Java – the problem is developing…

 14th Apr 2015

“My team has been doing really well, and I need to expand it with good developers. I'm truly baffled though as we're offering a great (Java Developer) job with good hours, very competitive pay, solid benefits … and a good location, but we're barely getting any interest at all.  We've taken out ads…notified head-hunters, quintupled referral bonuses, worked with the local colleges, and are now even offering …(money) just to interview after they pass a quiz but we're happy to take a good developer of any sort and indoctrinate them. We're simply not getting enough interest. What should I do different?”

Sound familiar? Well, if you are looking to recruit Java developers then it should. However, just to dispirit you further, the lengthy quote above comes from a 2005 Java blog, and it provoked over 100 responses, many of which featured similar comments from disgruntled recruiters. Things today are arguably worse. For example, a number of Scottish based companies are looking to individually recruit over 150 Java based roles in 2015, and it’s difficult to see how, if at all, these vacancies may be filled locally.

It’s not just Java – it’s difficult to recruit developers across other languages as well. But let’s just concentrate on Java, as the issues involved are illustrative of a more general problem.

Java is featured as one of the most popular advertised Development vacancies. A recent, major survey, which took responses from over 3,000 technologists in more than 40 countries, noted that almost half of UK firms expect to grow the number of technology professionals this year, an increase on 2014, and nearly 60% of hiring managers have already faced difficulties with recruitment this year, again an increase on 2014. Crucially, the biggest problem is software developers. 

Clients, in Scotland, are exploring every possible avenue, with an emphasis on finding passive candidates from across the EU, complemented by innovative marketing using genuinely creative copy and visuals and left-field media channels that might just uncover an unexpected gem. However, on the other side of the equation, Java (and other) developers can pick and choose from several different offers at any one time. Despite that nearly 30% of technology professionals are reckoned to be actively seeking a new job at any one point, it’s most definitely a candidates market. The problems for recruiters are exacerbated by the fact that over half of IT professionals have taken the entrepreneurial/start-up route, which, in some instances, can take them out of the front-line job market for some a number of years.

What’s to be done? That’s the question all recruiters and their clients would like answered. The honest answer is that there is no magic bullet. It takes graft, experience, skill and, of course, a first-class network. In addition, it’s vital that companies do everything they can to develop their reputation as an employer of choice. Today, the employer brand has never been more important. There are candidates out there and we can engage successfully with them, but for all parties involved there is an appreciation that it is only by combining all the key elements of recruitment - from head-hunting to marketing and referral to reputation management - that success, for today and tomorrow, will come.       

Principal Consultant, Nine Twenty

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