Attracting and retaining top technology talent in 2023: our ultimate guide

7 mins

As a tech leader, you’ll already be aware that you’re part of one of the most exciting, attr...

As a tech leader, you’ll already be aware that you’re part of one of the most exciting, attractive, and fastest growing industries on the planet. And it’ll come as no surprise that technology workforce growth rates are expected to double those of other industries, with some categories reaching four to five times the current rate, by 2030.

Technology’s booming! But, as part of such a vibrant industry, competition is tough – not only when it comes to developing the best tech – but when creating a brand and workplace where the best tech professionals want to work.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to attracting and retaining the best Software, DevOps/SRE, Cloud, Cybersecurity and Data talent. Read on to ensure you’re the employer of choice for a strong, happy, and loyal technology workforce who are with you for the long-haul.

Why people are your greatest asset

You may have tech at your heart, but the phrase ‘people buy from people’ is still extremely relevant. This saying’s particularly true when it comes to persuading the best tech professionals to join you.

Multibillion-dollar Chief Exec of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, explains why staff are central to your hiring strategy, and indeed, there are several ‘people’ considerations to think about when recruiting.

For us, the first one has to be diversity and inclusion. If you see creating an inclusive workplace simply as a check-box exercise, not only are you missing the point, but you’re almost certainly missing out!

Stats show that racially diverse teams see a 35% increase in performance compared to their competitors. Countless other reports prove that the most high-performing teams are diverse. D&I means including and celebrating individuals of all genders, races, ethnicities, abilities, beliefs, ages, and sexual orientations, but we also recommend ensuring a good mix of personalities and backgrounds in the people you’re hiring too. Research further shows that organisations making an effort to recruit neurodivergent workers are gaining a competitive edge because of different ways of thinking and approaches problem-solving.

Not only is a diverse working environment proven to increase productivity, but you’re creating a setting where people feel they belong and are heard. And that’s fundamental in keeping employees with you long-term.

Once you’ve got a great, diverse team in place, make sure you’re involving them in the ongoing promotion of your business. For instance, get your strongest team members involved in interview processes to attract other tech specialists. They’ll help to sell the role and organisation to candidates with real-life insights and from a perspective that HR or other interviewers may not be able to provide.

And let’s not forget the influence that excellent leaders can have on employees. Don’t be the kind of organisation that keeps senior staff locked away. Inspiring, hands-on leaders are the core of the most successful organisations. Make them accessible and real. Tell their stories and share their aspirations for technology and your business. Ask your marketing and HR teams for advice on personal branding and communications. Remember, technology’s a fast-paced, inspiring industry, so tech leaders should have the skills to create excitement and motivation around your products/services too.

Providing something to be proud of

Simply put, tech specialists tend to love tech. So, when looking to attract and retain tech talent, make sure you’re offering something exciting.

Strong candidates will be looking for challenging work and a stimulating environment. They’re going to be enticed by ground-breaking projects, up-and-coming products, and the very latest in tech developments. Think about your tech-stack; we know that Microservices and Serverless are highly sought after by candidates right now. Cloud (Azure, GCP, AWS, etc.), Containerization, Cloud Native, IaC, GitOps, IoT, ML, AI, DevSecOps, and programming languages like Golang and Python are also all in demand.

Think about progression opportunities too. We realize it’s not always possible to offer the latest, greatest assignments, so tech specialists will want to know they can springboard their careers with you. Are you able to provide in-house training or access to external training? Lay out clear progression paths and details of what needs to be done to develop from the off. As Recruitment Entrepreneur James Caan points out in this article, things like providing future opportunities for your people are achievable even when working with a limited budget.

You can’t expect great people if you’ve not got great things for them to work on.

Packaging it up

Although most good companies will care about their employees enjoying their work, let’s face it, most of us don’t choose to be employed because of our sheer love for it. That’s why your benefits are so important to prospective and existing employees.

If your rewards package doesn’t at least match what others in your industry are offering, you’re going to lose the best tech talent to your competition.

Let’s start with flexible and remote working opportunities. Love it or hate it, the pandemic shook things up when it comes to working from home. As a tech company, there’s probably an expectation that you have the platform, skills, and know-how to make remote or hybrid working feasible. Pair that with busy lifestyles and growing preferences for flexibility around health appointments, gym visits and childcare, and remote and flexible working options are a must. If you’re not offering at least a little variety about how and where people can work, candidates will likely opt for somewhere that does.

Think too about employee recognition. Are your staff feeling valued? Consider how to reward your people with incentives, commission schemes or bonuses. Not every method is appropriate for every business – you may not even have much budget for incentives – but the key is to find something that does work for your people in making them feel like they’re respected and appreciated for the hard work they do. Rather than large one-off commissions or bonuses, some organisations opt for smaller, more frequent incentives – sometimes just an early Friday finish or a lunch out can make people feel like their efforts have been recognised.

Lots of businesses are now introducing health and wellbeing programmes for their staff. Again, choose initiatives that work for your business because not every idea is suitable in all circumstances. Start by looking at how your company’s prioritizing everyone’s wellbeing. Do you have an official policy? Could you encourage group walks at lunchtime? Discounted gym memberships or on-site workout and/or chill-out rooms? Do you discuss things like mental health, have mental health champions, or support in the form of an in-house rep or helplines? Could you offer reload/recharge days (in addition to holidays)? Can you provide people with free fruit? Complimentary health-checks? Medical insurance? Or provide access to holistic therapies?

Again, we all seek work/life balance, and wellbeing’s important to us. If you can encourage your workforce into healthier routines, not only will you reap the benefits of a stronger, happier, more productive workforce, you’ll retain them for longer too.

The secret to developing a competitive benefits package, though? Remember, one size doesn’t necessarily fit all. Your employees all have different motivators and personal circumstances. While remote working will be hugely important for some, others may enjoy being site-based and may be driven by more holiday, flexible hours, or gym access instead. Consider the demographics of your teams and design packages to suit.

Continue to measure employee satisfaction at regular intervals. Run routine surveys or feedback sessions to understand how content people are and where improvements can be made. Provide a platform where voices can be heard, and problems addressed.

Virgin Founder and philanthropist, Richard Branson, is well-known for the genuine passion he has for his people, as well as his quote “Take care of your employees, and they’ll take care of your business”. Despite Virgin’s plans for commercial trips to space, understanding that people will stick around if they feel valued and listened to, is no rocket science.

The demand for technology talent is high right now. As the tech industry continues to flourish with no signs of it slowing down any time soon, it’s vital to make sure you’re standing out from the crowd. If you’re a tech start up looking to grow, or a more established business looking to stay ahead with the best talent on the market, get in touch to find out how we can help. From attraction and retention advice, through to access to our network of Software, SRE/DevOps, Cloud, Cybersecurity and Data candidates, Apollo Solutions is here to help you every step of the way.

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