Contrary to popular belief, you can’t win over top developer candidates by offering them things like massage chairs and lazy river access from your office. But the chances are that if you’re looking for frivolous perks to offer developers, you’re at least trying to figure out what matters most to them. As part of our 2017 Developer Hiring Landscape, we asked respondents to tell us which employee benefits they look for when they consider new jobs. Some of the usual suspects like vacation days and remote working options were at the top of their list, but let’s take a closer look at some of the less obvious developer benefits.
While it’s true that many developers are always writing code, their passion for programming doesn’t indicate a willingness to be in the office around the clock. In fact, over 48% of developers say that they look for companies that have reasonable expectations for working hours. Surprisingly, expected work hours were more important to developers than things like their annual bonus, stock options, and long-term leave.
This makes it even clearer that you should avoid vague phrases like “work hard, play hard” and “incredible work-life balance” to describe how many hours your current programmers put in on a weekly basis. Instead, be transparent with candidates about your actual working hours. As uncomfortable as it might seem to share this information, passive tech candidates will find it much easier to connect with you if you’re upfront about your company’s expectations—even if they decide the opportunity isn’t the one for them right now.
The developer benefits you offer while they’re at work are just as important as perks you offer them when they’re at home. Developers pay very close attention to the equipment you provide your current tech team—and over 40% of them say that it’s one of the most important benefits an employer can offer. Considering that workstations weren’t among the top ten things developers looked for in jobs last year, it’s fair to say that many companies still ask their programmers to build new products on machines they feel are substandard.
There are two takeaways from the importance of work equipment to today’s developers. For starters, if you notice that your engineering team is working on outdated technology, approach your leadership team about refreshing their gear. But if you’re proud of the equipment that your tech team uses on a daily basis, don’t be shy about talking about those tools when you recruit developers.
Considering that 90% of developers are at least partially self-taught, it should come as no surprise that they value company-sponsored professional development opportunities. With over 35% of developers listing professional development as one of the top benefits they look for, you might figure that to recruit developers, you need to offer massive budgets for conferences and online courses. However, if you don’t have the resources to send your developers to an unlimited number of events, there are more creative options to consider. As Will Pate, Head of Strategy at Connected Lab, told us last year, his engineers look forward to pair programming sessions—which don’t cost the company anything but the willingness and participation from each developer on the team.