Recruitment in the tech sector is an especially cutthroat game. With qualified talent scarce across the board, recruiters spend much of their time chasing people who are already gainfully employed. To lure talent away from their current roles, recruiters must come to the table with competitive salaries, benefits packages, perks, and any other ammo they can muster.

While tech recruiters may only have a layman’s understanding of programming languages and projects, they do need a firm grasp of industry trends. Being in the know in terms of the needs and desires of the talent pool gives hiring managers and recruiters a much needed advantage.

Location, Location, Location

To provide recruiters with actionable intelligence, we’ve analyzed research from career site Woo to determine just what it is developers are looking for. One key area of importance for software engineers is location, in three senses of the word:

  1. Physical Location: Forty percent of developers in New York want to move to California, while only 8 percent of Californian software engineers want to move to New York.
  2. Company Type: Fifty-seven percent of software engineers at large firms would rather work at a startup, while only 25 percent of startup engineers want to leap in the other direction.
  3. Sector: Desired employment sector varies widely depending on physical location. East Coast developers are interested in areas such as finance, education, music, and big data. Meanwhile, West Coast developers prioritize machine learning over all, followed by education, health, and artificial intelligence.

Technology Matters

But location is not everything. Software engineers want to know that their work will remain relevant. Respondents to Woo’s survey expressed a desire to work in future-facing areas such as blockchain; they’ve lost interest in older technologies such as Java.

“Blockchain is super hot right now, but since it is a relatively new space, the pool of relevant candidates with a lot of experience is low,” says Liran Kotzer, CEO of Woo. “It all goes back to supply and demand. Since there are few experienced people in the blockchain arena, the pay is higher because these people are more valuable.”

Job seekers and recruiters alike should stay up to date on where the industry is and where it is headed.

“New industries will always be in high demand, as will legacy technologies because there is a big demand to maintain legacies,” Kotzer says. “Our data shows that crypto and AI are currently the hottest and most advanced industries, and demand will increase in the near future. The wisdom of the crowd is a great way to determine tech trends and forecast future developments.”

Mobile is a fine example of the importance of keeping up with newer technologies. A decade ago, software firms were desperate for mobile app developers. Now that the area has become oversaturated, respondents to Woo’s survey listed mobile as the least desirable technology area to work in.

“People in tech are looking for the next big thing, as opposed to focusing on the current top industry,” Kotzer says. “The pool of candidates with mobile experience is massive and the barrier to entry is not huge, which is why the industry is less desirable.”

Primarily, however, employees just want a great work environment. This should be a major area of focus, especially for companies outside of the areas candidates see as desirable. Maybe your company isn’t spearheading the next groundbreaking technology, but don’t underestimate the recruitment value of culture and awesome perks.

“Job satisfaction is determined by many different factors, with tech being a small indicator,” Kotzer says. “There is a much stronger correlation between job satisfaction and employees feeling challenged, a positive company culture, and a place where employees have the ability to constantly develop their skills and potential.”

High and Equal Pay

Woo’s data also bears out the technology sector’s gender diversity problems. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, a gender pay gap exists, with female software engineers making substantially less money at some levels of experience. What is surprising, however, is that women enter negotiations with substantially lower salary expectations than their male counterparts, according to Woo’s data.

“The technology industry has a reputation for being a boy’s club, and women in tech have faced challenges not only feeling like they are a valuable part of the team, but also overcoming the gender pay gap,” Kotzer says. “Our data demonstrates that the gender pay gap increases as people move into more senior roles in their career. Men with more than ten years of experience earn 20 percent more money than women in the same position. My advice for [women] in tech is know your worth. Don’t underestimate yourself. Do your research and find out what your peers — male and female — are making in similar roles and ask for the salary that you deserve.”

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