In an undersupplied talent market, companies must become remote-friendly

Dive Brief:

  • In a strained tech talent market, 43% of developers say the ability to work remotely is the most important factor when considering a new role, according to a survey from New York cloud infrastructure provider Digital Ocean.
  • The study, which includes insight from 4,500 software developers globally, found 86% of developers work remotely at least part time. One-third of developers work remotely full-time, primarily using tools like Slack and Skype to communicate with teams.
  • The majority of remote developers say the change is recent: Eight in 10 ditched a corporate office as their only workplace in the past four years.

Dive Insight:

Though business focus is often on customer acquisition, there’s another space where companies must strive to stay competitive in: talent retention and attraction.

With a dwindling supply of tech talent, and a slew of tech workers set to exit the workforce in the next few years, talent attraction and retention strategies are key for companies looking to execute ambitious expansion goals.

“The supply of new tech professionals won’t keep pace,” said John Reed, executive vice president at Robert Half, in a June interview with CIO Dive.

In addition to workforce development strategies, the industry has upped its adoption of workplace flexibility to become more attractive to the talent pool. Working remotely is now more than just “perks” to developers — they’re becoming the norm, said Al Sene, VP of Engineering at DigitalOcean, in an email to CIO Dive.

“While developers have increasingly come to expect flexibility to be offered, companies have not entirely matched this pace/mindset shift,” said Sene. 

Just 32% of respondents say they’re aware of specific programs or policies in place to help remote employees feel included.

Although three-quarters of developers say remote work helps them maintain a healthy work balance, it’s not a fool-proof strategy: half of surveyed staffers end up working longer hours, and two-thirds say they’ve experienced burnout in the past.

Remote work capabilities are also a way for companies to get rid of regional ties to hiring criteria, focusing on the skills they need rather than where those people are located.

“Silicon Valley has long been the epicenter of tech companies, but only a third of developers see the Valley as the future center of tech,” said Maria Chung, VP of People at HackerRank, in an email to CIO Dive. “Companies looking to hire the best technical talent need to meet candidates where they are and be open to hiring remote talent.”

Amid continued interest in remote work, the makers of business collaboration tools like Microsoft and Slack stand to gain. The numbers, so far, are showing it: Microsoft Teams crossed the 13 million daily user threshold last week, while Slack closely trails with 10 million daily users.