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What’s the #1 Benefit Developer Candidates Look For?

In a hyper-competitive tech hiring market, developers can afford to be selective with their job prospects. But what are the big factors that compel them to choose one company over another?

Developers, by nature, are curious–maybe its the opportunity to work with new tech stacks? Or perhaps they’re most after growth opportunities?

After surveying 39,000+ developers we were surprised to find that the most desired benefit is work-life balance. But the term work-life balance can have a different meaning depending on who you ask. So we dug a little a deeper.

Turns out age, gender, and geography all play big roles in how developers define work-life balance. In this piece, we’ll break down what work-life balance really means to different people. And how you can use this to help convert developers.

Developers are in high demand. The tip toward this candidate market puts them in a great position to ask for what they want: work-life balance. Now let’s unpack what that means.

Senior Developers Want ‘Time to Disconnect’

We found that the next wave of developers are looking for more health-focused initiatives and encouragement to use vacation time. After Netflix unveiled their unlimited PTO policy, many companies have begun to follow suit–whether it can be executed well or not is still up for discussion, but its a trend that clearly resonates with the next generation. Promoting a culture of work-life balance is key.

But more experienced developers have different concerns. Discouraging after hours emailing was a top benefit (over 40%) among developers between the ages of 35-44. This is valid for senior developers who are often called on first when a crisis occurs–something breaks in the product resulting in a slew of unhappy customers–this can happen at all hours of the day or night.

Click on each tab to see responses broken down by age group

Attract senior developers by highlighting your flexible working hours. Senior developers want time to disconnect, and showing your company’s commitment to a flexible communication schedule allows them to do just that.

Women Want More PTO & Childcare Subsidies

Overall, work-life balance is particularly important to women (76% women say it’s important when looking for a job vs. 63% of men). 

When we dug deeper we found that women want work-life balance in the form of more PTO and childcare subsidies, whereas men were focused more on the opportunity to foster their creativity in side projects.

In a previous report, we found that women over the age of 35 are 3.5x more likely to be in junior roles compared to men. Coupling this with the higher desire for childcare subsidies and PTO begs the question: Are the demands of raising a family causing women to drop out of the engineering profession? It’s hard to say. But offering benefits that soften those demands doesn’t hurt.

When recruiting women in tech, focus on flexibility. Companies that allow flexible schedules are in a better position when attracting women developers. Offering flexible schedules is a great way to help the balancing act of full-time parent and full-time developer–a high priority we found among women.

Bonus: Atlassian’s CIO: On Getting More Women into Engineering Leadership

Work-Life Balance Desired Most in the Americas

When it comes to geography, we found that developers in the Americas (countries in North and South America) value work-life balance the most in comparison to other regions of the world. No surprise. North America (the US specifically) has always held this narrative of worker burnout.

Additionally, developers in the Americas have a very different picture of ideal work-life balance. Generous PTO ranked as a top benefit (71%) in the Americas vs. countries in the Asia-Pacific region (43%) and countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (45%). That large gap is likely attributed to the big differences in working cultures surrounding vacation time. 

Click on each tab to see responses broken down by geography group

Across the globe, countries have adopted policies mandating minimum paid leave for workers, the United States is the only exception–vacation policies are left entirely up to employer discretion. This presents a real opportunity for companies looking to recruit developer talent in the US. While PTO benefits may be out of your control, it’s worth noting for your leadership team. In the war for talent, those with more generous vacation packages may prevail.

Tying it All Together

Whether you’re recruiting developers across the globe, looking to diversify your engineering team with more women, or after seasoned developers–take comfort in knowing there is a universal desire among all these groups: work-life balance. You have a lot of flexibility in how you can offer this to your developers. Have you found creative ways to offer work-life balance? Share in the comments below.

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