Is there a developer shortage? What can you do to tackle it?

Image of a developer at his desk with code on his computer and headphones on.

What can you do to overcome the developer shortage and find a great hire?

Google the developer shortage and you’ll discover that it’s been a hot topic in recruitment for years.

So if you’re struggling to fill your latest software development role, you might feel a little vindicated. But what if I told you that there are ways to make hiring a talented developer painless and quick?

What is the developer shortage?

The developer shortage is where there are far more vacancies than qualified job hunters. And as there aren’t enough skilled developers to go around some companies have to go without filling this essential role.

According to Tech Nation’s 2021 report, there were 150,000 developer roles advertised in 2019 but only 15,000 searches. This means that the demand for developers is 10 times the number of searches.

And when job hunters can search for the same term every day until they’re hired, the numbers could be even more dire.

Why are there so few developers?

But when the tech industry is the fastest growing sector in the UK, how can there be so few people looking for jobs?

There is little public awareness

What jobs did you learn about at school? We all know about doctors, lawyers and even marine biologists, but do the kids of today know that software development is a viable career path?

The truth is that jobs like software development don’t get a lot of press. And don’t get me started on jobs in tech in general!

Tech has this huge stigma around it that it’s boring, all about numbers and only geniuses can get a job and enjoy it. But that’s just not true.

The image of an engineer

When you imagine a developer or an engineer, what do you see? Is it a greasy bloke in overalls with a wrench?

Tech has been seen as inaccessible to anyone that isn’t a white man. That’s why there have been so many problems with diversity!

But in recent years tech has really opened up to women and people of colour, so things are starting to turn around.

Organisations like SheCodes and Codebar are doing great work, promoting development as a great career path for anyone no matter their gender, race or age.

So thanks to amazing charities like these, there are more and more developers to hire. So where are they?

A developer sitting at her desk with her computer open to code.

5 Mistakes you’re making when trying to hire a developer

1 – You’re taking resumes at face-value

Are you struggling to take applicants past the first screening?

When you take resumes at face value, you can end up rejecting the top applicants simply because they don’t know one of the five frameworks you’re looking for.

We would always recommend testing as many job applicants as you can to find out who is truly a great developer.

It’s important to create a great test that can separate the skilled from the fakers. So test for the most essential, core skills first and foremost.

Your applicant can always learn a new framework if they need to!

2 – Self taught vs degree taught

Are you focused on finding that first class software development graduate? Are you looking for a few years of experience in the field?

You could be rejecting your top candidates without a second thought.

Development is a field that’s incredibly accessible. Great developers aren’t always degree-taught and they could have no working experience in the field.

In fact, teaching yourself a skill like coding takes a lot of passion, dedication and skill – these are all things that can benefit your organisation.

So take the extra minute to open that Github link to check you applicant’s work – you could be surprised.

3 – You’re underpaying

Are you expecting to pay your developer £18K?

Development is a highly skilled field – some junior developers can earn a great salary from their first job.

If that’s possible, why would they apply for an underpaid role?

Take a look at the market rate before you push away your top applicants!

4 – You’re over-expecting

Looking for a full-stack junior developer?

What if I told you that they don’t really exist?

When you run a startup it’s easy to fall into the trap of hiring one person when you really need an entire team. So you advertise for a marketer to manage hundreds of social media accounts, emails, pr, design, SEO, PPC and video production.

And then you advertise for a developer to lead your frontend, backend and UX. And then you expect to pay then under £25K.

This unicorn developer that you’re looking for probably doesn’t exist at this pay grade.

You might have more luck hiring two developers with separate specialisations.

5 – You’re not putting in the effort

Hiring can be hard.

There are lots of things that could be putting your candidates off your roles.

Whether it’s a shoddy job description, poor candidate experience, lacklustre employer brand, abysmal salary band or no salary band at all.

You could find better luck posting your job adverts in coding community groups or reaching out to developers directly on LinkedIn.

One thing is for certain: you will have better luck advertising your role on DigitalGrads.

Let us do all of the hiring dirty work for you. We can help you create a great job description, advertise in the right places, screen and test candidates so that you’re left with an impressive shortlist to interview.

By the end of it, you will have forgotten that the developer shortage even exists.