Be patient
  • Avoid work overload and tasks piling
  • Have a clearly defined schedule of the workflow and hierarchy
  • Recognize obstacles early on
  • Rely on recognition and reward for a job well done

Dealing with the shortage of developers

Being informed about the developer shortage crisis and its causes isn’t enough. However, specific strategies for attracting in-demand developers always work well for resolving this.

All the solutions are in the most problematic parts you face so far – recruitment costs, posting job ads, determining compensation, or even rethinking the traditional work conditions. You probably bear most of the responsibility for planning everything in the hiring process, and it takes a lot of time, money, and effort.

2.1. Opting for outsourcing and staff augmentation agencies

Think about it this way – in uncertain times of significant developer shortage, wouldn’t it be ideal to get a hold of the best developers with sought-after skills for yourself?

One good option would be staff augmentation. There is just one link between you and the much-needed developer, and the agency or provider for staff augmentation already has those developers in a broad network.

But how is this relevant for reducing the developer shortage crisis you face? How does it relate to you?

Try to answer the following:

  • Do you need help finding specific and scarce skill developers to hire?

  • Do you face limitations, i.e., just browse the local talent pool?

  • Is there a significant developer turnover in your company?

  • Do you find it hard to substitute for employees when they are on time off and leave?

  • Do you often splurge on the hiring process without seeing ideal results for what you invested primarily?

  • Does the search for someone to hire take too much time and effort for you?

  • Is it hard to get someone to vouch for the developers you hire?

  • Does all responsibility fall on you if the developer you hired underperformed?

  • Do pricing models and strategies need to be clarified when discussing salaries with candidates?

  • Does it seem that the results could be better no matter how much effort you put into the hiring?

If you said yes to most or all questions above, you are facing the developer shortage head-on. But it also means that you probably rely solely and exclusively on other ways of employment – freelancers, or traditional employment, among others.

And, if something doesn’t change in the hiring strategies you already use, you know what follows – the same issues will reappear, and you’ll probably say “yes” again to these questions you just read above.

If you choose staff augmentation services, what’s in it for you? Fair question.

Imagine the following:

  • Fewer recruitment costs

When you hire other people to find developers for you, there are no extra or hidden costs that might otherwise turn up if you do this on your own. Staffing agencies have a rich network of recruiters who have already gathered and vetted many developers.

  • Easier access to skilled developers in the talent pool

As mentioned, recruiters of staffing agencies are expertly trained and experienced in detailed browsing in the talent pool and picking only the best developers. They know how to do this quickly, easily, and efficiently.

  • Expert tech recruiters for the vetting

With agencies and recruiters for assessing and vetting, you can expect only the most qualified independent developers to rise to the top and onboard the agency network. Imagine how easy everything would be if someone else guaranteed the expertise of developers. Well, that’s precisely what staffing agencies do, among other things.

  • A professional and captivating way to attract developers

Even though this is something that agencies do before they match the client and developer, it’s a significant stage that’s key to attracting experts. With a bland job ad, the best developers are already on to the next ad. The dull ad will go unnoticed, despite all the upsides of working for you.

For example, at Proxify, we firmly believe that the whole company culture is visible in the job ad, so we strive to always reflect our cultural values first and foremost in the ads when looking for developers to enter our network. The job ad tells the developer almost all the crucial things they need – working hours, flexibility, work location, compensation, and other expectations.

The best way to reach the scarce developers and hire them is to let them know they’ll be happy, successful, and valued in the workplace.

  • Flexible hiring models and arrangements

You wonder why this is relevant for the shortage of developers. Of course, this is a huge benefit for clients because different, flexible hiring models are always a cost-efficient choice based on availability (part-time or full-time, and more).

But more importantly, when staffing agencies have various working plans, this opens up more hiring possibilities for the developers. This way, if some developers have limited availability, they can still get hired for the engagement that requests part-time work.

2.2. Engaging the right recruiters to find and hire scarce developers

Consider the importance of having highly experienced recruiters to grow your team of developers. You want to have good recruiters “hunting” the best developers for you, with tech evaluating skills foremost. These tech recruiters will be a massive asset to you because they will be the factor that reduces the developer shortage for your company.

So, how does an expert tech recruiter help you reduce the developer shortage? Why do you need these recruiters? What do these recruiters bring to the table as their contribution?

  • They know which specific skills and technologies to target

Tech recruiters know their way around job platforms. They are masters at researching specific keywords, skills, and technologies, and they can evaluate if someone should interview in further stages by reviewing their public, professional profile.

  • They know their way around creating job ads

The tech recruiter won’t only create a job ad to post with a few specifications. Instead, they will make a job ad as detailed as possible by mentioning specifics closely tied to the scarce skill in demand. Instead of browsing through countless developers interested in a job, they hand-pick resumes and profiles that seem the most promising for filling the role.

  • They cover vital and concise aspects of the interview

When tech recruiters prepare to interview developers, they assemble concise questions for that specific job role. The questions they use to examine the developer’s expertise in detail, as well as the soft skills of the developer. They consider everything to get an excellent skill, expertise, and team fit. The questions they use are thorough and oriented toward relevant assessment of skills.

Expert tech recruiters know the importance of hard and soft skills, both. Victory Hernandez, the technical assessment lead at Proxify, said:

“We are not only looking for candidates with senior technical skills, but also great candidates must also combine great attitude characteristics and professional standing.”

author Victory Fernandez

This proves how important it is for the scarce developer to fit well in your team because someone who’s not a team fit might not stay for long with your company, and this increases employee turnover. Even the most skilled developer with the most wanted experience won’t last long in a company unless they exhibit good culture and team fit values. These things build a future for them in a company, not just what they can do task-wise.

  • They can differentiate between good and excellently skilled developers

Most importantly, since tech recruiters specialize in tech roles, they can decide where to move forward with a candidate early on. They narrow down their choice to the most detailed information when they revise their selection of job seekers developers. They’ll differentiate between a good software developer with a few years of experience and an excellent software developer with senior-level experience and challenging engagements in the resume.

  • They save you time and money

When the finding and hiring process gets shortened, it means less money spent on it, and you’ll get the in-demand developer much faster than otherwise.

  • They represent your company and brand too

The tech recruiters may be confined to technical aspects and interviewing foremost, but they get to know your company at the same time too. When they reach out to developers, they transfer your company’s values to them.

2.3. Revising the criteria for finding and vetting scarce skill developers

When you want to hire a rare developer, you need to know what you are looking for as precisely as possible. Not only that, but you should continuously review and improve your strategie for reaching the scarce developers, and rely on in-depth vetting methods.

So, how do recruiters and CTOs find the in-demand developers? What is key during this type of dev search they make? Or, what helps them narrow down their search in general?

  • Knowledgable about technologies

Tech recruiters and skilled CTOs know the ins and outs of the whole recruitment process and the precise specifics of a given technology, so they have a clearer understanding of the process than others. They conduct the process in a concise and oriented manner instead of just vaguely assessing developers’ skills just for role-filling.

  • Focused on improving the job ad format

Instead of creating and posting a job ad that mentions the basics, they go the extra mile and add as much information as possible. All requirements in the job ad are clearly defined, so when the in-demand developer reads that job ad, they know exactly what will be expected of them in the workplace. Not only this, but they know their way around creating captivating ads from every aspect – everything is covered nicely, from the phrasing of the ad content to the visuals.

This way, the tech recruiters and CTOs focus on the scarce developers better because those devs that are not in demand won’t be as tempted to apply to the job ad and will move on to other ads. This leaves only the scarce devs in the final resumes rundown.

  • Interested in possibilities for referrals and attending networking events

True experts never stop their curiosity and communication with others because every contact in the professional sphere is a potential benefit for the future.

There are countless networking opportunities at tech and IT events, tech conferences, hackathons, coding workshops, etc. Spreading the word about scarce skills while attending such events is not only possible but incredibly useful for pinpointing the developer workforce potential there.

Great team builders never miss opportunities to enrich their knowledge and attend networking events and conferences. At such events, they broaden their contacts list and gain even better knowledge of the industry. They stay up to date with the latest trends and other specific fields of the industry.

  • Knowledgeable of job platforms

Platforms like Linkedin, Stack Overflow, GitHub, and AngelList all offer insightful and beneficial information about developer job seekers, useful stats, and relevant information that help speed up the hiring process of developers. Posting job ads or browsing the job market is an excellent asset for tech recruiters.

The more they educate themselves by relying on some platforms, the more they equip themselves with crucial info for reducing developer shortage. And the significant presence on professional platforms is a great opportunity to promote the brand to potential developers for the job.

  • Focused on constant progress

It’s almost impossible to have a poorly managed and marketed website and get the best in-demand devs. It’s also impossible to have average-curious employees and expect to hire the best devs.

The first thing that scarce developers do after they see a job ad is to check the company’s website. If something on that website seems unprofessional, unclear, or vague, there’s a chance that the developer won’t readily accept to work for that company. But, if the website shows the company culture, the opportunities, the way they operate and work – all of this is attractive to see if you’re someone in demand and can choose where to work.

So, great CTOs and tech recruiters can also observe for any chance of improvement in the company. They will suggest and implement improvements and upgrades to their management and recruitment strategies. They will actively find and manage scarce skill devs because they know how to, and they are sure that the company works in a way that will retain devs.

  • Attentive to soft skills in developers

Soft skills of in-demand developers are just as important as their hard skills. Why? Because devs with many good soft skills will exhibit a sense of responsibility, productivity, and good communication. Once recruiters recognize good soft skills in candidates, they can be sure that those devs hold great employee potential.

  • What are some specific traits that in-demand developers have that make them stand out in a pool of other good developers?

To ensure that the developers are skilled professionals recall these factors:

  • They know a scarce technology perfectly and have solid expertise in it

  • They have years of experience with that technology

  • They are fast learners

  • They exhibit excellent communication skills and fit well as a team player too

  • They crave to upgrade their knowledge

  • They are eager to advance their career

  • They show excellent problem-solving skills

  • They rely on and reuse previous proven solutions

  • They masterfully use various tools, programs, and platforms in their work

  • They aced their coding and other technical tests

  • What are the criteria for assessment and vetting for scarce devs? What makes vetting successful?

Let’s see what factors recruiters and interviewers take into account to rest assured the vetting turned out a success:

  • Thorough reviewing of resumes and portfolios
  • Referring to the references for that candidate
  • Verifying the expertise and work history of the candidate
  • Relying on senior developers for technical interview relevance
  • Assigning in-depth and adequate coding tests
  • Noting the punctuality, listening, communication skills, and critical thinking of developers

2.4. Competitive compensation

The definition of competitive compensation means you’ll be able to spend just as much, or a bit higher than competitors, for the same developer role you need to fill.

We mentioned how countries with the most shortages also offer the highest salaries. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that scarce skills and in-demand developer roles require higher compensation than other roles and competitors, especially in tech shortages.

The increase in salaries became even more prominent during Covid-19 when automatization and digitization all became more advanced, we became even more dependent on technology, and scarce developers, logically, took to increasing salaries as a predominant factor for the value they bring.

As salaries increased over the last years, in-demand developers had the upper hand regarding salary determination. If someone wants the scarce skill dev, they’ll be ready to find a way to adjust the compensation offered primarily. It can be concluded that increased tech salaries are one trend to follow to achieve developer retention in hard-to-fill roles.

Indeed, the retention of developers is not just connected to salary only, and there are other surrounding factors. However, pay is undeniably an essential factor that makes or breaks an agreement between employers and candidates.

We can even apply Maslow's hierarchy of needs in the context of developers’ retention.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs in the context of developers' retention

We can see how meaningful work, team cohesion, self-improvement, a sense of belonging, esteem, and a feeling of safety in the workplace – all play a role in retention and employee engagement. Still, at the bottom of the pyramid, we see the basic need, compensation.

Once you are transparent and definitive about your competitive salary to offer to developers, i.e., once you cover that basic (and above basic) need of the hierarchy for them, you have an excellent chance of hiring the in-demand developers and retaining them too. So, if the salary is not mentioned in the ad or discussed early on, and if it’s lower than the competitor’s – that developer will head elsewhere, and ASAP too.

What can be done?

Remember that determining a competitive salary will contribute to retention and is one of the few factors preventing a shortage crisis. It’s now crucial to

  • Find out – Spend some time researching the tech industry and its in-demand dev job roles. Compare the salaries offered with what you offer to developers. You’ll know who you compete with based on how much you can pay devs compared to competitors.

  • Keep up – Just finding out what competitors offer is not enough. Now it’s time to do something about it. Keeping up with the industry's salary trends means finding a way to offer the same or higher salary than the competition while securing your success and retaining the dev roles they want.

  • Show it – Find a way to mention the compensation in the job ad or company website. This kind of transparency attracts in-demand independent developers and shows you as trustworthy, transparent, and treating employees well. Developers will know they are valued by your company and treated fairly, and every expert wants to thrive in a work environment like this.

Why is competitive compensation significant?

  • Everyone likes to be paid well – This is no surprise, but everyone appreciates being compensated as they deserve it. Companies that pay well are always the priority choice of developers. They will always go to the company that pays more, along with meeting the other retention aspects too.

  • No one wants to leave if they are paid well – Another one of the “goes without saying” parts, but when developers have a sense of belonging in your company, and are paid accordingly for it, they would not be in a rush to leave at all. So this is less employee turnover too.

  • Productivity and team culture peak – Developers who know they are valued and appreciated in a company work better, more efficiently, and productively. This is not the only thing motivating devs to excel at their work, but it surely boosts the workflow.

2.5. Flexibility and remoteness

Flexibility and remoteness are now other significant factors in determining whether developers (and other occupations, too) accept or refuse a job.

In general, companies with remote and hybrid workers have proven to have happier and more productive workers than companies insisting on office presence and strict work time schedules without flexibility. Longer working hours without the chance of flexibility doesn’t seem beneficial for employees, nor does insisting on onsite work only – which results in demotivated, demoralized, and anxious employees.

But there is another factor to consider – developers often quit due to the company’s rigid rules on working hours and location. Not allowing flexibility and remoteness to in-demand developers leads to devs quitting because they cannot keep up with the burnout, stress, and lack of productive, comfortable work environment they like.

The resignation worsened during the pandemic when many companies again demanded traditional working methods. Ironically or not, this is one of the significant reasons that deter the best devs from the company.

Why are flexibility and remoteness necessary, and how does it affect the shortage crisis overall?

These two factors vastly reduce the shortage crisis and promote employee retention in the following ways:

  • Promoting good work-life balance – When you go for remote developers and allow flexible working hours, you encourage them to have an excellent work-life balance and avoid burnout or frustrations. No one has a perfect, unshakable focus for work at all times, and flexibility with remoteness allows devs to work how they want and where they want – as long as they respect the task deadlines and manage their time well.

  • Improving focus and productivity – In an office setting with many chit-chats and background sounds, it’s challenging to do a job perfectly well is challenging. When devs are derailed by distractions and forced to be focused in certain hours of the day, we could all agree that this might not end up too well. Trusting devs to do a good job means removing all their distractions and allowing them to delve into uninterrupted focus at their chosen location.

  • Achieving a happier mindset – Similar to the work-life balance, a dev with remote and flexible work is much more satisfied because they are not micromanaged and strictly controlled. A happy worker is productive, and a happy dev is trusted to provide quality work without being pressured and micromanaged.

  • Managing costs and saving time – It is good not to be obliged to commute (unless there is a hybrid option too). These benefits apply to both you and the developers. Without office space costs and without wasting time (and money) on telecommuting, there is better productivity, better work-life balance, more free time for leisure and rest for the devs, and fewer costs for you as the employer. When devs are well-rested, don’t commute in the early mornings, and freely decide on their focus peak hours, you can expect them to be healthy, happy, and retained for longer.

  • Broadening the talent pool – CTOs and managers that rely predominantly on hybrid and fully remote teams extend their teams faster and more straightforwardly because the talent pool broadens when it covers more locations worldwide. And, more developers will be eager to work for companies that offer flexibility and remoteness. When it comes to hybrid work, this is an excellent solution to consider as well. Remoteness can be partial (as in the hybrid work case) and still result in a good work dynamic and employee cohesion. If developers are okay with a hybrid work environment, they also benefit from the occasional socializing with coworkers, among other factors, without continuously compromising their best peak focus hours.

Hybrid and remote workers are more productive than in-office ones, but one thing is sure – both remoteness and hybrid work are still popular and might remain unchanged. But also, developers that get to choose if they want hybrid or remote work, with flexible time too, are the ones to apply, work for, and stay in that company.

Let’s revise:

  • In a digital era of simple connecting, is physical presence always obligatory?

  • Does the physical presence of the dev prove their work is good?

  • Does a strict 9-5 schedule prove the dev was focused and productive in all those hours?

  • Is the talent pool suddenly broader when you rely on remoteness and hybrid work?

Answering these questions narrows down and resolves the shortage crisis issues. In most cases, the shortage can be resolved like this through flexible and remote work options. The in-demand developers can be found anywhere globally, so expecting devs to reallocate might not be so plausible.

But if they have scarce skills, live abroad, and want their freedom for time management – they should get it. The devs that are satisfied and trusted do not leave companies. But, companies that are stubborn to flexibility or remoteness will probably need to rethink their developer retention strategies if they want to keep the most wanted developers out there.

2.6. Low-code and no-code platforms

In the past, the low-code and no-code platforms were more popular as a partial replacement for skilled developers when time was of the essencet. These platforms are not an immediate solution and are not as under the spotlight as before. But they may have some relevance if everything else fails.

Low-code platforms are platforms where devs can design and develop apps that contain components, all ready to use. With this, devs easily and quickly create apps and systems. No-code platforms are even helpful to users who aren’t tech experts or devs or don’t have proper tech expertise – without coding, users can develop an app, simple as that.

Interestingly enough, both low-code and no-code represent a strange mix of problem and solution – in the context of a developer shortage crisis. While these platforms provide better productivity, upgrade knowledge, and retain current employees, this is still not a solution for finding an in-demand dev with great scarce skill expertise.

Low-code and no-code are not dev replacement. They are quick and easy solutions in dire need of devs when you need more time or resources to hire a team. These platforms are not scalable, customizable, or fully secure.

If we think of this as a solution for the dev shortage crisis, this is like a bandage instead of a cast for a broken bone – it’s a minimal effort and in the wrong direction.

But on the other hand, another highly possible scenario is also here. For example, the low-code one can be a great assistance and time saver for skilled developers. While they use this platform to finalize the simpler things quickly, they’ll have plenty more time to focus on the more complex and challenging development work.

And let’s not forget, if you need an in-demand dev with scarce skills, they would not and should not be working on the simplest, low-code tasks in the first place. Instead, they will be responsible for bigger challenges, as mentioned above.

After resolving the shortage challenges

When all factors that contribute to developer shortage are identified, what follows are the steps and measures that resolve this. But, of course, that is not the final stage of handling the shortage crisis.

A trickier aspect is maintaining the successfully resolved shortage and retention of the in-demand developers you hire.

It’s pretty common to lay back and relax and consider it all done, but equal efforts, or even more significant efforts than before, should be made now to retain happy and productive developers in your company.

Taking action is not too complex as long as you and the developer are keen on progressing.

3.1. Increasing retention

It’s not easy to find and hire good in-demand developers when a developer shortage crisis occurs. But once it happens, retention is the next more significant challenge.

To preserve developer retention and prevent employee turnover, there are several things to keep in mind.

  • Adopt the mindset of in-demand devs – To successfully act on the shortage crisis and retain the in-demand experts, you will need to think like a developer in that same position. How else would you know how to make conditions better for a developer? Research the market and everything there is to know about the scarce skills and developer roles, to take further steps better.

  • Have empathy in mind – If you rely on empathy to understand the mindset of in-demand devs, you cannot go wrong. When you place yourself in the shoes of an in-demand dev, you can at least closely experience the challenges and boosters for these devs. You will find out what novelty would be good to incorporate in the workplace or what would make the job easier and more productive.

  • Be a fair delegator – Treating everyone in the development team equally boosts team morale more than anything. But, it is not just about delegating equal responsibilities or equal volume and complexity of tasks. Fair task delegating in this context also means delegating challenging and specific functions to the in-demand dev with expertise and assigning other tasks to other devs. Everything is delegated to the most suitable team member, with reasonable deadlines and no pressuring or rushing the process. As mentioned, a great dev will be quickly hired elsewhere if they are not challenged with specific engagements and tasks, if they are undervalued or if they see mishaps in how their duties are assigned.

  • Be curious and active on the job market – Stay relevant, and be curious. You can find out many valuable things when you explore your industry. Stay in touch with acquaintances and coworkers in the same field and industry, be informed of novelties in tech, and attend tech conferences and networking events as much as possible. These are the events where you meet like-minded people that do the same as you and probably even have the same shortage issue in mind as yourself.

  • Align the compensation goals with the developer’s expectations – If possible, it is strongly advised to try to align your salary with competitors' salaries or even outdo them. Try this with benefits and perks too, not just the salary. The compensation is one factor that in-demand devs instantly notice, along with other perks they get. Understand all tech roles well before you delve into compensation determining. Or if you have no time to do it, you can always rely on staff augmentation and outsourcing agencies that have already predefined these rates and organized everything else along the way.

  • Forget about micromanaging and limitations – Even with a substantial salary, great perks, and benefits, a micromanaged dev will rush to another company without thinking twice. Suffocating the thought process and work hours of your teammate through countless trivial interruptions, time monitoring, and similar are things that no one handles too well, especially not devs who need a more flexible approach to work and brainstorming sessions.

  • Prioritize work-life balance – Practice what you preach, and be a leader with an excellent work-life balance so that others can follow you. Without work-life balance, the devs might be near burnout or become less productive. There is a fine line between bursts of productive energy and neverending work, so be careful not to merge these two in the dev’s work. Respect the free time of the devs, and as mentioned above, carefully delegate tasks.

  • Encourage growth and improvement of skills – If you want to hire the in-demand devs, but retain them for as long as possible, let them think about growth and additional education. Providing courses or other qualifications for the devs who want to upgrade their skills is a fantastic way to make their work meaningful and let them add more to their skills.

  • Use innovative approaches whenever possible – Keeping up with updates and novelties in the tech industry is vital. The in-demand devs are professionals who managed to master a skill ideally compared to most devs. Understandably, these types of devs want to excel at their work and work on more complex tasks with their scarce skill. Developers in demand need excitement and a dynamic workflow overall and want to use modern and latest technologies whenever possible. This improves their work, productivity, and progress. This also means a better retention rate because why would devs leave a company that encourages them to upgrade their skills and practical expertise?

  • Try augmented and hybrid dev teams – When you try out remote and hybrid teams, this is, in a way, a retention strategy by itself. As an unwritten but certain rule, employers who allow for some flexibility in the location of employees tend to retain those employees for longer. When employees have the freedom to be in the office some days and the rest of the working days where they choose to work from, this is a sure sign that you keep employees happy and you trust them and their expertise, even if they’re partially present in-office. Developer retention is achievable and a direct result of all efforts combined throughout working together as a team. But, even more precisely, retention results from respectful communication, fair compensation, freedom, trust, valuable connection with the other team members, recognition and endorsement, and motivation-fueled work dynamics.

3.2. Courses and constant learning

If there is something that career-oriented devs like is the progress of their knowledge and skills. This means that their learning didn’t stop and won’t stop either – they already perfected their expertise in a scarce skill, so why would they stop upgrading if that same skill upgrading made them so wanted now in the first place?

And overall, you can provide training, resources, courses, qualifications, and skill-upgrading opportunities covered by the company. By this, the dev would become even better at what they do, affirming their in-demand status. On the other hand, you get a more skilled dev already in your team, and with that, even more valued business progress in the long run.

We are in an era of insanely fast progress, automatization, and new technologies, so it’s essential to keep up with it all. This is precisely what in-demand devs want too. In a way, if you wish to progress your business and company, you’ll need to align it with the progress of your valued devs in the team. To keep up in a fast-moving tech world, let the free-spirited and independent-thinking devs do what they do – learning and working at their own pace, while still being a part of a hybrid or remote team.

Don’t immediately think that offering additional resources and learning will equip the dev to go elsewhere with the help you provided, even if that’s your initial thought. It’s the opposite – the progressive devs that learn with you stay with you.

As mentioned in the sections above, a stagnating, unmotivated, and micromanaging work dynamic repels talent with the ability to choose their perfect position. However, by assisting them to stay relevant and spark their thirst for knowledge even more, you are securing them with a position to upgrade within your company and securing yourself with invaluable expertise in the team.

Developers like to learn from every valuable source available to them – whether sources of their own choice or learning from other, more seasoned professionals around them.

At the same time, allowing for autonomy in learning is crucial. Why? All utilized tech trends and novelties come from a dev’s desire to progress and discover new things to implement in their work. And this is possible and best when you allow remote and hybrid work, with uninterrupted focus and freedom in choosing what, when, and how to learn.

Finishing remarks

A developer shortage crisis is not an easy challenge to tackle, but it’s necessary to handle it with all efforts and resources available. Times of adversity call for specific measures, even urgent ones, to save a business in the long run.

With everyone’s efforts, a crisis of this type is more than solvable, and “everyone’s efforts” encompasses an in-depth understanding of the dev shortage, not just expecting the dev shortage to resolve itself. Once you know the job market or why some devs are so scarce, all solutions will start to fall into place like perfectly fitting puzzle pieces.

What can you do to make the most of a significant dev search hunt like this? How willing are you to change your hiring strategies and gain more than before?

Or perhaps, hopefully, you got a glimpse of potential hiring and management improvements by now that you can apply. So, if there was a solution for finding scarce devs, ready and served to you, it is the alternative hiring strategies like hybrid and remote teams. By trusting staff augmentation companies and thus saving time and money, you’re tackling all challenging aspects of the dev shortage crisis – efficiently and in one attempt.

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