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Post by Rich Moy on May 19, 2016 12:00:00 PM

You might have read the results of the Stack Overflow Developer Hiring Landscape and thought to yourself, “I’ve figured it out! If I pay above market value, I’ll surely hire all the developers I need this year.” Considering that over 62% of respondents told us that salary is something they really care about when they evaluate a job opportunity, offering competitive developer pay is a great place to start.

But it’s easy to forget that salary isn’t the only thing that matters to developers. Here are a few reasons why money isn’t always the solution to making (and keeping) developers happy.

Developers Want to Work on Interesting Projects

Although it’s important to pay people well, Mark Newman, CEO of HireVue, tells Fortune Magazine that it’s just as crucial to remember that there will always be someone else who can offer a higher salary. He adds, “For me, the more effective hook is to challenge employees with interesting work and inspire them to drive a path forward.” The developers that responded to our survey confirmed this notion, as 35% told us they want to work on projects they feel are significant. If your developers don’t find their work interesting, offering competitive pay will only keep them happy for a finite amount of time before they start seeking new opportunities that seem more intriguing.

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Competitive Pay Doesn’t Compensate for a Lack of Work-Life Balance

It’s no secret that some of the best developers love coding in their free time. I’ve lost count of the number of times a developer has said to me, “Two weeks without writing a line of code to take a vacation? You’re kidding, right?” That doesn’t mean they want to be obligated to work around the clock. In fact, maintaining a healthy work-life balance was just as important to our survey respondents as a competitive salary. It’s commendable to offer competitive developer pay, but if you require them to work unreasonable hours, don’t be surprised if they start putting out feelers for new jobs that allow them more personal time.

Company Mission Matters Just as Much as Salary to Developers

The number a developer sees on his or her pay stub won’t automatically make them more passionate about your company’s mission, especially if there weren’t completely sold when they signed on the dotted line. While salary is an obvious place to start, keep in mind that 40% of the respondents to this year’s developer survey also said that believing in the company mission is important to them at work. It’s always tempting to evaluate whether or not a developer can write the code you need before you think about his or her long-term job satisfaction, but as Neil Johnson told us, organizations that focus on hiring candidates who are behind the company mission are more likely to retain them in the future.

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