Developers are ready to quit their jobs. Here's what might convince them to stay

Better salaries score highly - but money isn't everything.
Written by Owen Hughes, Senior Editor
Pensive programmer working on computer in office

Programmers are in high demand.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More than three-quarters of software developers are actively looking for new jobs or are open to new opportunities – with salary the primary driving factor behind their decision to jump ship.

According to a survey of more than 500 developers by Stack Overflow, 25% of developers are actively seeking a new job opportunity, while 54% aren't actively looking but are open to new opportunities that come along.

When considering a new role, 65% of developers cite pay as the biggest contributing factor. Coming in a not-so-close second is wanting to work with new technologies (39%), followed by better work/life balance (36%) and growth or leadership opportunities (36%).

The survey attempted to glean insight into how technical recruiting teams can attract talent amid increased competition for skilled digital workers.

SEE: Hiring developers? These interview mistakes could be costing you top tech talent

Over 53% of developers who responded said they want the developer experience to be prioritized at work, with salary transparency coming second (41%) and opportunities to learn from people outside of their team third (40%).

Likewise, when it comes to the recruitment process, an organization's tech stack was also found to be a significant determiner of whether or not a developer turns down a role. Aside from getting a better offer elsewhere, the primary reason developers pull out of an interview process is because they don't like the tech stack, the survey found.

Other turn-offs for developers include a disorganized interview process (24%), odd interview questions (24%), poor employer reviews (24%), and not being able to find enough information about what it's like to work at the company (22%).

When it comes to staying with their current employer, developers are more likely to be swayed by the offer of more flexibility than a bigger number on their paycheck, Stack Overflow found: 65% of respondents prioritize flexibility around working hours and remote work as a reason to stick with their current role, compared to 59% who cite salary and 56% who mention opportunities to learn.

David Gibson, a senior data analyst at Stack Overflow, warned that as competition for software professionals intensifies, developers who can't find the flexibility and growth opportunities in their current roles will likely look elsewhere: "With over 70,000 technical roles currently open and 20% of developers actively looking for new jobs, we don't see talent wars tempering anytime soon. And we anticipate other tech roles to follow suit."  

Developers have been vocal about their desire to see remote working continue beyond 2021.

A survey of 12,000 software developers surveyed by GitHub in November found that just 10.7% expect to return to the office after the pandemic ends. Similarly, nearly half of respondents anticipate a combination of in-office and remote working going forward, compared to less than a third of developers who had "hybrid" working arrangements pre-pandemic.

Stack Overflow's survey found that 56% of developers would be put off a role if they were tied to specific working hours, and 50% said they find companies that mandate in-office work unappealing.

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