New Research Finds Software Tools Matter To Recruit Top Digital Talent

By Nicole France, Evangelist at Contentful

Top talent in the tech industry is scarce. For all but the biggest names it’s already a challenge to recruit the key skills that drive success — and there are warnings that it will only worsen in the coming year as a possible recession looms. Determining how to attract and retain talented employees has evolved rapidly as the market continues to be volatile. Those extras like free lunch, in-office massages and unlimited vacation are no longer seen as the most important perks to attract the best tech workers.

To get a better understanding of what talent is looking for in a future job or what might entice them to stay, our team at Contentful conducted a survey asking top digital builders — the developers and digital marketers tasked with building digital experiences for customers and other end users — what they want. The results revealed that an overwhelming majority – 85% – would leave a job or consider doing so based on dissatisfaction with their software and tools. Interestingly, another two-thirds (65%) cited that the software and tools a company gave them to work with was a direct reflection of how they value their employees.

With 70% of respondents clearly identifying the technology a company uses is “very important” to their decision to take a job, it’s important for us to break down why this is and how technology impacts these skilled employees’ roles.

Get the right tech to foster creativity and innovation

It comes as no surprise that our survey results showed the majority of digital builders (58%) would prefer to spend their time at work innovating – finding better ways to do things and solving problems. Since this is a group of employees that are hired for their skill and experience with analysis and strategizing, it was surprising to find that 61% of them spend more than half of their time on administrative tasks as opposed to creative work. Even more shocking was that 94% of digital builders responded that their ability to be creative and innovative is limited by the technology they have available to accomplish their work.

If an organization doesn’t provide their technical employees with the tools to get the job they were hired for done, the impact can ultimately be seen on a company’s bottom line. And according to digital talent, the technology they need to remove these limitations must deliver on three key factors: 1. speed, 2. functionality, and 3. flexibility.

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How to determine what the right tech is for the job

Believe it or not, the technology stack plays a part in motivating digital builders to tackle ambitious projects and goals. Otherwise, outmoded technology can leave them demotivated and unwilling (or unable) to drive ambitious projects. A well-considered tech stack – and the autonomy to decide who that includes – can turn challenges into innovation. Faced with growing demand for content, 60% of digital marketers are excited rather than intimidated by the challenge.

Giving these talented employees a voice and freedom to choose the software they use, and how it is adapted to their requirements, has a big impact. It can be a contributor to overall efficiency and play a huge role in how they feel about the work they do on a daily basis. Sixty-eight percent of all digital builders say the ability to decide which software they use impacts their job satisfaction significantly.

Something else to keep in mind – ambitious goals and innovation require a commitment to technology investment from company decision makers. Over three-quarters (78%) of digital builders believe their company needs to adopt new technology to enable employees to deliver against the company’s ambitious goals. The type of software also matters, with API-first software at the top of their wishlist. A large majority (91%) of developers who use API software are “very satisfied” with their tech stack. Finally,  the survey found that API-first software drives speed to market for new products. Of developers who primarily work with API-first services, 81% say their companies release new products “fast” or “super fast.”

Key lessons for hiring in a volatile market

For company leadership and those doing the hiring, these stats may be a wake up call. However, it’s one that can bring a deeper understanding of what software developers and digital marketers are looking for as they contemplate their next career move.  The best technology can empower your digital builders, help them be more satisfied at work and spark amazing innovation. Lackluster technology will leave them unmotivated and frustrated, possibly scanning LinkedIn for another job.

Managers who insist on software that enables and supports their teams will have the upper hand when it comes to retaining and attracting top talent.

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