What Kind of Developer Jobs Attract Top Programmers?

It is a candidate’s market when it comes to hiring for developer jobs. The Robert Half Technology 2015 Salary Guide projects 6.9 percent salary growth for U.S. software developers next year, driven in no small part by an unequal amount of talent and demand.

Skilled mobile application developers in the United States should see an even bigger boost, with many employers prepared to pay 10.2 percent more in average stating compensation for these roles in 2015. In this highly competitive market, hiring managers need to create an ideal work environment so they can fill developer jobs with the best candidates. Listed below are some of the things that software developers value most in their jobs.


In a recent survey sponsored by Robert Half Technology, IT pros laid out the problems they faced when they worked for companies that were not innovative. A whopping 72 percent said that lack of innovation stunted their career growth. Sixty-one percent said lack of innovation caused low morale and/or high turnover. Talented software developers are unlikely to thrive and be able to fully apply their skills — programming languages, creating applications and developing prototypes, to name a few — unless they are in an environment where they can try new things and think outside the box. Trying to recruit and retain top candidates for developer jobs in an innovation-stagnant company is nearly impossible and can be quite costly due to higher turnover.

Opportunities for growth

The results of another recent survey from Robert Half Technology showed that the most frustrating aspects of a developer’s job have little to do with the nature of their core work. “Few opportunities for advancement” topped the list at 45 percent. “Unmanageable workload” came in second at 43 percent, and “few opportunities to learn new skills” was third, cited by 39 percent of respondents. These types of problems can be retention-killers. Career growth, in particular, is often cited as a problem in developer jobs. When Robert Half Technology asked IT pros what kind of company they would prefer to work at, they were also asked to offer reasons for their choice. Of those who said they preferred midsize companies, 26 percent cited “career growth” as their primary reason. Similarly, respondents who picked large corporate environments said that “career growth” was the primary reason 38 percent of the time. Those who favor startup companies picked “career growth” 28 percent of the time as the reason for their choice.


In addition to insisting on the right environment, candidates looking for developer jobs are also seeking market-appropriate compensation from employers. Remember, you are trying to hire and retain talent in a job market that has seen 5 to 10 percent salary growth per year for quite some time. This means your organization will need to offer competitive — if not above-market — rates for your developer jobs. Remember, too, that “compensation” is not just a paycheck. Software developers can and do often expect additional benefits. In the 2015 Salary Guide from Robert Half Technology, 95 percent of employees polled about benefits said they receive medical insurance, 92 percent get paid time off, and 75 percent are provided retirement benefits. To attract the best talent, employers should consider these kinds of benefits as a very important part of the overall compensation package for developer jobs.


Along with salary and benefits, employers can use a variety of other perks to lure skilled developers. According to the 2015 Salary Guide, some perks commonly offered in the IT world are flexible work hours (57 percent), work-from-home options (35 percent), and on-site cafeterias or subsidized food (35 percent). Some of the less common perks are on-site amenities such as dry cleaning and fitness centers (18 percent), subsidized transportation (10 percent), and mentoring programs (10 percent). Providing standout benefits like these can help set your organization apart from other employers. With not enough skilled candidates to meet growing demand, it is no wonder many companies are fighting an uphill battle to fill their developer jobs. But by offering an attractive work environment and competitive compensation and perks, your business will be better positioned to overcome challenges in recruiting and retaining the best developer talent. To determine the level of average starting compensation your company should be offering for developer jobs in 2015, use the Salary Calculator in the Robert Half Technology Salary Center.