Tech developers are increasingly unhappy and disillusioned

Developers’ happiness is hugely affected by their age, gender and the rigour of the recruitment process, new research shows. The industry is steeped in issues, as nearly half of the developers surveyed are unsure they’ll be working for the same company in just two years.

UK firms struggling to incentivise tech talent appropriately or fairly. Developer disenchantment is sky-high: 50 percent of men and 40 percent of women are uncertain they’ll be working at the same company in two years. Contributor Razvan Creanga, Co-Founder – hackajob. 

Developers’ happiness is hugely affected by their age, gender and the rigour of the recruitment process, new research shows. The industry is steeped in issues, as nearly half of the developers surveyed are unsure they’ll be working for the same company in just two years. hackajob, the skills-based tech recruitment platform, analysed the biases impacting 582 developers in the UK and what can be done to address their high employee turnover. 

Age & incentives
There’s a direct link between a developer’s age and their happiness – and a staggering 92 percent of 30-44-year-olds are unhappy in their role. Interestingly, the oldest group surveyed (45-60-year-olds) are significantly happier, although a disappointing 54 percent still stated they were either “unhappy” or “very unhappy” at work.

The data points to a culture that wildly favours the youngest talent, and this is backed up by the youngest group (18-29) being the happiest at work, with 77 percent of those surveyed stating that they are either ‘very happy’ or ‘happy’ in their current role. Employers should take note and ensure they are supporting and incentivising all ages equally, providing benefits that cater to every employee. Only three-quarters of the unhappiest group, for example, get their statutory annual leave – suggesting 25 percent do not take an essential break for their physical and mental wellbeing. 

The 18-29-year-olds surveyed had to go through the most thorough hiring process, often asked to undertake online challenges, technical home tasks and video interviews as well as the classic face-to-face. However, their peers aged 45 and upwards experience far less rigorous processes.

There’s a clear cause and effect between being effectively and fairly assessed for a role and happiness. Testing technical talent is vital for safeguarding an employee’s enjoyment in the role and every employee should be treated the same throughout the hiring lifecycle.   

Developers are disillusioned, regardless of their gender. Half of men and two-fifths of women are uncertain whether they’ll be in the same company in just two years. Both genders rate a high salary (21 percent) and work/life balance (22 percent) as the most important career values. Shockingly, men are 10 percent more likely to be offered flexible working than women, showing gender impacts your opportunities in the workplace. 

Commenting on the findings, Co-Founder of hackajob, Razvan Creanga said: “We’re all aware of the various biases blighting the technology sector but it was shocking to see the discrepancies between hiring processes depending on someone’s age, hiring process and gender.

“‘If the UK’s businesses want to tap into – and hold onto – the wealth of technical talent out there, there must be better skills testing implemented. Hiring decisions must be based on a candidate’s capability and nothing else.  

“Positive discrimination towards women in STEM, or older developers is equally as damaging to candidates’ long-term success and happiness. We want to support happy, productive employees, regardless of gender or life experience.”

Brexit is the biggest threat to UK’s rising star industry

The UK’s pending departure from the EU could stifle the rapid growth of the fintech sector, according to a recent report from global recruiter Robert Walters and market analysis experts Vacancy Soft. 

Generating £20bn in annual revenue and attracting more venture capital investment than any other country in Europe, the UK fintech sector is widely considered the ‘jewel in the crown’ for the country. 

In 2018, job creation within the fintech space grew by 61 percent in London and 18 percent in the regions – making it the fastest growing sector in the country. One example of rapid job creation is UK lending start-up Iwoca, who has plans to increase headcount from 230 to up to 350 by the end of 2019.

Impact of Brexit
With IT being one of the top 3 functions in demand within the sector, accounting for a third (30 percent) of all roles – Brexit poses a serious threat to the growth of the sector. 

Tom Chambers, Manager of Advanced Analytics and Engineering at Robert Walters, said: “The number of tech roles within fintech grew by 37 percent in 2018 – a positive story for both the industry and the country, 

“However, Brexit appears to be creating a fear of ‘last in first out’, which in turn means candidates are less willing to move roles as swiftly as they have in previous years – creating a lot less available talent in the market.

“The most disconcerting thing for the sector amid Brexit is the fact that a quarter of people working in tech roles in the UK are not British. 

“The impact of uncertainty and talent shortages resulted in a slight slowdown in hiring activity late 2018 – with only London-based fintech companies with significant VC funding continuing to pursue aggressive recruitment campaigns. 

“Talent shortages within IT have pushed salaries up by 8 percent in Q1, and we are already seeing some pretty impressive buy-back and counter offers for IT talent within the fintech sector.” 

Significance of UK fintech market
The UK’s fintech industry attracted over $16bn investment in the first half of 2018, more than any other country. In fact, over a third (39 percent) of European venture capital funding for fintechs goes to London, almost double any other city in Europe. 

Of the 29 fintech unicorns* worldwide (*companies worth more than $1 billion), nine are in San Francisco, while seven are housed in the UK. Analysts at Robert Walters predict that London will be home to just as many fintech unicorns as Silicon Valley by 2020, and that over half of payment service providers in the UK will be digital-only (e-money firms).

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