The pandemic has accelerated the need for digitisation for many Malaysian companies, resulting in a surge in demand for tech skills. 

According to the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, the number of digital job vacancies tripled from 19,000 in June 2020 to more than 56,000 in April 2021. Recognising the talent gap, Alibaba Cloud announced in June 2021 its plans to cultivate a million-strong digital talent pool with the launch of Project AsiaForward - an investment project which aims to empower 100,000 developers over the next three years.

With talent demand unabated during the pandemic, companies vying for software engineers face additional HR obstacles. Many companies may not even know what ICT professionals look for in their ideal employers, or find it difficult to attract and retain tech talent even as they speed up their own digitisation initiatives. 

how to attract great software developers
how to attract great software developers

Employers across all industries are vying for employees with similar capabilities, resulting in higher compensation expectations. While a competitive compensation package may pique the interest of tech talent, it is insufficient to keep them motivated at work. Companies require an effective and highly focused talent attraction and engagement strategy to recruit top developer prospects.

The right approach begins with a compelling employee value proposition, identifying the proper channels to create the most impact with developers, and creating a robust engagement plan to grab their attention. Getting the right  talent in software development is easier than you think when these factors come together.

But how can you get started? Here are 3 key steps to recruit and hire the best developers.

1. creating a compelling EVP

For many companies, creating a compelling employee value proposition (EVP) is an exercise that is typically tasked to HR teams. However, attracting software engineers or software developers may necessitate a rethinking of what these people really want in their career. Begin by involving your IT department leaders, engineers, and independent research companies. This will give you a better understanding and will allow you to assess the work advantages that software developers seek in their ideal organisations.

The 2021 Randstad Employer Brand Research revealed that 75% of ICT professionals ranked “good work-life balance” as the most important EVP factor they look for in an ideal employer. 65% of them also said that “career progression opportunities” is important to them. 

In its “2020 Developer Skills Report”, technical skills assessment provider HackerRank found that the most important form of professional development is the opportunity to learn new technical skills, followed by the ability to take on more responsibilities; developing soft skills and obtaining professional certifications.

Hence, it is evident that competing on compensation alone will probably not be a sustainable attraction strategy. If software engineers are not treated fairly by their employers, they will simply search for work elsewhere.

Companies that want to effectively recruit and retain software professionals must clearly communicate the opportunity to upskill and enhance their careers within the company. Employers can also emphasise work-life balance programmes and perks, as well as team culture, structure and responsibilities to job applicants so that they are aware of the level of support they will receive. 

2. activate your brand

Articulating a compelling EVP is essential to building a strong employer brand that resonates with candidates, but activating the brand and reaching the target audience is equally critical.

Activation is the process of taking your employer brand beyond words and aspirations to create a genuine brand reputation that attracts and retains great people. This involves building a consistent brand mission and providing people reasons to care about your brand through shared values and ideas. 

Finally, it is critical to arm stakeholders with the actionable information they need to develop a consistent and appealing talent acquisition plan: from leveraging valuable insights into what tech workers look for in employers, to creating appealing EVP factors that can help build an effective engagement strategy. This will require the support of present and past workers, suppliers and consumers, as well as second-choice candidates and other applicants who have been passed over.

Fortunately, many online communities and forums have a global audience; some devoted exclusively to developers, while others are subsets of broader tech-based communities. All of these channels have the potential to attract software developers. 

For example, Android in Asia is an active community where coders and developers host events, share projects and exchange ideas. Other general interest online sites such as Meetup, Reddit and Discord also offer groups specifically for developers to join and network. 

Recruiters are another community for businesses to engage with to reach high potential tech talent. In Malaysia, our recent employer brand research found that 34% of technologists prefer to engage the assistance of recruitment consultants when they look for new jobs. Employers trying to acquire new software engineers or software developers to cover a skills gap or replace a headcount may see better results working with a professional recruiting firm like Randstad, who has the reach and network to access the best tech talent locally, regionally and globally. 

3. build a marketing engine

An attraction strategy can be greatly enhanced with an effective recruitment marketing engine. 

One LinkedIn study found that the software industry had the highest turnover (13.2%) among all sectors – which means developing a long-term relationship with developers can be beneficial to hiring organisations.

Even if freelance or contracting developers aren’t working with you yet, there is value in building stronger relationships with them through inbound marketing. This entails attracting the right people with engaging information, delighting them with meaningful interactions, and engaging stakeholders with intelligent solutions to their problems.

To do so, companies should continually nurture job seekers, even after a role has been filled. Even if they are passive prospects, employers can enroll them in a private talent community, keep in touch through regular content delivery, or alert them to the latest tech job vacancies. Employers who follow a strong HR strategy of recruiting, developing, and engaging their target recruits can significantly boost their chances of hiring exceptional developer talent.

the key to attracting and retaining developer talent is just one click away

Want to learn more about how you can create a valuable employer value proposition and target top tech candidates? Our Employer Brand Research report provides you with the latest trends, observations and a clear vision on how you can build a strong employer brand and attract quality talent. 

Kickstart your employer brand journey together with us through our comprehensive suite of HR solutions and key areas of expertise in information technology.

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