Hiring talented developers made the most headlines in 2022 and 2023.
The global developer shortage is not a storm in a teacup but a big deal — a real concern that never ended since 2022.
We are on our way to losing four million developers by 2025 while software developer jobs are ready to hit 85.2 million by 2030. The irony.
According to the IDC, the global developer recession could result in businesses losing approximately $8.5 trillion in annual revenues by 2030.
The need to incorporate technology into daily operations requires businesses to hire top tech talent. But this imbalance between high demand and scarce supply is astonishing.
“Today, every firm in every industry is quickly digitizing and using technologies like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. But for this to happen, businesses need competent developers,” says Prashanth Chandrasekar, CEO of Stack Overflow.
Developers are at the heart of almost every vertical including renewable energy, pharma, AI, clinical drug research, healthcare, food services, supply chain & logistics, real estate, billing and payments, business systems, agriculture, tourism, and overall science.
Despite the demand, according to mckinsey:
87% of companies are already facing a talent shortage or assuming to experience it in the coming years according to a McKinsey & Company survey.
The question is: What are we doing to save the software industry from going bankrupt? Are we filling the talent gap the right way? Do we need to fix our hiring and training methods?
There is no “shortage of talent”, there is only a shortage of people who find talent and keep it.
Keep on reading to reveal and debunk bitter truths about the ongoing software developer shortage crisis:
Here are some of the factors that contribute to the software developer shortage: (an eye-opener indeed)
Pulling candidates from the same talent pools is limiting the global sourcing of diverse IT talent. Despite massive layoffs, companies are failing to fill open positions.
62% of all IT workers are white and 75% are male. The level of discrimination is worrisom. Yes, we need to face the truth.
That being said, the developer shortage can be sorted if the market leaders open their search to women, remote workers, people of color, differently-abled people, and other marginalized factions.
Do you think we can hunt 4 million new software engineers from the same sources to fill the talent gap?
It’s unwise to expect gold every time from the same old pots.
The need of the hour is to tap unexplored talent groups dismissing biases and discrimination.
So how do you plan to touch new talent pools?
The software industry is growing at an unprecedented rate, becoming more complex than ever. Companies require specialists to develop and execute modern technologies. However, finding qualified and well-informed software developers is becoming difficult.
The ongoing modernization puts a strain on the talent pools to continuously learn and grow with the latest tech trends.
The popular AI, IoT, and other automation applications are urging businesses to hire software engineers, quality assurance analysts, and testers all the more. In another scenario, existing tech teams experience the burden of staying up-to-date with the tech trends — leading to developer burnout and higher turnover rates.
You see? You either hire new software developers and train them or train the already existing ones.
Do you expect to find and attract top talent with the old, boring ways of hiring? Or are you overdoing technology to hunt down the finest of the lot? Do you think bots can do that? Neither is good.
Depending on old resume method: The hiring industry is using resumes — a Word or a PDF file— to assess a candidate’s degrees, previous work experience, and skills. Though this method works, reviewing resumes sometimes comes with bias.
If a top software developer didn’t study at an expensive university, how do they prove themselves to potential employers?
Prestige hiring: Recruiting leader Hung Lee once said, “Prestige hiring, or credentialism, as it’s sometimes called, drastically reduces the total addressable market of candidates, and is likely one of the primary reasons for the ‘tech talent shortage’. We’re making false-positive decisions by hiring developers with name-brand employers on the CV, and we’re making false negative decisions by rejecting developers who don’t.”
Slow recruitment aka “test my patience” practice: Delayed recruitment processes are a recurring problem that requires a separate discussion panel.
Technical job vacancies take 50% more time to fill in comparison to other roles — on average 66 days to find a qualified software developer.
Accept it or not slow recruitment is one of the major contributing factors to the software engineer shortage. While companies wait to make a judgment, a good software developer already starts looking for better opportunities that don’t feel like a headache.
It’s time to rethink your hiring procedures.
Personalize your JDs: Carefully gauge your job descriptions instead of googling them and pasting them. To deal with the shortage of devs, you must match your tone with those coming from diverse and unconventional backgrounds.
Look for skills: Having degree requirements is an old people’s way, focus more on the skills that fit with the role.
Bring change, train your recruitment teams: Train hiring managers and recruiters to eliminate their biases and focus on identifying the real tech talent.
Break the bias: Encourage inclusion and acceptance giving opportunities to talent without judging anyone based on their ethnicity and background, but vital perspective and passion to contribute.
Embrace new working styles: Post-pandemic has taught us to trust globalization and therefore taught companies to hire people outside their countries. Remote working has really changed the hiring landscape and eased the not-so-easy search for talented software developers globally.
Do away with erroneous requirements and try finding more than a four-year degree such as a whole new thought process, skillset, creativity, and dedication. You can upskill an employee in a few weeks or months, but changing someone's attitude is almost impossible.
In short, companies and hiring managers should look beyond resumes and status when hiring software developers.
We are not saying education holds no weight but solely judging based on a degree is not smart.
Theory thought at the universities is basic and rarely fits with most companies’ requirements for a talented junior-level software developer. The rookie developers must participate in coding boot camps to mature their skills and fill the gap.
According to a Stack Overflow survey, around 87% of developers self-learned a new language, framework, or tool without attending a formal course.
Another fast-track way to learn coding is through attending a coding bootcamp. Though it doesn’t degrade the value of a professional university degree, 80% of US tech managers prefer hiring coding boot camp grads.
Of the 1,000 tech managers surveyed, "72% of respondents consider bootcamp grads to be just as prepared and just as likely to perform at a high level than computer science grads. Some go further: 12% think they are more prepared and more likely to do better."
This practice is also limited in scope and teaches one or two programming languages. And also demeans those in student debt trying to make a future out of a college degree.
Fresh developers require professional grooming and industry-grade technical expertise that universities often skip. Therefore, academia and businesses both carry the burden of nurturing the young pools with the right training, education, and support.
As a stakeholder, you must invest in initiatives like STEM education, free training sessions, and funding to help them access modern tech education and accreditation — outside the expensive four-year degree. Take for example Accelerate by Microsoft which provides free courses and resources to underprivileged groups allowing them to equally partake in the tech sector.
We can term such programs as acts of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that can effectively reduce the threats of talent shortages and not surviving the ongoing technological revolution.
The Great Resignation or Reshuffle is the great movement when the employees displayed unhappiness with their current roles and changed jobs.
Above 50 million people quit their jobs in 2022, surpassing the 47.8 million count in 2021. That mass resignation is far from over despite the high-level layoffs taking over the headlines recently.
Repercussions of the Great Resignation include increased work strain on remaining employees.
According to Amy Loomis, a research VP for IDC’s Future of Work group, these are the five reasons why people quit jobs:
The continuous employee turnover — despite ongoing global recession and soaring inflation are suggestive that tech talent isn’t regretting their decisions to quit, Loomis said.
As mentioned earlier,
Around 42% of American women developers and 35% of men developers say they constantly live in a state of burnout which leads to resignations furthering the software developer shortage.
On the contrary, companies are struggling to fill vacancies — 15,700 of those available positions are for software developers. The number of job openings has surprisingly shrunk due to a shortage of the right skills (45%) and an inability to match expectations of remote flexible work models (39%), as per IDC.
This increased the competition for both the companies and the developers. Skilled developers remain in high demand but most companies fail to provide a flexible and healthy environment for the new hires. While software developers fail to state their true expectations. And when they do it’s already too late.
The predicament has given birth to the remote work model which means the pool of potential software developers has also grown. Networking channels have enabled both potential employers and employees to connect better.
Now, you decide if the mass quitting movement is a curse or a cure.
Solving and addressing this talent shortage is not easy. There is a galaxy of undiscovered talent pools that stakeholders are unable to reach because they are still viewing the process through the same lens and looking at the same spots.
Dealing with the developer talent gap dilemma requires employers to grow their search radius and evolve their hiring practices beyond geographical or educational barriers.
It’s about time that we adopt more trusted and flexible working ways to take advantage of hidden treasures – skilled software development professionals — from across the globe.
The biggest lessons of COVID-19 are global acceptance and inclusion.
33% of developers are already open to teleworking full-time, another 37% are interested in hybrid options, while 33% want to go fully remote. However, only 40% of recruiters are hiring globally as of now. We still need to do lots of work. Because;
Talent knows no bounds, no time zones, and no man-made biases. The highly skilled software developers are there. You just need to fix or change your lens to find them.
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